TechTastic spotted an Apple patent filed in July 2017 for a pencil that is able to write on any imaginable surface, including air.
The patent, called Content Creation Using Electronic Input Device on Non-electronic Surfaces, was made public in January.
In the claims section, it’s revealed that the air pencil (let’s call it that, it’s easier) will be able to track stroke duration, three-dimensional motion and orientation and force against a “non-touch-sensitive” surface. The Apple air pencil would then transmit that information to a sensor using “radiofrequency or acoustic signals”.
While styluses that draw on paper or other surfaces then send the image to a device do exist, the patent shows a diagram that reveals how someone might draw a cylinder in thin air, then have that object appear on the screen.
Want the nitty gritty details? Here’s what the Apple patent abstract has to offer:
“In some examples, touch-down and lift-off on a non-touch-sensitive surface can be monitored by a force sensor of the input device. The position and/or motion of the input device can be tracked according to various methods including one or more of a motion and orientation sensor, a camera, or an electromagnetic- or sound-based triangulation scheme. The force data and position/motion data can be processed to generate content, including textual character input and three-dimensional objects. In some examples, the content can be generated based on tracking position and/or motion of the input device without requiring contact with a surface.”
Of course, this doesn’t mean this functionality will necessarily be available on the Apple Pencil, but it shows the direction Apple wants to take. It’s particularly interesting because there are rumors about Apple augmented reality glasses.
Meanwhile, if you want the current Apple Pencil, you should know that the company finally lowered the price.