The Next Apple Pencil Could Be Squeezable

Apple Pencil Giveaway1 Credit: Apple
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At this point, it’s all but certain that we’ll soon see a new Apple Pencil unveiled next month alongside Apple’s new 2024 iPad Pro and iPad Air lineups. What’s less certain is exactly what that Apple Pencil will do.

Possibilities range from the mundane — a simple redesign to accommodate new camera placement — to the cool but seemingly outrageous idea of letting Vision Pro users make virtual drawings in thin air.

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However, now the folks over at 9to5Mac have found solid evidence of a considerably more plausible change: a new “squeeze” gesture to complement the existing tap controls.

This particular idea isn’t born out of mere speculation. Instead, 9to5Mac found code in today’s iPadOS 17.5 beta that corroborates not only the existence of the new stylus but also points to a gesture called “squeeze” that it says can be used for “quick interactions such as adding shapes, signatures, stickers, or a text field.”

The assumption is that Apple will add some pressure sensors to the outside of the new “Apple Pencil 3,” as that makes more sense than creating a softer and squishier rubber surface. This would mark the first time a pressure sensor has been added anywhere other than the tip of the stylus, as the double-tap gesture uses an accelerometer to detect the motion of the tap.

Earlier this year, 9to5Mac also found evidence in iOS 17.4 that Apple is working on a “Find My Pencil” feature, which seemingly aligns with a patent we saw last May. There’s also been a “PencilKit 3” API kicking around since the early betas of iPadOS 17.4, although there haven’t been any indications as to what new features that might enable before now.

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has been reporting for a few months now that this year’s new flagship iPads will be accompanied by a redesigned Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard. However, he hasn’t said much about what we can expect from either device.

Rumors of the “Apple Pencil 3” go back to at least early 2021, with details gleaned from Apple patents and leakers that suggested a new rolling gesture, a more realistic painting feel, and even a color sensor and a camera. However, Apple also patents a great many ideas that never see the light of day, and the premium stylus hasn’t seen an update since the second-generation model was released alongside the redesigned iPad Pro in late 2018.

Apple introduced a new entry-level Apple Pencil with USB-C last fall, but this was mostly a replacement for the first-generation 2015-era Apple Pencil, which had an awkward relationship with Apple’s more modern iPads, particularly the USB-C 10th-generation iPad, which didn’t offer magnetic charging or even a place to dock the higher-end stylus.

Other rumors suggest that the new Apple Pencil could gain replaceable tips, and it will likely also be redesigned to attach and charge somewhere else on the iPad since most reports indicate that Apple is set to move the camera to the long edge, where the charging dock lives on current iPad Pro and iPad Air models. A new Magic Keyboard is also expected, and while it may simply be a minor refresh to accommodate the thinner OLED iPad Pro models, there’s a possibility it could also make room for the Apple Pencil.

[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.]

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