Apple was granted a new patent today which shows a future version of an Apple Pencil which features an interchangeable tip that could be used as a paintbrush.
The patent first acknowledges the fact that the current Apple Pencil has its limitations when being used as an artistic tool then details how an interchangeable tip might change that. The paintbrush attachment would also measure the flex degree in each bristle and that’s where the magic would happen.
“This paper describes various embodiments related to a portable electronic device having flexible contact members. More specifically, each of the flexible contact members is capable of independently flexing relative to one another, and the touch sensitive device can generate a feedback response that is based on a change in flexure of the flexible contact members […]
The components can further include a sensor coupled to the flexible contact members, the sensor capable of (i) detecting a change in flexure of the flexible contact members in accordance with the contacting, and (ii) responding to the change in flexure by providing a corresponding detection signal. The components can further include a processor in communication with the sensor and capable of receiving the detection signal, the processor capable of generating a feedback instruction that is based upon the change in flexure.
The components can further include a communications unit coupled to and capable of receiving the feedback instruction from the processor, where the communications unit responds to the feedback instruction by transmitting a feedback parameter to the electronic device such that a graphical output is presented at the display in accordance with the change in flexure.”
In a nutshell, the iPad would control the paint flow in the image the user creates with the paintbrush by measuring the amount of flex in the bristles.
The patent also mentions how using haptic feedback could be used to provide different sensations from different types of tip such as pens, pencils or marker pens.
This addition would definitely be appreciated by artists, but there’s no way to tell yet if Apple actually plans to take the idea into mass production.