Rumors began surfacing earlier this year that Apple could possibly be releasing an ‘iPhone 7 Pro’ alongside what we now know as the company’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus flagships. As the name might suggest, Cupertino’s iPhone 7 Pro was rumored to boast an Apple Pencil-friendly display — meaning that the functionality of Apple’s super-advanced stylus tool, which currently works with both the 9.7- and 12.9-inch iPad Pros, would also be coming to the iPhone family — or so we thought.
Of course, Apple’s 2016 flagships touched down without so much as a mention of this ‘iPhone 7 Pro’ device — or even an Apple Pencil-capable iPhone at all, for that matter. However, while the revelation of a stylus-capable iPhone would likely make Apple’s late co-founder, Steve Jobs, do a full 180 in his grave, it appears, according to a patent that was recently granted Apple, that the company might actually be entertaining the possibility of releasing an Apple Pencil-capable iPhone next year.
Published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office late last week, Apple’s patent (No. 20160364091) is described only as “Devices and Methods for Manipulating User Interfaces with a Stylus,” according to Patently Apple; and is essentially a further expansion on previous patent filings we reported on earlier this year — many suggesting that Apple Pencil functionality could one day come to the company’s smaller, touchscreen-enabled devices.
As Patently Apple notes, Apple’s most recent patent application discusses the inclusion of “multiple new sensors” being embedded underneath the device’s display, allowing for deeper interaction with Apple Pencil on iPhone. For instance, the filing describes various sensors that would be able to detect the nearness of Apple’s Pencil to the display — prior to launching “a special menu” showing options for carrying out stylus-based actions.
Additionally, not only will the stylus be able to open certain pre-specified apps directly from the iOS lock screen, but the iPhone-friendly stylus tool will also be able to do things like draw or trace pictures, write to enter text, and more — meaning that Apple Pencil functionality on the iPhone, if indeed it ultimately comes to be, won’t be limited to just the iOS Notes app.
Take a look at some of the screenshots from the patent application below if you want to get a better sense of what you might be able to do on an iPhone 8 — or just an iPhone, in general — using the Apple Pencil. As we mentioned, it’s truly up in the air as to whether or not Apple will actually follow through with this one.
However, if the company does end up releasing a premium version of the iPhone featuring Apple Pencil functionality next year, such a move would set the Silicon Valley tech-giant up to compete directly with Samsung’s Galaxy Note and its iconic S Pen.
Could you see yourself using an Apple Pencil to interact with your iPhone? Let us know in the comments!