Apple Pencil patent hints next stylus to feature swappable tips, eraser

The latest news in Apple product patents comes in the form of an older filing for the stylus known as the Apple Pencil. While the patent was filed back in 2012, it includes details on several features that may make their way into the next generation of the iPad drawing accessory, including interchangeable tips to simulate different writing/drawing tools, as well as new sensors, and even Touch ID.

The existing Apple Pencil already includes several sensors and processors that are used to identify different hand gestures and displaying different forms of contact on the iPad's screen, such as things like variations in pressure. But the new version from the patent would also add the hardware feature of being able to swap nibs, with each tip also having its own sensor.

In this case, each nib would in turn be recognized by a separate sensor in the stylus body, allowing the device to interpret hand gestures and display them differently on the screen. Example tips include various brushes, pencil, and felt tip pen. Similarly, a sensor in the non-writing end of the stylus could allow it to function as an eraser tool when making contact with an iPad's display.

The other interesting feature described is fingerprint recognition via Touch ID. It's hard to imagine this being necessary on a stylus, but it could still add extra security to the device, such as a non-authorized user being unable to make inputs with it. This could also serve as a way to keep a stylus tied to a single iPad for use.

As always with patents, the features and ideas Apple has filed may not make their way into a final product anytime soon, or at all for that matter. And with the Apple Pencil having launched barely six months ago, a follow-up in the near future seems unlikely. However, the interchangeable tips would make a lot of sense, and it's reasonable to thing something like that could be included when Apple decides to release a new version of the Pencil.

SOURCE US Patent and Trademark Office

VIA Apple Insider