Refreshed Apple Pencil could include gesture recognition support

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
A new version of the Apple Pencil may make an appearance at tomorrow's Apple special event, according to a pair of tweets from developers, with the updated stylus tipped to include support for gestures made along its body.

An Apple Pencil used on an iPad Pro
An Apple Pencil used on an iPad Pro


Messages posted to Twitter on Sunday by developer Guilherme Rambo advise the "Apple Pencil 2," said to be model B332, will include support for gestures. "The user will be able to change stroke properties by sliding along the side of the pencil," writes Rambo.

The current version of the Apple Pencil offers pressure sensitivity with the tip, as well as angle detection allowing shading in some drawing apps. The main shaft of the stylus currently does not offer any touch capabilities at all, with such features requiring the introduction of new hardware.

More tweets from developer Steve Troughton-Smith notes there are properties in the iOS code for "UIPencilAdjustmentInteraction" that may enable the rumored features. A version ending with "DidTap:" and "didSlide:Phase:" are said by Troughton-Smith to be the "new favorite delegate methods" for developers of drawing apps.

UIPencilAdjustmentInteraction's pencilAdjustmentInteractionDidTap: and pencilAdjustmentInteraction:didSlide:phase: are your new favorite delegate methods, as drawing app developers

-- Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith)


Troughton-Smith also suggests there could be some form of "button," possibly one that is solid state, that could be held down to perform gestures with the Pencil. A button could also be the source of a "tap" that's separate from the Pencil making contact with an iPad's display, and is also suggested could be used to produce "radial contextual menus" in apps that offer functions selectable by the Apple Pencil's tip touching the display.

The potential for Apple Pencil gestures have surfaced in the past, both in rumors and in patent filings, with one October patent application suggesting the use of ultrasonic touch detection allowing the finger position and movements on the stylus' body to be monitored. Twisting or rotating the stylus and shifting the grip could provide different pen stroke weights, for example, while a tap on the section of the shaft could be interpreted as a software button press.

AppleInsider will be at the fall "There's more in the making" event, where we expect new iPad Pros, and maybe even new Macs! Keep up with our coverage by downloading the AppleInsider app for iOS, and follow us on YouTube, Twitter @appleinsider and Facebook for live, late-breaking coverage. You can also check out our official Instagram account for exclusive photos.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    One thing we know for sure, ain't no way Apple is adding a physical button to the pencil.
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 2 of 24
    Very cool if true. One think I hope for is that the new pencil has an on/off switch. I don’t use my pencil every day and often times when I do go to use it it’s got hardly any battery life left. Just carrying it around in my laptop bag causes enough motion to drain the battery.
    dysamoria
  • Reply 3 of 24
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 1,858member
    Very cool if true. One think I hope for is that the new pencil has an on/off switch. I don’t use my pencil every day and often times when I do go to use it it’s got hardly any battery life left. Just carrying it around in my laptop bag causes enough motion to drain the battery.
    It also needs a much much more grippy tip (I find it too slippery on the glass), and an added “eraser” end.
    netrox
  • Reply 4 of 24
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,215member
    I would like it to be about an inch shorter. I carry mine in a shirt pocket most of the time, with a clip I liberated from a pen of about the same thickness. It’s really too long for that, and the extra length doesn’t serve a purpose when holding it, though there could be circuitry that does. Pencils rapidly shorten so that the full length is almost never encountered except in the beginning, and pens are all shorter for the reason of carrying. So, shorter, and possibly with a clip that can be popped out of the side when needed. It should also come with a spongy sleeve, that can be slipped on, for those who find it to be uncomfortable. Though, I wonder about all those using “real” pencils that don’t have that. I’ve got hundreds from years of buying them, and none have anything other than wood. People are too quick to complain about things like that these days. Also, at least 1024 levels. I’ve never found more than that to really make a difference, but 1024 is better. I would also think that the connector end could be better figured out. I like the charge method, but something other than that little cap that keeps running away from me when I take it off, would be good. Please, no eraser end.
    edited October 29 StrangeDays
  • Reply 5 of 24
    Apple could buy Wacom and get it over with already. Wacom makes the best pens.
  • Reply 6 of 24
    dysamoria said:
    Very cool if true. One think I hope for is that the new pencil has an on/off switch. I don’t use my pencil every day and often times when I do go to use it it’s got hardly any battery life left. Just carrying it around in my laptop bag causes enough motion to drain the battery.
    It also needs a much much more grippy tip (I find it too slippery on the glass), and an added “eraser” end.
    If there’s gesture support to envoke an eraser then I don’t think it needs an eraser end. Plus most drawing apps include an eraser button. For me it’s just as easy to tap that than to flip the pencil over. But it’s been years since I’ve used a real pencil on a regular basis so I don’t have that muscle memory built up.
    tmay
  • Reply 7 of 24
    What are the odds the new Pencil won’t work with older iPads as there won’t be a way to charge it?
  • Reply 8 of 24
    What are the odds the new Pencil won’t work with older iPads as there won’t be a way to charge it?
    Curious if it will be backwards compatible with older iPads. Especially the one released earlier this year. As for charging, you don't think they will keep the same charging method? It'd be nice if they came with a lighting extension cord so you don't have to charge it directly off the iPad, but otherwise it is convenient .
  • Reply 9 of 24
    danvmdanvm Posts: 692member
    melgross said:
    I would like it to be about an inch shorter. I carry mine in a shirt pocket most of the time, with a clip I liberated from a pen of about the same thickness. It’s really too long for that, and the extra length doesn’t serve a purpose when holding it, though there could be circuitry that does. Pencils rapidly shorten so that the full length is almost never encountered except in the beginning, and pens are all shorter for the reason of carrying. So, shorter, and possibly with a clip that can be popped out of the side when needed. It should also come with a spongy sleeve, that can be slipped on, for those who find it to be uncomfortable. Though, I wonder about all those using “real” pencils that don’t have that. I’ve got hundreds from years of buying them, and none have anything other than wood. People are too quick to complain about things like that these days. Also, at least 1024 levels. I’ve never found more than that to really make a difference, but 1024 is better. I would also think that the connector end could be better figured out. I like the charge method, but something other than that little cap that keeps running away from me when I take it off, would be good. Please, no eraser end.
    I think Apple should add it to the Pencil.  I take a lot of handwritten notes, and the eraser is far better than going to the toolbar to click the Eraser tool.  I'm not an artist, so I have no idea how is the experience of the eraser.  But for handwritten notes, it's a must, at least for me. 

