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

Top Rated Comments

SamGabbay Avatar
14 months ago
Now that's freaking awesome.
Score: 49 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AngerDanger Avatar
14 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
14 months ago

can't wait to try it with a chameleon... ?
Error 404: Color Not Found
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
yaxomoxay Avatar
14 months ago
can't wait to try it with a chameleon... ?
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nfl46 Avatar
14 months ago
I gotta admit: that’s pretty cool.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Doctor Q Avatar
14 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)

Top Stories

REC ASA CODE2016 20160601 205816 2745

Elon Musk Reportedly Demanded to Become Apple CEO as Part of Potential Tesla Acquisition [Update: Musk Denies]

Friday July 30, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Tesla CEO Elon Musk reportedly once demanded that he be made Apple CEO in a brief discussion of a potential acquisition with Apple's current CEO, Tim Cook. The claim comes in a new book titled "Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk and the Bet of the Century," as reviewed by The Los Angeles Times. According to the book, during a 2016 phone call between Musk and Cook that touched on the possibility of ...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 13 to Bring Over a Major Feature From the Apple Watch

Wednesday July 28, 2021 2:21 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will feature an always-on display akin to the Apple Watch Series 5 and Series 6, according to recent reports. In his weekly Power On newsletter, Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman, who often reveals accurate insights into Apple's plans, said that the iPhone 13 may feature an Apple Watch-inspired always-on mode. The Apple Watch Series 5 and Apple Watch...
duracell battery bitter coating

Apple Says Don't Buy AirTag Replacement Batteries With Bitter Coating

Wednesday July 28, 2021 11:08 am PDT by
Since AirTags were just released earlier this year and are expected to have a year-long battery life, it may be some time yet before AirTag users need a replacement battery, but when the time comes for a refresh, Apple is warning customers not to buy batteries with a bitter coating. AirTags use coin-shaped CR2032 batteries, which happen to be a size that's easy to swallow. Some battery...
a15 chip

iPhone 13 and Redesigned MacBook Pro Chip Production Hit With Gas Contamination

Friday July 30, 2021 5:44 am PDT by
The most important TSMC factory that manufactures Apple's chips destined for next-generation iPhone and Mac models has been hit by a gas contamination, according to Nikkei Asia. The factory, known as "Fab 18," is TSMC's most advanced chipmaking facility. TSMC is Apple's sole chip supplier, making all of the processors used in every Apple device with a custom silicon chip. Industry...
apple rtp land

Apple Preparing to Occupy 200,000 Square Feet of Temporary Space Ahead of New $1 Billion North Carolina Campus

Thursday July 29, 2021 9:14 am PDT by
Back in April, Apple announced a $430 billion investment over the next five years to create more than 20,000 new jobs as the company continues to expand. One significant piece of that plan is a new engineering and research center in North Carolina where Apple will be investing over $1 billion and hiring at least 3,000 employees. Assemblage of seven properties in Research Triangle Park owned by ...
Apple Leak Feature

Apple Demands Leaker Reveals Sources Under Threat of Being Reported to Police

Wednesday July 28, 2021 6:53 am PDT by
Apple has sent a cease and desist letter to a leaker based in China as part of its continuing attempts to curtail leaks of unreleased products, according to Vice. A Chinese citizen who shared images of stolen Apple prototypes on social media was sent a warning letter from Fangda Partners, Apple's law firm in China, on June 18, 2021. An extract from the letter read:You have disclosed without ...
macos monterey tidbits feature copy

Apple Releases New macOS 12 Monterey Public Beta

Wednesday July 28, 2021 10:19 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the third public beta of the macOS 12 Monterey beta to public beta testers, allowing non-developers to test the new macOS Monterey software ahead of its public release. The third beta comes two weeks after Apple released the second macOS Monterey public beta. Public beta testers can download the macOS 12 Monterey update from the Software Update section of the System...
iOS 15 General Feature Purple

Apple Releases New Public Betas of iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, and tvOS 15

Wednesday July 28, 2021 10:16 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the third betas of iOS and iPadOS 15 to public beta testers, allowing non-developers to download and test the new updates ahead of their fall release. The third public betas come two weeks after Apple released the second public betas. Public beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing program can download the iOS and iPadOS 15 updates over the air after...
nothing ear 1 buds 1

Nothing 'Ear (1)' True Wireless Earbuds Launch to Take on AirPods Pro With ANC and Unusual Design for $99

Tuesday July 27, 2021 7:57 am PDT by
Nothing, a new brand from OnePlus founder Carl Pei, has today officially launched the "Ear (1)" true wireless earbuds after months of anticipation around the company's AirPods Pro rival. The Ear (1) features an in-ear design, Active Noise Cancelation, Bluetooth 5.2, IPX4 water resistance, and a charging case with Qi-compatible wireless charging and a USB-C port. Fast pairing is supported on...