Apple patent reveals how Apple Pencil could simulate the feel of drawing on paper

Which iPad models support Apple Pencil?
Which iPad models support Apple Pencil? (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • A newly-published patent has revealed how Apple could simulate the feel of writing and drawing on paper using Apple Pencil.
  • The patent features haptic feedback and a force-sensing system that detects movement.
  • The design is meany to "render texture sensation to simulate drawing on a textured surface with the stylus".

An Apple patent published today has revealed how Apple could use haptic feedback within Apple Pencil to simulate drawing and writing on paper.

As reported by AppleInsider, the patent is titled 'Styles with haptic feedback for texture simulation'. The abstract states:

A stylus can include a housing and a tip. A force-sensing system can detect movement of the tip relative to the housing when a force is applied to the tip. A haptic feedback system can move the tip relative to the housing, for example by inducing a magnetic field in magnetic elements connected to the tip and the housing. The haptic feedback can be used to render texture sensations to simulate drawing on a textured surface with the stylus. As such, the same tip that is used to provide inputs can receive haptic feedback during use. The user can continue to use the tip for input even as haptic feedback is also being applied to the tip.

As the report notes, that patent is similar to a 2015 filing and even features the same drawings. The difference, however, is in the use of tip in receiving haptic feedback during use. With regard to using just the tip, as opposed to whole Pencil the patent states:

By providing haptic feedback at the tip rather than generally across the entire stylus, the haptic feedback can more accurately mimic the sensation of a writing instrument on a textured surface.

As mentioned, given the previous 2015 patent, Apple has been exploring the use of haptic feedback in its Pencil for some time. The updated patent, which uses only the tip to detect input and provide feedback seems to be a refinement of the idea. The Apple Pencil, combined with iPad is one of the mobile best note-taking, scribbling, drawing and design solutions around. Haptic feedback that could simulate doing all of that on paper would certainly cause a stir.

Given that this is simply a patent filing, there is, of course, no guarantee this tech will ever see the light of day, but it's nice to dream!

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9