Future Apple Pencil Could Have Sensor to Sample Colors From the Real World

Apple is exploring new Apple Pencil technology that could allow the device to sample colors from the real world to use in digital art, drawings, edits, and more, according to an Apple patent application published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office this week.

Apple Pencil Color Picker
Titled "Computer System With Color Sampling Stylus," the patent describes a computer stylus that "may have a color sensor."

The color sensor would be equipped with several photodetectors able to measure light for different color channels, which would let it detect and sample a color from a real world object, like a flower.

The stylus could also be equipped with a light to make it easier for the photodetectors to accurately determine a color, and the rest of the patent describes an Apple Pencil-like design with an elongated body, a tip, and an opposing end, with the tip able to work with a touch-sensitive display.

Apple says the color sensor functionality could be located at the end of the stylus, at the tip, or coupled to the tip through a light guide.

applepatentcolorsensor
With this kind of technology, ‌Apple Pencil‌ users would be able to do something like hold the ‌Apple Pencil‌ against an object in the real world, with the ‌Apple Pencil‌ reading the color. It could be used for photorealistic paintings or just sampling of unique colors from grass, plants, existing art, and so much more.

According to the patent, the stylus would detect the color and then put it in a color palette in a drawing program, where the color could be assigned to a brush. Apple also suggests that color sensor could perhaps be used for other purposes such as calibrating displays, calibrating printers, making health-related measurements, and identifying paint colors for home projects, which would make the ‌Apple Pencil‌ even more versatile.

Optical color sensors like this already exist and have been used in various ways. In fact, we've tested a simple, rudimentary optical color sensor in the Sphero Specdrums, a product meant to turn color into sound. This product includes a little finger ring that can be tapped against real world objects to make sounds based on the color it senses, but Apple's implementation would presumably be much more precise.

Apple patents all kinds of different technologies, some of which seem plausible to implement and others that are quite fantastical. There's never any guarantee that Apple's patents will be used for real products, and in fact, most patents are for technologies that never get released.

For that reason, there's no word on whether Apple actually plans to add a color sensor to the ‌Apple Pencil‌, or if this is simply an idea that's never going to make it out of the possibilities phase.

Related Forum: iPad Accessories

Popular Stories

new best buy blue

Best Buy's Memorial Day Sale Has Record Low Prices on iPads, MacBooks, and Much More

Friday May 24, 2024 7:12 am PDT by
Best Buy today kicked off its Memorial Day weekend sale, and it has some of the best prices we've tracked in weeks on iPads and MacBooks. Specifically, you'll find record low prices on the 5th generation iPad Air, iPad mini 6, M2 MacBook Air, and M3 MacBook Pro. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Best Buy. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment,...
macOS 15 Feature

macOS 15 System Settings to Get Design Overhaul

Thursday May 23, 2024 12:51 pm PDT by
With the macOS 15 update that is set to debut at WWDC in June, Apple plans to rearrange "menus and app UIs," according to a report from AppleInsider. The System Settings app, which was last updated with macOS Ventura, will get one of the biggest updates. With macOS Ventura, Apple renamed the System Preferences app to System Settings, introducing a design similar to the Settings app on the...
6chatgpt mac app

5 Reasons to Use OpenAI's ChatGPT App for Mac

Thursday May 23, 2024 6:07 am PDT by
On May 13, OpenAI during its Spring Update announced that it would be releasing a desktop ChatGPT app for the Mac in the "coming weeks," and said that ahead of a wider launch it had started rolling out the app to some ChatGPT Plus subscribers. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. After testing the app for a few days, we thought it was worth sharing some reasons why...
iOS 17

Apple Sheds More Light on iOS 17.5 Bug That Resurfaced Deleted Photos

Friday May 24, 2024 2:36 am PDT by
Last week, some iPhone users reported that Apple's iOS 17.5 update had introduced a bug that caused old photos that were deleted to reappear in the Photos app. Apple quickly released an iOS 17.5.1 update to fix the issue, but for many users, its explanation of "database corruption" in the release notes was all too brief, and did little to allay concerns about the privacy of their data. Apple ...

Top Rated Comments

SamGabbay Avatar
50 months ago
Now that's freaking awesome.
Score: 49 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AngerDanger Avatar
50 months ago

can't wait to try it with a chameleon... ?
I can do you one better, mate…



Attachment Image
Score: 48 Votes (Like | Disagree)
UltimateSyn Avatar
50 months ago

can't wait to try it with a chameleon... ?
Error 404: Color Not Found
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
yaxomoxay Avatar
50 months ago
can't wait to try it with a chameleon... ?
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nfl46 Avatar
50 months ago
I gotta admit: that’s pretty cool.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Doctor Q Avatar
50 months ago
This feature could be especially helpful for color blind users like me. Since I can't identify most colors visually, I do a lot sampling/copying/pasting of colors, or looking them up and specifying them by their RGB values. Being able to grab a color and digitize it physically would be super useful.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)