Apple will turn the Apple Pencil 3 into a huge upgrade, patent reveals

Two recently revealed patents suggest that a whole new Apple Pencil (the next would be the third iteration) is in the works.

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When Apple released the first iPad Pro, the Apple Pencil was unveiled at the same time: a sleek stylus for detailed writing and drawing. Then came the second generation Pencil which replaced the glossy finish of the original with a matte design and a flat side that allowed it to attach to the side of the newly redesigned iPad Pro for charging and pairing . It also introduced a double-tap mechanism to quickly switch between tools in an app.

Two new patents, spotted by Patently Apple, suggest that a future Pencil could work very differently from the current model. In one, called “Touch input device with haptic feedback”, the user could, for example, have a palpable tactile response under certain conditions. This could be great in a coloring app, perhaps, when your pencil wanders beyond what it should. There are plenty of other apps, of course, but there’s one for you.

The patents are written in what seems to be intended as the literary equivalent of sleeping pills. Hear this: “A stylus, comprising: a housing including a user grip region on an outer surface of the housing, wherein the housing extends continuously about a longitudinal axis of the stylus to define the circumferentially uninterrupted outer periphery of the stylus; a piezoelectric device positioned against an interior surface of the housing at the grip region of the user and forming a helical shape which wraps at least once around the longitudinal axis; and a guide tube extending inside the piezoelectric device; wherein the user’s gripping region of the housing is deformable, such that an input force which deforms the user’s gripping region of the housing is transmitted to the piezoelectric device and presses the piezoelectric device against the guidance to produce an input signal and such that haptic feedback is provided by the piezoelectric device deforms the user’s grip area.

There are many more like this and please note that the above is only one sentence! But you get the gist, that a new sensor would be added to provide greater functionality.

This patent suggests that a button could be added to the side of the Apple Pencil in the future, which could mean all sorts of additional functionality.

The second patent is called “Stylus with Touch Input and Squeeze Force Sensors”, which is another stopper of a title.

It does mean something interesting, though. In addition to the double-click, new interactions will be possible, such as a swipe to the side of the pencil – arguably easier to do than a double-click – or pressure on the area where the compression force sensors reside. Pressure sensing is something Apple knows and uses well. For example, I find it easier to squeeze the stem of an AirPod Pro than to touch an AirPod.

These additional mechanisms could radically change the use of the pencil. Capabilities are only limited by the app developers’ imagination (which, as we know, is pretty limitless) and any restrictions Apple puts in place.

It is in the development of its accessories that Apple truly changes the technological landscape. Stay tuned for future developments.

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