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Future Apple Pencil may allow users to copy colors from real-world objects thanks to new patent

The color scanner detailed in the new patent. Image via US Patent & Trademark Office
The color scanner detailed in the new patent. Image via US Patent & Trademark Office
A new patent filed by Apple details a stylus, likely an Apple Pencil, that contains an embedded color sensor. Located in either the back end or tip of the Pencil, the color sensor would be able to scan and copy the color from real-world objects. While the patent looks interesting, it is not yet known whether or not Apple will actually use it in future products.
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A new patent suggests that the Apple Pencil may eventually get an interesting new feature. According to a filing recently published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Apple may be developing a new Apple Pencil that can scan and copy colors from real-world objects. 

The patent, which was filed on November 3, 2019 and published on July 16, 2020, details a “computer stylus” with a “plurality of photodetectors each of which measures light for a different receptive color channel.” In layman's terms, this filing is for a stylus (likely the Apple Pencil) that has a sensor that allows it to scan and copy colors from objects in the real world. 

According to the drawings included with the patent, the color sensor would be located in either the back end of the Apple Pencil (where the eraser is) or in the tip of the stylus. (Note that the patent does stipulate the color sensor could be located “elsewhere in the device,” but these two locations are detailed in drawings and make the most sense.) The color sensor housing may also have an illumination source to light up objects for improved accuracy and consistent color readings. 

Keep in mind that Apple files thousands of patents each year, and most of them are never used in future products. However, a color-sensing Apple Pencil could be a useful tool for artists and would further set the iPad apart from other tablets on the market. 

What do you think about the new Apple Pencil patent? Would you buy an Apple Pencil that could grab colors from real-world objects? Let us know in the comments. 

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Sam Medley
Sam Medley - Senior Tech Writer - 1137 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2016
I've been a computer geek my entire life. After graduating college with a degree in Mathematics, I worked in finance and banking a few years before taking a job as a database administrator. I started working with Notebookcheck in October of 2016 and have enjoyed writing news and reviews. I've also written for other outlets including UltrabookReview and GeeksWorldWide, focusing on consumer guidance and video gaming. My areas of interest include the business side of technology, retro gaming, Linux, and innovative gadgets. When I'm not writing on electronics or tinkering with a device, I'm either outside with my family, enjoying a decade-old video game, or playing drums or piano.
contact me via: @samuel_medley
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 07 > Future Apple Pencil may allow users to copy colors from real-world objects thanks to new patent
Sam Medley, 2020-07-19 (Update: 2020-07-19)