Apple Pencil could be joined by Apple Paintbrush

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Artists might prefer an Apple Paintbrush to an Apple Pencil.
Artists might prefer an Apple Paintbrush to an Apple Pencil.
Photo: Apple

The Apple Pencil is used for drawing and paining in an iPad, but Apple is considering an alternate version that’s a more literal interpretation of a paintbrush.


The company just received a patent for a “Stylus with multiple inputs.” In the extremely precise, stilted language of a patent filing, Apple said:

“This paper describes various embodiments related to a portable electronic device having flexible contact members. More specifically, each of the flexible contact members is capable of independently flexing relative to one another, and the touch sensitive device can generate a feedback response that is based on a change in flexure of the flexible contact members.”

In more colloquial terms, it’s an electronic paintbrush.

What’s wrong with the Apple Pencil?

As mentioned, artists have been using the Apple Pencil to paint on their tablet screen since the first version debuted in 2015. Before that, electronic styli have been used for this task for decades. Which raises the question, is an electronic paintbrush actually necessary?

Apple’s patent filing gives its reasons:

“Despite advancements in software to render the user’s inputs and commands more accurately at the touch screen, the touch screen is unable to fully render the user’s inputs due to limitations in the hardware of the electronic stylus. Accordingly, there is a need to improve upon the user’s multimedia experience by implementing flexible contact members at the electronic stylus.“

Just because the design of the Apple Paintbrush was patented doesn’t automatically indicate it will ever become an actual device. Companies regularly patent ideas that never turn into actual products.