Skip to main content

Apple could integrate the Apple Pencil into future MacBooks

The Touch Bar is on its way out, an now new reports and concepts are pointing toward an interesting replacement for it: A slot for the Apple Pencil.

According to a new patent published earlier this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Apple is interested in the idea of the Touch Bar being replaced by a dock or case for Apple Pencil.

Imagined concept of the Apple Pencil dock in the MacBook Pro.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The patent shows the Apple Pencil housed in its dock and explains that it could “act as a mouse to move a cursor.” Even more interestingly, the patent describes the Apple Pencil as a feature that could replace the F-key row. This means it could host functional keys that you can interact with right on the side of the stylus.

The patent was initially spotted by Patently Apple, which includes the following statement: “The present invention relates to incorporating an Apple Pencil that is removably mounted to a MacBook keyboard. While the Pencil is in its retainer, it could act as a mouse to move a cursor. Uniquely, a high-end lighting system is built-into the retainer and the Apple Pencil wherein the Pencil can replace the top F-Key row with the functional key symbols illuminated on Apple Pencil with full functionality.”

The patent also would allow Apple to use the side or the bottom of the laptop’s body as possible locations for housing the stylus, as we’ve seen other laptops do.

It’s all interesting, though there’s a rather large elephant in the room. As of now, the Apple Pencil works exclusively with iPads. MacBooks famously don’t have touchscreens, meaning a lot would have to change for this to make sense.

Patents, of course, aren’t proof that Apple has actually developed any of these ideas into possible product designs.

A concept that shows drawing on the screen of a MacBook with an Apple Pencil.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Inspired by the patent, designer Sarang Sheth brought the imagined concept to life in some 3D images. The images show how the Apple Pencil could slot easily into the space where the function row used to be. Interestingly, these concepts also keep a smaller version of the Touch Bar for quick access to Siri and other useful apps.

The imagined concept of the new MacBook Pro looks very similar to the Microsoft Surface Pro X released in 2019, It features a Surface Slim Pen that is stored and charged in a built-in stylus dock that runs along the top deck of the laptop.

Editors' Recommendations

Dua Rashid
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Dua is a media studies graduate student at The New School. She has been hooked on technology since she was a kid and used to…
The first Copilot+ PC has been tested — and it destroys the MacBook
The Surface Laptop shown in front of a Copilot+ sign.

We've heard a lot about Microsoft's new Copilot+ PCs over the past few days, but we can finally put some hard data to the company's bold claims. Signal65, a benchmarking and analysis company, put the new Surface Laptop through its paces, and it absolutely wrecks the MacBook Air M3.

The laptop, equipped with a Snapdragon X Elite processor, put up impressive results across the board, but battery life stands out most. According to the report, the Surface Laptop lasted over 21 hours in a local video playback test. For reference, that's close to twice as long as the Surface Pro 9, and more than 15% longer than the MacBook Air M3.

Read more
The MacBook monopoly just got overturned
The Surface Laptop shown in front of a Copilot+ sign.

MacBooks have had a good ride.

It's been four years of running circles around Intel, AMD, Microsoft, and every laptop manufacturer with their Apple Silicon ARM chips. Until very recently, PC sales had been tanking too, all while Macs were holding steady.

Read more
This HP Victus gaming PC is over $500 off for a limited time
The HP Victus 15L gaming PC on a desk.

Gaming PC deals can be pretty exciting, especially if you’re not upgrading out of necessity. After all, overclocking can really push your machine to its limits, which could spell disaster for desktops that are less equipped for heavy-duty gameplay. This is why we’re always looking for great desktop computer deals, and we found one we thing most folks are going to love: 

For a limited time, the HP Victus 15L Gaming Desktop is on sale at HP. Normally, this powerful gaming PC costs $1,400, but you’ll be able to grab it for $830 (a $570 discount) while this deal lasts. 

Read more