Apple wins an Apple Pencil patent about exchangeable tips and ends to Expand Functionality + adds in-air Gesture Functionality
Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially granted Apple a patent that relates to Apple Pencil. More particularly, the invention relates to a touch-based Apple Pencil that has removable and exchangeable components. In addition, this possible future Apple Pencil be able to conduct in-air gestures to control Macs, Apple TV the box and/or an advanced television.
Apple's granted patent states that an Apple Pencil could provide interchangeability of various removable components, such as removable functional end modules that cover a connector for charging and communicating with the stylus.
The various removable components each provide distinct features, thereby allowing the user to select various capabilities by employing each of the various functional end modules.
Apple's patent FIG. 3 below illustrates an Apple Pencil (#100) with the tip module (#190) removed from a first end thereof and a functional end module (#120) removed from a second end; FIG. 4 illustrates various components of the stylus/Apple Pencil.
According to some embodiments, the functional component can include a tactile sensor, such as a push/touch button, a twist button that springs back to a default position when not operated by a user, and/or a twist mechanism that produces incremental clicks when moving between various positions.
According to some embodiments, the functional component #130 could include other orientation detectors, gyroscopes, accelerometers, biometric readers, displays, switches (e.g., dome switches), buttons, speakers, compass, microphones, cameras, voice coils, and/or other components.
According to some embodiments, multiple functional end modules (#120) can be provided and interchanged on the main body of Apple Pencil. Each of a variety of functional end modules can have a different functional component or other component to provide distinct functionally.
In addition to end modules, Apple points to tip modules as well. Apple could include the functional component (#192) at a tip module (#190) of Apple Pencil for sensing when the tip module is contacting a surface. The functional component could include one or more contact sensors, capacitive sensors, touch sensors, cameras, piezoelectric sensors, pressure sensors, photodiodes, and/or other sensors.
Apple Pencil could include a tip module that provides markings on a physical surface. For example, Apple Pencil could include a tip module with ink, paint, lead, or graphite.
According to some embodiments, for example as illustrated in FIG. 9 above, this future Apple Pencil will be able to detect gestures made by a user holding the pencil. When a gesture satisfies a predetermined threshold or other characteristic of gestures, the Apple Pencil will be able to transmit a signal to the external device such as an iMac or MacBook to perform one or more actions.
Lastly, according to some embodiments, gestures detected by Apple Pencil will be able to be used to control operation of particular devices. For example, beyond Macs, the external device could be a television or an Apple TV box connected to a television. Apple Pencil could detect gestures and send corresponding signals to pause playback, advance playback by a certain rate or amount, reverse playback by a certain rate or amount, and/or advance or reverse to another episode, track, or photo.
Apple's granted patent 10,921,907 was filed in 2017 and published today by the U.S. Patent Office.