PencilSource: iMore

What you need to know

  • Apple could be planning a big new upgrade to Apple Pencil.
  • A new patent has revealed how it could include color sampling in the device.
  • It would let users sample colors from the real world with their Pencil, before recreating them on-screen.

A new Apple Pencil patent has revealed how Apple could include color sampling technology in a future version of the device.

Filed earlier this week, the patent is titled 'Computer System With Color Sampling Stylus', and the abstract states:

A device such as a computer stylus may have a color sensor. The color sensor may have a plurality of photodetectors each of which measures light for a different respective color channel. The color sensor may also have one or more light-emitting devices. Control circuitry may use the light-emitting devices to illuminate an external object while using the photodetectors to measure reflected light to determine the color of the external object. The electronic device may have a housing with an elongated shaft. The shaft may have a tip and an opposing end. The tip may be configured to emit electromagnetic signals that are detected by a touch sensor in a touch sensitive display. The color sensor may be located at the end opposite the tip, may be located at the tip, or may be optically coupled to the tip using a light guide.

As you'd expect, the patent roughly features a stylus (Apple Pencil), with a light detector embedded in the device. This detector can be used to sense the color of a real-world object, and then used to control the color of whatever it is your drawing inside of an app. Say you're creating within Photoshop, and the color of a nearby book cover really inspires you. Simply use your Apple Pencil to scan the color, and voila, you can now draw or shade in that color on-screen.

As with all patented technology, this is likely a long way off for Apple, and may not ever see the light of day as a feature of Apple Pencil. But it certainly sounds like a feature that creators and designers would be able to make use of. Would you be interested in an Apple Pencil that can sample color? Let us know!