Next Apple Pencil could sport some very useful features

Next Apple Pencil could sport some very useful features
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has recently published a new patent application from Apple that was first mentioned by Patently Apple. The application revolves around Apple's most important product, the iPhone and shows how Apple could add a wraparound glass enclosure to the device. This will allow images that start from the front of the phone's display to wraparound to the handset's rear panel.

The enclosure would include six sides and some of the sides might not feature a display. The enclosure could be produced using a single sheet of glass or by attaching multiple sheets. The patent application says that Apple could use the different sides to show an image or a video that wraps around the front screen. A user would be able to scroll horizontally and move icons or images off the front of the device to the side of the phone and eventually on to the back. And the left-right strolling could then be employed in order to return the icons or images back to its original location at the front of the screen. Those using an iPhone with a glass enclosure will be able to squeeze the side or press on it to control the volume of the device.

Apple's patent application also showed illustrations of glass enclosures for the Apple Watch and a circular computer tower

Illustrations in the patent application also include a round cylinder-like computer tower with an all-glass enclosure. There would be places on the enclosure for a power button, a volume button and more. Another illustration shows an Apple Watch covered by an enclosure made of mostly glass or all glass. Apple originally filed the application during the third quarter of 2019.

Last week, Apple received a new patent from the USPTO (via Patently Apple) for the Apple Pencil. The patent, titled "Touch-based input device with haptic feedback" hints at new features such as a biometric reader (like a fingerprint scanner), a display, and a pressure sensor. In the grip of the pencil, a piezoelectric device will provide haptic feedback to confirm user input. As for the display, Apple says that it could show virtual buttons and icons that users would tap on to choose from.

One or more sensors included with the improved Apple Pencil would be able to know when the tip of the accessory has made contact with the screen of the device it is being used with. With a new version of the Apple iPad Pro expected to be unveiled as soon as next month, perhaps we will see the new premium slate paired with a new pencil sporting some of these new features.

The second-generation Apple Pencil charges wirelessly by using a magnet to attach to the side of the iPad Pro (2018). It also changes from a pencil to an eraser or another tool with a simple double-tap. And this new iteration of the Apple Pencil shows how Apple continues to evolve its digital writing tool amid fierce competition. And that sets off questions about whether the company plans on eventually taking on Samsung's Galaxy Note line by offering a pencil for the iPhone.

The late Steve Jobs famously said "Who wants a stylus...yuck!" when introducing the touchscreen Apple iPhone in 2007. Yet, last July Citi Research said in a note to clients that the 2019 iPhone models would be compatible with a smaller version of the Apple Pencil. And just weeks before the iPhone 11 family was unveiled to the public, a case render produced by accessory manufacturer Olixar included housing for a pencil or a stylus on the back of the case.

Of course, as we now know, Apple decided against releasing a pencil for the iPhone. And thus far, with all of the leaks we've been able to pass along about the 2020 iPhone models, none of them have included any hint of a pencil for this year's iPhones.


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