Apple Pencil: Next Generation Preview By Patent Grant

Apple Pencil may be getting new features and functionality. A preview of the next generation of Apple Pencil was recently hinted at via a patent grant.

As reported by Mikey Campbell for Apple Insider, the patent document includes features for the new version of Apple Pencil such as multifunction nibs with built-in sensors that are interchangeable. Technically, the patent granted is for an “intelligent stylus.” So this device may be the next Apple Pencil, or it could be given an entirely different name.

The ability to change out the tip of the device seems to be the biggest feature for this new Apple Pencil. The website Patently Apple noted the possibilities for such a feature.

“One interesting idea in particular found in this invention is that the pen’s tip could be switched, via a touch sensitive ring around the pen, to provide the Apple Pencil with new added features such as a camera/scanner device that could read bar codes and more, which would be great for taking inventory.”

A paint brush tip with bristles was noted as another possibility for the Apple Pencil tip. If introduced, such a feature would be a dramatic step forward in the capabilities for an intelligent stylus. Another possibility for the Pencil with this patent filing would be an eraser. That feature is one for which Pencil fans have already been clamoring.

The patent, no. 9,329,703, for these new features was first filed in the second quarter of 2011, according to Patently Apple.

Although this patent was recently awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, it isn’t likely that a new version or generation of Apple Pencil comes out in the very near future, as noted by Apple Insider. The first version of Apple Pencil has only been available in stores for less than a year.

Apple Pencil has been popular so far, with demand outpacing supply for some time. One of the things that makes Apple Pencil a hit is the responsiveness of the stylus. Apple notes this attribute on their website.

“The lightning-fast responsiveness of Apple Pencil separates it from other creative tools. That’s because its latency — the tiny delay between when you begin drawing and the time it appears on the screen — has been reduced to an almost imperceptible level.”

With touch screens becoming ubiquitous, it is smart of Apple to give focus to advances in the stylus. As we’ve seen newspapers begin to fade, we could be approaching the day when the traditional pen and paper becomes a quaint old idea. Armed with a touch screen in your pocket or pocketbook, a versatile stylus would make that phone or tablet all the more useful.

High-quality drawings are already being made with the Apple Pencil. If Apple adds a simulated paint brush to the tip, the lines between traditional artistry and the new digital artistry will begin to blur as capabilities increase on the tablet.

One of the hurdles of using the Apple Pencil like a traditional writing or drawing instrument has already been cleared while using the iPad Pro. As noted on their website, Apple has made it possible to rest your hand on the iPad Pro without inadvertently activating the sensor.

“iPad Pro is designed with palm rejection technology, making it possible to rest your hand on the iPad screen while you use Apple Pencil. So you can focus on drawing with the utmost precision instead of worrying about how to position your arm.”

With these continued advances in digital drawing and writing, Apple will be at the forefront of new technology adoption, once again.

[Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images]