Apple has recently filed a patent for a next-generation Apple Pencil with built-in optical sensors that can capture both colors and textures. This technology could turn the Apple Pencil into more than just a stylus for note-taking and art creation. With the ability to gather inspiration from the colors and textures of real-life objects, the device could serve as a reference tool for artists to build their own banks of hues and textures for use in their projects. This feature is reminiscent of the popular “eyedropper” tool found in graphics software, allowing users to easily capture and leverage colors from their surroundings.
According to the patent application, the Apple Pencil’s color sensor system would be able to capture the color of external objects and potentially make measurements of their texture and other appearance-related characteristics. The light emitter in the new Apple Pencil may also be adjustable and have a customizable light spectrum. This spectrum can be adjusted during color sensing measurements based on factors such as ambient light color.
The intensity of the light emitter may also be modulated during these measurements. In addition, an inertial measurement unit may be used to measure the angle between the stylus and the surface being measured during the color sensing process. The texture of the surface may be measured using light that hits the surface at a glancing angle.
These measurements could then be transmitted wirelessly to a companion device, like an iPad, for use in apps like drawing software.
As of now, the next-generation feature of the Apple Pencil described in the filed patent is purely theoretical and it is unclear if Apple plans to incorporate it into a redesigned version of the Apple Pencil. However, it has been over four years since the second generation of the Apple Pencil was announced, so it is possible that the company may be considering updates to the product.
In the past, Apple has also filed patents for other pencil-related technologies, such as detachable custom nibs and one with a rotary element and multiple touch-sensitive areas on the body. It…