Future Apple Pencils could detect, respond to squeezes

This graphic shows an Apple Pencil that could respond to a user’s squeeze.

Apple has been granted a patent (number US 11755128 B2) for a “stylus with compressive force sensor” that hints an upcoming Apple Pencil that would respond to squeezes.

About the patent

In the patent Apple notes that variety of handheld input devices exist for detecting input from a user during use. For example, a stylus can be utilized to provide input by contacting a touch panel of an electronic device. 

Obviously, the Apple Pencil is one such device. However, Apple is considering future versions of it that could respond to a user’s squeeze. It could include one or more sensors to detect a squeezing or compressive force against the body of the stylus. The sensors could be capacitance sensors, strain gauges, force resistive sensors, magnetic/inductive sensors, pneumatic sensors, piezo sensors, and/or optical sensors. The sensors can be configured to detect a compressive or squeezing force through an unbroken or continuous outer surface of the stylus, allowing for user comfort.

Apple says the additional input provided by detecting squeezing or compressive force can allow the stylus to provide improved usability and on screen/off screen interaction with the electronic device. For example, the squeezing input can provide context sensitive actions, program switching, tool switching, confirmation of actions, etc. The user can squeeze or compress the stylus at a natural grip position or other positions to provide different inputs to the electronic device.

Summary of the patent

Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “A stylus input device can allow a user to interface with an external electronic device. The stylus can provide an additional or alternative input to the external electronic device in response to a user applying a compressive force to the device housing. The stylus can include multiple sensors to provide a signal in response to the compressive force applied to the stylus.”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher 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.