New patents suggest Apple Pencil 3 could have an unusual VR use

The original Apple Pencil was not the first pen stylus, but it did bring in a number of new ideas that reshaped how we use and think about this kind of device, particularly for digital art on a tablet. Now two new patents suggest that the next Apple Pencil, let’s call it the Apple Pencil 3, will push things further and even suggest a VR use.

Looking at the new patents for the rumored Apple Pencil 3, I’m particularly excited to see that, from the looks of the first patent, the next-generation stylus may get haptic feedback – a first for the Apple Pencil, though Surface Pro 8’s Slim Pen 2 features the tech already.

Adding haptic feedback into Apple Pencil has been rumored since 2020, but this new update to the patents, in a section titled ‘Touch-based input device with haptic feedback’, appears more concrete.

This patent illustration shows how the new Apple Pencil could look, and teases a new finger sensor (Image credit: Apple)

The new patent details were unearthed by Patently Apple (opens in new tab). If they come to fruition, it could lead to new ways of using the new Apple Pencil. They came with updates to Apple’s VR / AR patents, and it’s incredibly exciting to connect the dots and imagine how haptic feedback in the new Apple Pencil could even lead to it being used as a virtual reality stylus – you’ll be able to write notes and paint digital art in VR and feel the response as you technically waft the Pencil around in thin air.

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