Apple Pencil for Vision Pro might be in development


Apple Pencil for Vision Pro might be in development
Vision Pro users could someday grab an Apple Pencil for fine drawing.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

A version of Apple Pencil stylus that can be used with the Vision Pro AR headset is in testing, according to an unconfirmed report.

And there’s proof that Apple is at least considering the idea — it filed for a patent on methods of using a stylus to create virtual objects while wearing a headset.

Apple Pencil for Vision Pro seems like a real thing

Vision Pro doesn’t need wearers to hold controllers — it directly tracks hand gestures with an array of cameras, allowing users to move virtual windows and even type on a virtual keyboard.

But many artists like a stylus, and would prefer to have one if it offers fine control of what’s being created. That carries through to 3D objects being made while wearing Apple augmented-reality headset.

A recent leak from MacRumors indicated that Apple is testing a prototype Apple Pencil that supports Vision Pro. “No specific details are known about this project, but one possibility is that users would be able to draw with the Apple Pencil on a desk or another flat surface, and the drawing would appear in the open visionOS app,” said the report.

The patent filing Methods for Generating Virtual Objects and Sound (PDF) shows there can be no doubt that such a device is being investigated by the Mac-maker. It covers “electronic devices such as computer systems that are used for generating virtual objects based on input from an input device, movement of the input device, translation of the movement of the input device to movement of a virtual pointer.”

Methods for Generating Virtual Objects and Sound -- Vision Pro and Apple Pencil
That stylus working with virtual objects could be an Apple Pencil.
Drawing: Apple

Drawings submitted with the documentation show a physical stylus being used to work with a virtual image.

Before that there was a patent filing from Apple engineers for Handheld Controllers With Charging And Storage Systems (PDF). One of the associated drawings includes an Apple Pencil-like device.

Coming soon, perhaps

Prototypes and patent filings aren’t guarantees that stylus support is coming to Vision Pro. But they show there’s a real possibility.

Multiple leaks indicate that a replacement for Apple Pencil 2 is imminent along with new iPad models. Perhaps it’ll come with visionOS support, and not be limited to working with iPadOS.

And WWDC24 in June will almost certainly include the unveiling of visionOS 2.0. Stylus support might be a standout feature of the upcoming version.


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