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Apple Pencil 3: Everything We Know So Far

A roundup about Apple Pencil 3 and all that we know through patents, reports, and more.

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Apple Pencil

The Apple Pencil has been a major success, providing accuracy and convenience for those who use their iPad for art, graphic design, or as a pricey notebook. Although the Apple Pencil has gained popularity, it has been almost five years since the release of the 2nd generation Apple Pencil. Despite the numerous iPad generations that have been introduced since then, there has been no new version of the Apple Pencil to enhance sketching capabilities. While we’re happy to see the iPad lineup expanding, we’re left wondering when the third generation Apple Pencil or Apple Pencil 3 will be released.

In this roundup, we will gather the rumors surrounding the Apple Pencil 3 and explore all the features that we can expect.

Apple Pencil 3 Rumored Design and Features

Undoubtedly, you’re curious about the new features and design of the upcoming Apple Pencil. Although there haven’t been many leaks regarding the device, there have been a few.

Black Pencil and Glossy Finish

There is a popular rumor that the upcoming Apple Pencil (Gen 3) may come in a black color option, breaking away from the traditional white design. Many believe this rumor to be true due to a tweet by a leaker known as Mr. White, who frequently shares images related to Apple products.

Apple Pencil 3 Black

A picture was shared on Twitter by Mr. White, supposedly showcasing the third generation of Apple Pencil. From the image, it seems that the new Apple Pencil will have a glossy finish instead of a matte one. Additionally, a brief clip has been circulating on Twitter, displaying the alleged new Apple Pencil with a shiny appearance similar to the first generation. However, the flat side of the pencil is reminiscent of the second-generation Apple Pencil.

Touch Bar and Zoom Control

A potentially exciting new feature for the stylus is a display similar to the Touch Bar, located on its side. While the diagram on Patently Apple’s website shows small windows, it’s possible that contextual options could provide additional device functionality. The image also suggests that the Pencil may have Force Touch capabilities, which could further enhance its features.

Additional patents are showing a new Pencil that can detect orientation and movements. A twist motion can act as a trigger for a command. This suggests a zoom control built into the Pencil, which would interest artists who want to work on fine details and then zoom out to see the bigger image.

Haptic feedback and AR/VR features

Reports suggest that the new model may come with haptic feedback as a new feature. A recent patent indicates that the Pencil could vibrate in response to data fed by an iPad or iPhone. This would give users the sensation of writing on paper or other textures, making the experience more authentic for those who prefer traditional materials. While it remains to be seen how useful this feature will be, it certainly has the potential to enhance the drawing or writing experience.

Haptic feedback Apple Pencil 3

It has been previously reported that Apple has patented a unique concept for a Pencil that would allow users to write in the air. Although this may seem like an unconventional idea, it has the potential to become a captivating new way to engage with digital images and data when paired with VR or AR software.

Enhanced Find My functionality

Apple’s products and accessories can be located through Find My capabilities, including the Apple Pencil – a digital stylus for iPad that is popular among artists, note-takers, and document editors. However, it’s easy to misplace or lose without a magnetic attachment or a case to store it, and it doesn’t have Find My capabilities. Fortunately, a new patent suggests that Apple is developing a feature for the Apple Pencil 3 that will allow it to be located easily.

According to a patent discovered by PatentlyApple, the Apple Pencil 3 may use acoustic signaling to assist in locating it. This method involves using sound waves to communicate between devices. The patent suggests that the Apple Pencil 3 could emit a sound that is undetectable to humans but can be picked up by an iPad or iPhone. Your iPhone would then guide you to the misplaced Apple Pencil, similar to how it tracks AirTags.

Apple’s Find My app can locate a variety of devices and accessories, such as AirPods, AirTags, and iPhones. These products use Bluetooth or ultra-wideband (UWB) technology to communicate with each other and display their location on a map. Due to size limitations, Apple likely decided against using Bluetooth or UWB for the Apple Pencil in Find My. These technologies require batteries and antennas, which may not fit inside the slim stylus body.

