Apple surprised us a little with the launch of the Apple Pencil, venturing into territory that it had previously left to the likes of the Microsoft Surface range. Its first attempt was strong though, delivering an accessory that worked well and felt good to use.
So where to go from there? Well, a patent filing from back in 2011 might give us some clues. The filing, spotted by Apple Insider, includes a number of intriguing ideas that never made their way into the finished Apple Pencil.
Ideas like removable tips, that would replace the pencil end with various types of brushes or felt tip pens. These tips would not just have a different look and feel but would also use different sensors inside the body of the Pencil, so it could interpret your inputs differently depending on which tip you're using.
That makes sense, as while the Apple Pencil in its current form can detect different angles and amounts of pressure, it's still responding as if you were using a pencil, not a paintbrush.
Taking art seriously
With various brush and pen attachments the Apple Pencil could become a far more accomplished artist's tool, allowing for the creation of detailed digital images, so this could well be a feature that will make it into the Apple Pencil 2.0.
The patent also details a sensor on the non-writing end, that could be used as an eraser. Again, this would be a logical addition and would bring it one step closer to a real pencil.
Other less likely additions include a built-in Touch ID sensor, to prevent unrecognised fingers from using it, and even a real lead tip for the end, which could draw on paper and then have it translated into a digital image. Such tech already exists from other companies and we doubt Apple would join them, as it would leave the iPad Pro as a less essential part of the equation.
But removable tips and an eraser, those features we can see being added. Apple is sure to release a new version of the Pencil at some point and those things would make for a compelling upgrade, but that launch could be a way off yet, given that the current Apple Pencil is still quite new.
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James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.