  • Reply 10 of 24
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,282member
    What are the odds the new Pencil won’t work with older iPads as there won’t be a way to charge it?
    Curious if it will be backwards compatible with older iPads. Especially the one released earlier this year. As for charging, you don't think they will keep the same charging method? It'd be nice if they came with a lighting extension cord so you don't have to charge it directly off the iPad, but otherwise it is convenient .
    It's theoretically backward compatible unless the radio delivery method has changed, it should just be a matter of software understanding it. But one never knows with Apple.
    As for charging it, a simple adapter cable should do the trick, or even an Apple AirPower charging pad.

    danvm said:
    melgross said:
    I would like it to be about an inch shorter. I carry mine in a shirt pocket most of the time, with a clip I liberated from a pen of about the same thickness. It’s really too long for that, and the extra length doesn’t serve a purpose when holding it, though there could be circuitry that does. Pencils rapidly shorten so that the full length is almost never encountered except in the beginning, and pens are all shorter for the reason of carrying. So, shorter, and possibly with a clip that can be popped out of the side when needed. It should also come with a spongy sleeve, that can be slipped on, for those who find it to be uncomfortable. Though, I wonder about all those using “real” pencils that don’t have that. I’ve got hundreds from years of buying them, and none have anything other than wood. People are too quick to complain about things like that these days. Also, at least 1024 levels. I’ve never found more than that to really make a difference, but 1024 is better. I would also think that the connector end could be better figured out. I like the charge method, but something other than that little cap that keeps running away from me when I take it off, would be good. Please, no eraser end.
    I think Apple should add it to the Pencil.  I take a lot of handwritten notes, and the eraser is far better than going to the toolbar to click the Eraser tool.  I'm not an artist, so I have no idea how is the experience of the eraser.  But for handwritten notes, it's a must, at least for me. 

    I don't agree. I find it much easier to simply tap a button on a screen than to interrupt what I'm doing to flip the tool around and back. Having those gestures on the tool itself would be even better. Then it doesn't have to be moved at all, nor my hand position changed. Should really improve the workflow.
  • Reply 11 of 24
    Les123Les123 Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    How about those of us who may purchase a new iPad Pro and still want to use our old pencil. Being that supposedly the new Pro will be USB-C then how does the old pencil charge and pair with the New iPad Pro. Another dongle for USB-C to Lightening Connector I guess. I don’t want to have to buy a new pencil right away however will be the new iPad Pro.
  • Reply 12 of 24
    Les123 said:
    How about those of us who may purchase a new iPad Pro and still want to use our old pencil. Being that supposedly the new Pro will be USB-C then how does the old pencil charge and pair with the New iPad Pro. Another dongle for USB-C to Lightening Connector I guess. I don’t want to have to buy a new pencil right away however will be the new iPad Pro.

