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Just like magic: Future Apple Pencils may sample real-life colors

NextPit Apple Pencil 2 vs 1
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The Apple Pencil (2) is far from a perfect stylus due to a few caveats like a missing eraser end and limited compatibility to older iPads. Although those issues might be solved with the Pencil 3, a new patent uncovered suggests future Apple pens could bring more advanced solutions such as capturing color and texture samples from the real world.

According to Patently Apple who spotted the published patent, Apple is working on a next-gen Pencil capable of sampling a color in actual surfaces before feeding the result to a separate device such as an iPad. The Cupertino giant plans to enable this by equipping the Pencil with an optical sensor and light emitter components similar to digital color devices.

Surface-detecting Apple Pencil

Not only colors can be possibly taken from surfaces but also the types of texture by just hovering the pen. This is where the wave-guided emitter becomes useful as discrepancies in the surface can be measured through the amount of light captured back by the set of detectors.

The patent didn't detail on how the replaceable tips will be utilized with this type of Pencil. But it can be seen on the sketches of different end points with the color sensors built inside the shaft and the LED components found around the conical portion of the pen.

Apple Pencil 3 or Future Pencils could feature color and surface sampling
Apple Pencil with color and texture sampling features shown in patent / © Patently Apple

It's still unclear when we can see an Apple Pencil with the aforementioned color sampling functionalities. But given these accompanying technologies are already present on other devices, we may probably see this arriving on an Apple device in a few years.

Apple is reported to be releasing OLED iPad Pro tablets in 2024. There is also speculation that an iPad Ultra with a 16-inch display is in development inside Apple's laboratories. But other details about this giant tablet are still thin on the ground. Would you consider buying one if it launches?

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Go to comment (2)
Jade Bryan

Jade Bryan
Junior Editor

I still remember how amazed I was when I first got hold of the Nokia 3210 back when I was a kid, and it was during that time I developed my love for technology, particularly for mobile phones. I started sharing my knowledge through writing in different blogs and forums back in Nokia Nseries era. I even make videos before where I put different phones side-by-side. Today, I'm still an avid enthusiast of smartphones, but my interests have evolved into smart devices and electric vehicles.

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  • 49
    storm Jan 9, 2023 Link to comment

    what if I sample a Pantone color without paying for the pantone app rights?

    Rusty H.

    • Jade Bryan 14
      Jade Bryan Jan 10, 2023 Link to comment

      That's an interesting question, given the basic Pantone has a free color sampler, I think that would be okay, only that you can't add it to your portfolio.