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The Apple Pencil allows users to write, draw or illustrate on their iPads – and while it does so extremely well, it’s not without its limitations. Luckily, Apple seems to be developing various features and accessories that could make a future Apple Pencil even more versatile for artists and illustrators.
The patent details how an interchangeable tip could essentially turn an Apple Pencil into an Apple Paintbrush. Specifically, it describes a tip with “flexible contact members” that are capable of “independently flexing relative to one another.” In other words, a brush-like accessory.
While it describes a paintbrush in the typically dense language of patents, it’s pretty clearly describing how a brush attachment could allow an iPad to measure individual bristles. That could allow it to mimic a normal paintbrush, including controlling paint flow in an image.
The patent goes a step further than that, too. While it doesn’t explicitly prove that Apple will debut a series of interchangeable tips for a future Apple Pencil, it does suggest that haptic feedback could be leveraged to make different tips “feel” more like real drawing utensils.
As the patent puts it, “haptic feedback can involve the transformation, displacement, oscillation, vibration or modification of a body of material (e.g., substrate).”
In layman’s terms, a future Apple Pencil and iPad combo could use haptic feedback to provide artificial sensations that could closely mimic using different drawing tools on different materials.
Basically, a “marker” tip may feel more like drawing with an actual marker, providing a different feedback response from a “pencil” tip.
Presumably, the haptic feedback could extend to different types of art media — simulating different types of paper or other surfaces that an artist may draw upon.
Of course, patents don’t give any indication when the technology they describe may debut. More than that, Apple files a lot of patents that it never ends up using in consumer-facing products. But an Apple Pencil with interchangeable tips and a more true-to-life drawing experience would be both serious boons to artists, painters and iPad Pro creatives everywhere.
[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]