    Dongle. Apple loves dongles.
  • Reply 13 of 24
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,215member
    danvm said:
    melgross said:
    I would like it to be about an inch shorter. I carry mine in a shirt pocket most of the time, with a clip I liberated from a pen of about the same thickness. It’s really too long for that, and the extra length doesn’t serve a purpose when holding it, though there could be circuitry that does. Pencils rapidly shorten so that the full length is almost never encountered except in the beginning, and pens are all shorter for the reason of carrying. So, shorter, and possibly with a clip that can be popped out of the side when needed. It should also come with a spongy sleeve, that can be slipped on, for those who find it to be uncomfortable. Though, I wonder about all those using “real” pencils that don’t have that. I’ve got hundreds from years of buying them, and none have anything other than wood. People are too quick to complain about things like that these days. Also, at least 1024 levels. I’ve never found more than that to really make a difference, but 1024 is better. I would also think that the connector end could be better figured out. I like the charge method, but something other than that little cap that keeps running away from me when I take it off, would be good. Please, no eraser end.
    I think Apple should add it to the Pencil.  I take a lot of handwritten notes, and the eraser is far better than going to the toolbar to click the Eraser tool.  I'm not an artist, so I have no idea how is the experience of the eraser.  But for handwritten notes, it's a must, at least for me. 

    Terrible idea. You don’t need the Pencil for notes. The reason for its existence if for drawing and painting. For that, apps have extensive erase functions. It’s easier to tap the erase function on the screen than to reverse the stylus.
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 14 of 24
    Les123Les123 Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    How about those of us who may purchase a new iPad Pro and still want to use our old pencil. Being that supposedly the new Pro will be USB-C then how does the old pencil charge and pair with the New iPad Pro. Another dongle for USB-C to Lightening Connector I guess. I don’t want to have to buy a new pencil right away however will be the new iPad Pro.
  • Reply 15 of 24
    danvmdanvm Posts: 692member
    dysamoria said:
    Very cool if true. One think I hope for is that the new pencil has an on/off switch. I don’t use my pencil every day and often times when I do go to use it it’s got hardly any battery life left. Just carrying it around in my laptop bag causes enough motion to drain the battery.
    It also needs a much much more grippy tip (I find it too slippery on the glass), and an added “eraser” end.
    If there’s gesture support to envoke an eraser then I don’t think it needs an eraser end. Plus most drawing apps include an eraser button. For me it’s just as easy to tap that than to flip the pencil over. But it’s been years since I’ve used a real pencil on a regular basis so I don’t have that muscle memory built up.
    MS Word / Windows 10 already have gestures for some tasks, including erase lines or paragraphs,


    But in my experience, the eraser is better for handwritten notes and annotating PDF. 

  • Reply 16 of 24
    danvmdanvm Posts: 692member
    mac_128 said:

    danvm said:
    melgross said:
    I would like it to be about an inch shorter. I carry mine in a shirt pocket most of the time, with a clip I liberated from a pen of about the same thickness. It’s really too long for that, and the extra length doesn’t serve a purpose when holding it, though there could be circuitry that does. Pencils rapidly shorten so that the full length is almost never encountered except in the beginning, and pens are all shorter for the reason of carrying. So, shorter, and possibly with a clip that can be popped out of the side when needed. It should also come with a spongy sleeve, that can be slipped on, for those who find it to be uncomfortable. Though, I wonder about all those using “real” pencils that don’t have that. I’ve got hundreds from years of buying them, and none have anything other than wood. People are too quick to complain about things like that these days. Also, at least 1024 levels. I’ve never found more than that to really make a difference, but 1024 is better. I would also think that the connector end could be better figured out. I like the charge method, but something other than that little cap that keeps running away from me when I take it off, would be good. Please, no eraser end.
    I think Apple should add it to the Pencil.  I take a lot of handwritten notes, and the eraser is far better than going to the toolbar to click the Eraser tool.  I'm not an artist, so I have no idea how is the experience of the eraser.  But for handwritten notes, it's a must, at least for me. 

