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Future Apple Pencils may be able to ‘sample’ and reproduce colors

Apple has filed for a patent (number 20200225778) for a “computer system with color sampling stylus” that hints at interesting new features for an upcoming Apple Pencil.

The idea is to equip the Pencil with a color sensor packed with photodetectors, each of which measures light for a different respective color channel. The color sensor may also have light-emitting devices that illuminate and scan an external object to determine the color of the external object. The color could be used in drawing or painting with the Apple Pencil.

Interestingly, the patent filing also mentions use of the Pencil with laptops, desktops, and smartphones, as well as augmented reality, head-mounted displays such as the rumored “Apple Glasses.” With the Mac line transitions to Apple Silicon over the next two years, we could see Macs with touchscreens and Apple Pencil support.

(Apple Silicon is, per Apple, “world-class custom silicon to deliver industry-leading performance and powerful new technologies.” It involves customized ARM technology, as well as Apple’s own System on a Chip.)

Here’s the summary of the invention: “The electronic device may have a housing with an elongated shaft. The shaft may have a tip and an opposing end. The tip may be configured to emit electromagnetic signals that are detected by a touch sensor in a touch sensitive display. The color sensor may be located at the end opposite the tip, may be located at the tip, or may be optically coupled to the tip using a light guide.”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the news editor of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.