Future Apple Pencil may feature full touch-sensitive controls

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2020
Alongside the existing double-tap feature, Apple Pencil may gain the ability to recognize gestures such as swiping, via a more comprehensive touch-sensitive control.

Detail from the patent describing how gestures could be received using a touch-sensitive area of a future Apple Pencil
Detail from the patent describing how gestures could be received using a touch-sensitive area of a future Apple Pencil


Apple Pencil 2 added the ability for a user to select items or change modes by double-tapping on a panel on the stylus's body. A new Apple patent proposes having a flexible sensor positioned at the user's fingertips, which can receive tactile inputs.

"Tactile input can be received at the user's natural grip location," says Apple in "Touch-based input for stylus."

"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 continues.

The patent points out that when someone is using the Apple Pencil, or any stylus, they are unlikely to be simultaneously touching the screen of an iPad or similar device.

Detail from the patent showing (top) a tap or press, and (bottom) a swipe gesture
Detail from the patent showing (top) a tap or press, and (bottom) a swipe gesture


"[While] the user is holding a stylus or other touch-based input device, the user may be limited to the input options provided thereby," it says. "Accordingly, additional input capabilities that are integrated into the input device would provide the user with expanded input capabilities without the need to simultaneously operate additional input devices."

In order to achieve this, the Pencil would have a "low profile" sensor, such as a capacitive sensing device, added.

"Tactile input can be received at the user's natural grip location," it continues. "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."

This patent application follows others concerning the base and tip of a stylus like the Apple Pencil, many of which even utilize the same drawings.

In December 2019, one such patent concerned how the stylus of an Apple Pencil could better simulate the feel of drawing on paper, using haptic feedback. A similar 2015 one concerned the same aim but concerning the whole stylus.

Another example, also from December 2019, has the stylus using a camera to decipher and record physical characteristics of a surface.

The eight inventors credited on the new patent have together a history of many such patents regarding styluses, tips and communication.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,159member
    I definitely look forward to that kind of gesture support on Pencil. Taps are nice but I wish for more gestures such as a gesture for select on PDF files (not selecting text but also images).
  • Reply 2 of 12
    Reminds me of what a bummer it is that regular-pads can only use the previous generation Pencil. Could have been charged via a dongle similar to the Apple Watch… not ideal, but a fine compromise.

    But I'm mostly grateful that we get Pencils at all…
    caladaniancornchip
  • Reply 3 of 12
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    I’d like to see some music app developers use the Pencil as a bow or a pick or a pedal to supplement musical instrument simulations for music production, performance and recording.
  • Reply 4 of 12
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,897member
    this will be awesome for changing brush size on the fly without having to break flow & go tapping around on the screen or keyboard (via Astropad)
  • Reply 5 of 12
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,055member
    netrox said:
    I definitely look forward to that kind of gesture support on Pencil. Taps are nice but I wish for more gestures such as a gesture for select on PDF files (not selecting text but also images).
    That would be a function of the app, not a gesture on the Pencil.
  • Reply 6 of 12
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,055member

    I’d like to see some music app developers use the Pencil as a bow or a pick or a pedal to supplement musical instrument simulations for music production, performance and recording.
    You can use Pencil in Garage Band,  but, it's a pointing device so it acts much like your finger would on those instruments.

    Or how about this, this actually uses all the sensors in the Pencil for a MIDI bow controller:
    https://www.cultofmac.com/538939/pen2bow-play-violin-with-apple-pencil/


    edited January 2020
  • Reply 7 of 12
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,055member

    cornchip said:
    this will be awesome for changing brush size on the fly without having to break flow & go tapping around on the screen or keyboard (via Astropad)
    Yep. It'd be like airbrush controls, which would be super awesome. I'd love this feature.
    cornchip
  • Reply 8 of 12
    pslicepslice Posts: 142member
    Hey Apple... Just make sure you don’t infringe on others’ patents. All these lawsuits cost the customer. 
  • Reply 9 of 12
    pslice said:
    Hey Apple... Just make sure you don’t infringe on others’ patents. All these lawsuits cost the customer. 
    Protip: Apple doesn't read your comments here.
    cornchip
  • Reply 10 of 12
    pslice said:
    Hey Apple... Just make sure you don’t infringe on others’ patents. All these lawsuits cost the customer. 
    That’s just a fraction of their real estate costs and hundreds of billions going into streaming services, project Titan, luxury malls
    cornchip
  • Reply 11 of 12
    I really would like to see it come with an eraser, like on the Wacom stylus.
  • Reply 12 of 12
    i wish the apple pencil could also act like a clicker for keynote especially when you’re presenting from the ipad pro.
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