    I don't agree. I find it much easier to simply tap a button on a screen than to interrupt what I'm doing to flip the tool around and back. Having those gestures on the tool itself would be even better. Then it doesn't have to be moved at all, nor my hand position changed. Should really improve the workflow.
    Maybe in your workflow, tapping a button is better.  In my case, I have toolbars hidden and the document / notebook in full screen.  Plus with the other hand I navigate, rotate and zoom-in/out.  So it's easier and quicker too rotate the Pen for the eraser. 
  • Reply 17 of 24
    danvmdanvm Posts: 692member
    melgross said:
    danvm said:
    melgross said:
    I would like it to be about an inch shorter. I carry mine in a shirt pocket most of the time, with a clip I liberated from a pen of about the same thickness. It’s really too long for that, and the extra length doesn’t serve a purpose when holding it, though there could be circuitry that does. Pencils rapidly shorten so that the full length is almost never encountered except in the beginning, and pens are all shorter for the reason of carrying. So, shorter, and possibly with a clip that can be popped out of the side when needed. It should also come with a spongy sleeve, that can be slipped on, for those who find it to be uncomfortable. Though, I wonder about all those using “real” pencils that don’t have that. I’ve got hundreds from years of buying them, and none have anything other than wood. People are too quick to complain about things like that these days. Also, at least 1024 levels. I’ve never found more than that to really make a difference, but 1024 is better. I would also think that the connector end could be better figured out. I like the charge method, but something other than that little cap that keeps running away from me when I take it off, would be good. Please, no eraser end.
    I think Apple should add it to the Pencil.  I take a lot of handwritten notes, and the eraser is far better than going to the toolbar to click the Eraser tool.  I'm not an artist, so I have no idea how is the experience of the eraser.  But for handwritten notes, it's a must, at least for me. 

    Terrible idea. You don’t need the Pencil for notes. The reason for its existence if for drawing and painting.
    Maybe Apple design the Pencil for drawing, but that doesn't means that it cannot be used for handwritten notes and annotating PDF documents,

    Maybe is a terrible idea, as you said.  I think an eraser could make it a better experience. 
    For that, apps have extensive erase functions. It’s easier to tap the erase function on the screen than to reverse the stylus.

    That depends on the workflow.  I hide toolbars to have the document / notebook full screen.  Turning the Pen will be quicker and easier than opening the toolbar and click the eraser every time I need to use the it. 





  • Reply 18 of 24
    Les123 said:
    How about those of us who may purchase a new iPad Pro and still want to use our old pencil. Being that supposedly the new Pro will be USB-C then how does the old pencil charge and pair with the New iPad Pro. Another dongle for USB-C to Lightening Connector I guess. I don’t want to have to buy a new pencil right away however will be the new iPad Pro.

    Dongle. Apple loves dongles.
    What on earth do you mean? Other an an ethernet adapter, I don’t know why one wouldn’t use native USBC cables on today’s MBs. Dongles not needed. 

    But the pearl clutchers sure do like to pretend they are. 
  • Reply 19 of 24
    chasmchasm Posts: 994member
    What are the odds the new Pencil won’t work with older iPads as there won’t be a way to charge it?
    Chances are pretty good that it will work with iPads that supported the original Apple Pencil, since it sounds like the new functionality is just emulating normal software calls you’d normally find in software, I should think. Obviously that’s not a guarantee, just speculation.

    Also (for the iPads Pros) I believe a Lightning-to-USB3 adapter already exists, so (assuming the new models of Pro dispense with Lightning) there should be a Lightning-to-USB-C adapter will or already does exists, along with a variety of ways to charge it. Of course, older iPads that never supported the Pencil in the first place aren’t going to magically start supporting it now.
  • Reply 20 of 24
    Les123 said:
    How about those of us who may purchase a new iPad Pro and still want to use our old pencil. Being that supposedly the new Pro will be USB-C then how does the old pencil charge and pair with the New iPad Pro. Another dongle for USB-C to Lightening Connector I guess. I don’t want to have to buy a new pencil right away however will be the new iPad Pro.

    Dongle. Apple loves dongles.
    What on earth do you mean? Other an an ethernet adapter, I don’t know why one wouldn’t use native USBC cables on today’s MBs. Dongles not needed. 

    But the pearl clutchers sure do like to pretend they are. 
    If the new iPad is usb-c only the only way to charge an existing pencil via the iPad would be a dongle. 
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