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New patent suggests the Apple Pencil could become much more than a stylus

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Malarie Gokey/Digital Trends

The Apple Pencil has become one of the most compelling reasons why most would consider the iPad Pro. While the stylus is pretty impressive in and of itself, in true Apple fashion, the company doesn’t plan to stop there.

Related: See here for the Apple Pencil

In a new patent awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Apple plans to create a similar device complete with sensors and advanced algorithms to detect more than just pressure and tilt. Instead, the new “intelligent stylus” as it’s billed allows the nibs to be replaced, allowing the user to recreate various tool types, like a brush, a pen, and whatnot.

Even more exciting is one of the tips, which combines the technological advancements of the Apple Pencil with a traditional one. From a review of the patent, it appears the new intelligent stylus in this case would be usable as a traditional writing tool, but would also be able to digitize that writing, much like LiveScribe already does.

Apple also appears set to give the other end of the Apple Pencil some type of usefulness, apparently including sensors to make it function as an eraser. There were rumors that Apple had planned to include a similar feature in the first iteration, but it did not make it to the production device.

Currently, Apple Pencil has no way to tell one from the other on a single iPad. That might cause a problem in collaboration, so in the patent the new stylus actually carries a unique identification code that the iDevice would be able to detect. It also adds a Touch ID sensor of sorts, preventing unauthorized use.

Of course, the awarding of a patent doesn’t necessarily guarantee that the technologies shown within will make it to a real-world product. That said, with such broad praise for the Apple Pencil, pressure is certainly on the company to improve on an already solid product.

It might take a while: Its early success resulted in widespread supply shortages, and most retail locations are only now catching up with demand.