Apple has applied for a variety of patents regarding the current and future iterations of the Apple Pencil. Four patents (numbers 20170068342, 20170068341, 20170068340, and 20170068339) for a “stylus for electronic devices” involve the design and functionality of the current model. Another shows the Apple Pencil being used with a touchscreen Mac.
Though patent 20170068342 concerns the design and functions of the Pencil, it also shows a model that would connect to the Smart Connector of an iPad Pro for charging.
Patent number 20170068330 involves “preprocessing for nonlinear stylus profiles.” The goal is for Apple Pencils to have an increased ability to accurately calculate the position of the stylus on a touch-sensitive device. The interesting thing about this patent is that it shows a laptop with a touch screen.
Patent number 20170068344 is for an “active stylus precision tip.” In the patent filing, Apple notes that styli have become popular input devices for touch-sensitive devices. In particular, use of an active stylus capable of generating stylus stimulation signals that can be sensed by the touch-sensitive device can improve the precision and control of the stylus. However, detecting the location of an active stylus at a touch-sensitive device with precision can be difficult when the active stylus is used at different orientation angles. Apple wants to change this.
Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.