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Apple invents a better Apple Pencil that’s covered in sensors

by Jacob Kleinman | June 23, 2016June 23, 2016 11:00 am PDT

The original Apple Pencil is a perfectly fine stylus, but the Cupertino company still has plenty of room to improve. Now a new patent may reveal how the firm might upgrade the Apple Pencil by packing in extra sensors.

The patent, which was published on Thursday, describes a “stylus with touch sensor” that looks a lot like the current Apple Pencil. However, it adds a series of capacitive and pressure-sensitive sensors along the device. These could be used to measure your finger placement or grip and react accordingly.

For example, if you grip the Apple Pencil the sensors could respond by improving the drawing precision. You could also use finger gestures on the stylus to zoom in and out, rotate an object, or scroll through menus. That sounds like a nice improvement to the current Pencil.

A second Apple patent also published today applies a somewhat similar strategy to the iPhone. The company’s apparently considered including “hand detection circuitry” in its mobile devices, which would be able to sense whether you were holding your phone in your left or right hand. Based on that information, iOS could automatically modify itself so the most important buttons are within easy reach. It could even recalibrate the Touch ID sensor to match the angle of your thumb.

These are just patents so there’s no guarantee Apple will include any of these ideas in actual future products. But unlike some of the company’s more far out filings these two seem pretty realistic, so we wouldn’t be totally surprised to see them pop up in future announcements.

USPTO (1) (2) AppleInsider

Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...

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