PatentlyApple also suggests that acoustic signals for locating an Apple Pencil can only work within a limited range of frequencies, specifically between 1-20 kHz. While this method may work if the pencil is misplaced inside your home, it is not useful if it is lost outdoors and far from your current location. It’s important to note that this information is based on a patent, and it’s uncertain whether this feature will be included in the next Apple Pencil. Additionally, there is currently no information on when the Apple Pencil 3 will be released.

AirPod style buttons

A patent has shown that the housing of a device has a “deformable user grip region”, which can be squeezed to change functions. This is similar to the AirPods Pro 2, where the stem can be squeezed to activate noise-canceling features. The section can also be touch-sensitive, allowing users to adjust brush sizes or zoom levels by dragging their finger up the edge of the device.

Color tapping tip for sampling

A recently discovered patent hints at an exciting potential feature for artists looking to enhance their creativity. The patent describes a light sensor and light emitter, similar to a camera and processing unit, that could be integrated into the Apple Pencil 3. With this technology, users would be able to sample colors and textures from the environment around them to gain inspiration. For example, if an artist wanted to replicate a nearby wood grain pattern and tone, they could place the Pencil near it to capture the details. This functionality is reminiscent of dedicated devices such as the Nix Mini 3 Color Sensor.

Rotating ‘Digital Crown’ 

There’s a rumor going around that Apple might be adding a new feature to their devices. According to a recent patent, they could be exploring the idea of a rotating controller similar to the Apple Watch’s Digital Crown. This could make it easier for users to navigate menus and quickly change brush types or colors. Check out the render video above by artist Sarang Sheth for a visual example.

Interchangeable nibs 

Apple Pencil 3 Interchangeable nibs

People who frequently use Apple Pencils are likely aware that the stylus nibs wear out and require replacement after a certain period. A patent that was released in 2017 indicates that Apple may be considering providing interchangeable nibs that cater to various purposes and requirements. This could include a range of colors, shapes, thicknesses, and even the ability to mimic the different levels of hardness found in traditional pencils, all tailored to specific situations. It would undoubtedly be a prime opportunity for Apple to market accessories for their accessories.

VR controller and 3D object creation

After a series of speculation, Apple debuted in the VR space with Vision Pro. Interestingly, Apple has also filed a patent for the use of their upcoming Apple Pencil 3 as a VR controller. This would involve sensors in both the Pencil and headset working together to track the stylus in 3D space, which could then be used to control virtual reality applications. With the rising popularity of VR art, this could provide a highly accurate control method for artists and other professionals.

Apple Pencil 3 VR controller

3D artists who use the Apple Pencil may find this patent intriguing. Apple World Today discovered a patent from 2020, which explains how future Apple Pencils could comprehend depth in 3D space. This would allow the device to create coordinates for real-world objects before transforming them into three-dimensional models in various applications. Acceleration and contact could be used to calculate the positioning data. This concept could work hand in hand with the sensors that are used for color and texture sampling, as mentioned previously.

Apple Pencil 3 Expected Release Data and Pricing

There is a lot of evidence indicating that Apple is developing a 3rd generation Apple Pencil. However, leaks and rumors suggest that a launch is not imminent. It’s possible that we may have to wait until the release of M3-equipped iPad Pro tablets, which are expected in Q3 of 2023. There are also rumors about Apple VR, but no launch date has been confirmed. We are hopeful that something will be announced by the end of 2023. A more conservative estimate for the release of the Apple Pencil 3 would be in the following year, perhaps at WWDC 2024.

The original Apple Pencil had a price tag of £89/$99, but the 2nd generation model increased to £119/$129. With the potential inclusion of touch panels and displays in the 3rd generation, it’s possible that the price could go even higher – potentially upwards of £149/$159. However, there may be a price reduction for older models. It’s worth noting that Apple has previously charged high prices for accessories like the iPad Pro Magic Keyboard. We’ll keep you updated on any new information about the upcoming Apple Pencil 3.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Don E.

    August 8, 2023 at 4:50 pm

    What I’d like to see most is that if the pencil ever gets more than 3 feet away from the tablet, both the pencil and the tablet start chiming to alert you. The magnets aren’t QUITE strong enough to prent all dislodges, and I lost one going through a Costa Rica airport at security, and then realizing too far away that it was gone. When I returned, it was obviously no longer around.

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