Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to next-gen Apple Pencil features. One such feature is referred to as a 'rolling gesture' feature as our cover graphic depicts.
Jumping right into the heart of the patent, Apple's patent FIG. 4 below illustrates that multiple touch sensors (#200) could be set into future Apple Pencil in contrast to a single touch sensor area that has been built into Apple Pencil 2.
Each of the multiple touch sensors could extend within a different portion of the housing (#110). The touch sensors could be spaced apart from each other. At least one of the touch sensors could extend along the grip region (#104).
Apple further notes that "Gestures detected by the separate touch sensors could be interpreted as different user inputs according to preprogrammed functions to be performed by Apple Pencil and/or an external device upon detection of the user gestures."
Apple's patent FIG. 5 below illustrates that a secondary touch area for gestures could be placed towards the top of Apple Pencil. Gestures detected at an end of Apple Pencil could be interpreted differently than gestures provided at other locations, such as the grip region.
Apple's patent FIG. 6 simply illustrates that gestures including tapping on Apple Pencil in any zone to have a feature applied, like Apple Pencil 2 today.
New Sliding Gesture: Apple's patent FIG. 7 illustrates a "sliding" gesture. For example, longitudinal or other sliding gestures could be interpreted as a user input to change a characteristic (e.g., color, size, width, thickness, shape, etc.) of a marking produced by use of Apple Pencil with the external device.
By further example, longitudinal or other sliding gestures could be interpreted as a user input to perform functions on the external device, such as a copy function, a paste function, an undo function, and/or a redo function.
New Rolling Gesture: As shown in patent FIG. 8 above, the touch sensor can be used to detect a rolling gesture by the user. The rolling gesture can include movement of a finger about a circumference of the housing and/or rolling movement of the housing over a surface, such as a working surface. Multiple sensing elements of the touch sensor 200 distributed circumferentially within the housing could be used in concert to detect particular user inputs.
For example, rotational gestures could be interpreted as a user input to perform functions on the external device, such as zooming in or out of a displayed view and/or scaling the size or other aspect of an object displayed on the external device.
Lastly, as shown in FIG. 21 above, the assembly including the support member (#120), the elastic insert (#122), and the touch sensors could be inserted into the housing (#110).
Apple has updated their invention to cover 20 new patent claims to better protect their invention. Five of the new claims cover a "method," not present in the original patent. The key method entry states:
"A method of operating a touch sensor of a stylus, the method comprising: detecting, with the touch sensor at a grip region of the stylus, that a user is holding the stylus at the grip region; setting a first input baseline based on detecting that the user is holding the stylus; detecting, with the touch sensor, that the user has lifted a finger from the grip region based on a first deviation from the first input baseline; setting a second input baseline based on detecting that the user has lifted the finger; detecting, with the touch sensor, that the user has returned the finger to the grip region based on a second deviation from the second input baseline; and determining, based on the first deviation and the second deviation, a user input applied to the touch sensor."
To review patent 20220253162 in full or to review the remaining 19 new patent claims, click here.
While the U.S. Patent Office publishes a multitude of Apple patent updates every week (in the range of 10-30+), Patently Apple only chooses to highlight a few of them (1-3 max. per week) if they're considered important or likely to become a market reality.