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New patent suggests Apple is making a more powerful, trackpad-compatible Pencil

apple pencil trackpad compatible patent
Malarie Gokey/Digital Trends

While Apple continues to resist making the screens in its line of laptops and desktops touch-sensitive, it may be ready to give the Apple Pencil a life outside of the iPad Pro. A new patent application published Thursday aims to patent a concept for using a future version of the stylus with the company’s trackpads.

Of course, such a concept is nothing new. Graphic designers have used styluses with trackpads for close to three decades now. What seems to be different here is how advanced this future Apple Pencil may be.

Right now, the Pencil detects pressure and tilt. The version described in the patent does much more, and would be able to detect motion in six axes, and might also have use as a joystick or air mouse, meaning the Pencil wouldn’t necessarily need to be touching a surface in order to operate.

Related: Apple wants to make the Pencil more than a stylus

Apple has had its stylus in development for at least five years now, well before the Pencil first hit shelves. It was just recently awarded a patent for an upgrade to the stylus that would allow it to have sensors on either end, and interchangeable tips.

Here the company could be attempting to extend the market for the Pencil beyond the iPad Pro, which only makes up a small portion of Apple’s overall business. Also, given the Mac’s popularity among artists and graphic designers, an in-house solution makes a lot of sense.

We agree. In April, we selected the Apple Pencil as the best stylus available for artists, noting “the Pencil itself is one of the fastest, and most responsive styluses we have used, with essentially no latency.” Combined with Apple’s previous patent for new features in a future Pencil and the ability to work with a trackpad-like device, the company could have an even bigger winner on its hands.