Someday, you might be able to pull a color out of the real world just by touching your Apple Pencil to it. Apple patented a version of its iPad stylus with color sensors in the tip.
The device would be a real boon to artists who paint on an iPad.
Patent: Match any color with an Apple Pencil
Conveniently small color-matching sensors already exist, allowing users to pull the exact shade of color from almost any surface. Apple is considering build one into a stylus.
Recently, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted the Mac-maker a patent for “Electronic Device With Optical Sensor For Sampling Surfaces” (20220413636). The description in the patient filing says, in the stilted language typical of such filings:
“A device such as a stylus may have a color sensor. The color sensor may have a color sensing light detector having a plurality of photodetectors each of which measures light for a different respective color channel. The color sensor may also have a light emitter. The light emitter may have an adjustable light spectrum.”
Images in Apple’s filing show a stylus with a pair of small sensors near the tip.
Very useful addition
To understand the benefits of an Apple Pencil with color-matching sensors, consider an artist making a painting of a vase of flowers. Matching the color of the vase would only require touching the stylus to the vase. The same goes for the flowers and any other surfaces.
Or a contractor could easily transfer cabinet and countertop colors into their iPad when designing a kitchen or bathroom.
Whether Apple plans to take the next step and make one itself is anyone’s guess. Company engineers frequently patent designs that are never seen again. For example, it patented an iPhone game controller in March 2022 and nothing has happened with it since.
Source: Patently Apple