Apple has been granted the patent rights for technology that could lead to a variety for new uses for the Apple Pencil.
The patent, which the tech giant applied for in 2014, describes a more advanced version of the Apple Pencil, which could be used in a variety of ways beyond a simple stylus.
The new stylus is described as having “force sensors” on either of its ends, and a six-axis “inertial sensor,” which may allow it to switch between different capabilities or modes, Mashable reported.
This high-tech stylus could send “electromagnetic signals from electrodes at the end of (its) stylus” to a receiving device — perhaps a Magic Trackpad — the patent reads.
This could lead to users being able to use the stylus to draw in various software programs on their Macs without the need for an external device like a Wacom tablet, The Verge reports.
While previously the domain of the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, this new patent potentially describes tech that could bring native drawing capabilities to the Mac family, according to MacRumors.
Additionally, the patent describes how the new stylus, outfitted with an accelerometer, could be used for different purposes.
For example, the new stylus could be used to “draw” in mid-air, or be used for in-air gestures to control slideshows or rotate objects on a screen. The inertial sensor could even let the stylus be used as a mouse in lieu of a trackpad or external device, according to MacRumors.
A variety of figures included with the patent also show the stylus doubling as a “joystick,” allowing users to interact with 3D objects on a screen. The tech could conceivably be used to play games as well.
In the patent, Apple also describes how the stylus could double as “a sword, a wand, or a hammer” in various video games, or as a “xylophone mallet, a gong beater, a conductor’s baton, or other musical instruments” in a music creation app.
The patent also adds that the new stylus could be used with a variety of devices, including touch sensors, touchscreen displays, trackpads, and other equipment.
But AppleInsider notes that the company is unlikely to manufacture a Mac-specific stylus — a more likely outcome would be making the Apple Pencil compatible with Apple’s desktop and notebook computers.
Interestingly, a similar Apple patent, discovered in June, seemed to show that the company was experimenting with styluses that could detect finger positions, rotation and force applied, Mashable reported.
Of course, since this is only a patent, there’s still no guarantee whether any of the technology in it will actually show up on upcoming Apple products.
But it’s still an interesting development from a company whose founder, Steve Jobs, said, “If you see a stylus, they blew it.”