Apple Patent Hints at Two Big Changes Coming to Future iPhones, iPad minis

Ipad Pro Apple Pencil 2 Credit: Apple
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An Apple patent application for its iPad Pro and Apple Pencil 2 design hints that the company has bigger plans for its lineup of styli.

The patent, published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday and first spotted by Patently Apple, basically covers the 2018 iPad Pro’s Apple Pencil support. That includes its magnetic storage and charging systems. Because of that, it’s mostly a fulfilled patent, as Patently Apple notes. But the patent does have applications beyond the iPad Pro.

In fact, it suggests that a similar magnetic attachment and charging point could be applied to a smartphone or another kind of portable smart device.

The fact that the patent mentions smartphones suggests that Apple is at least considering opening up advanced stylus support for devices other than the iPad Pro.

A future version of the iPad mini, for example, could have squared edges akin to the 2018 iPad Pro lineup — allowing for easy charging and storage of an Apple Pencil 2. In fact, one of the patent’s figures depicts a device that looks suspiciously like an iPad mini.

Of course, the iPad mini sports a 7.9-inch display. That’s not too much larger than the iPhone XS Max’s 6.5-inch display. It isn’t a huge leap to imagine that a future 6.5-inch iPhone could also feature Apple Pencil support. If Apple decides to give its future iPhones a square-edge design, then an Apple Pencil could be stored and charged on an iPhone, too.

It’s worth noting that the patent doesn’t just stop at the Apple Pencil. In fact, the patent text explicitly mentions portable keyboards and even wireless earphones as possible recipients of wireless charging from a host device.

That lines up with previous rumors suggesting that some 2019 iPhone models could feature two-way wireless charging. In other words, you’d place your Apple Watch or AirPods wireless charging case on the rear of your iPhone and they’ll begin charging up.

Because of that, even if a future iPhone doesn’t have a magnetic attachment point for Apple Pencil storage, there’s a good chance that it’ll have the capability of charging the stylus.

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