Apple Pencil touch patentSource: Apple Insider

What you need to know

  • A new patent suggests an Apple Pencil with touch sensing is coming.
  • The Apple pencil would have a touch-sensitive area near the tip.
  • It would disregard accidental touches.

A new patent suggests Apple is working on an upgraded Apple Pencil that would be able to detect when a user swipes a finger along it. The new tactile input would be a marked improvement on the second-generation Apple Pencil which can already sense taps.

The patent, titled "Touch-based input for stylus," carries US Patent Number 20200012358 and was spotted by Apple Insider.

While the new Apple Pencil would be able to sense when a user interacts with it, the patent says that the device would be able to tell when a user is simply holding it rather than interacting with it.

Furthermore, the stylus can effectively distinguish between tactile inputs from a user and disregard sustained tactile inputs that are provided while the user simply holds the stylus at the user's natural grip location.

It's possible that such a sensitive Apple Pencil could allow users to alter the size of on-screen drawing tools by swiping a finger up and down the device. They may also be able to use it for other things, such as scrolling through a web page or document in a similar manner to a scroll wheel on a mouse.

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We've seen plenty of Apple Pencil-related patents recently including one that puts a status indicator into the stylus. Another includes haptic feedback which could potentially be used in conjunction with today's patent.

As ever, it's important to remember that not every patent results in a product being announced. Still, it's fun to wonder, isn't it?

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