A new patent that was recently filed by Apple may indicate a future version of the Apple Pencil that will be equipped with a display screen and multiple sensors on board.
The patent was filed with the the US Patent & Trademark Office on October 24th and shows plans to have contact, haptic, capacitive, touch, RGB optical and pressure sensors on the device, among others.
The patent also shows the Apple Pencil sporting an LED or LCD display screen on its side that would indicate to users what colour is currently being used by the Pencil.
“A stylus can be provided with an on-board display that indicates to a user a color that will be applied when operating the stylus with an external device,” the patent application goes on to say. “The display on the stylus can be positioned to conveniently provide an indication of the color. For example, the display can be provided at or near a tip that is used to contact the external device.”
The display could also potentially be used as a digital color picker, either by allowing the user to place the stylus against an object and have that object’s color recognized and available for use, or by rotating the display itself and cycling through a range of color options.
There is also mention of biometric and camera sensors which could potentially indicate some sort of tie-in to Apple’s Face ID service, or perhaps simply a fingerprint scanner as a way of providing security for users. The camera sensor could also just be for the device’s color recognition capabilities.
Apple – like many other tech companies – routinely files patents to protect intellectual property, having recently filed one for an in-display touch ID sensor. At this point it’s difficult to determine exactly what Apple’s intentions are for this future device, especially considering the fact that many patents filed by large tech companies like Apple don’t always find their way into actual consumer products.
Sources: Patently Apple, iMore