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Apple investigating hide-able, attachable Apple Pencil storage loops

Apple is continuing to work on solving the problem of storing the Apple Pencil when it isn't required by the user, with a patent application published on Tuesday revealing designs for Pencil loops incorporated into iPad Pro cases and covers, keeping the stylus close at hand.

Published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and initially applied for in August 2015, the application for "Attachment features for an accessory device" describes multiple ways a loop could be incorporated into an accessories design. The loop could be positioned on both the case and the cover of an iPad Pro, kept off to one side so the Apple Pencil does not interfere with normal iPad usage when it is stowed away.

For cases the loop exists under the lip on one side, overhanging the lip when used to hold the Pencil. A recess inside the case allows for the loop to be folded inside, hiding it underneath the iPad Pro when not in use.

A second version for covers also includes the ability to hide the loop within the cover itself, with the loop able to be pulled out when required. Two rows of magnets inside the cover and at one end of the loop are used to hold the loop in place in its extended and 'hidden' states, so it won't suddenly retract when extended or extend itself out from the case without user intervention.

This magnetic system is also demonstrated with a hypothetical keyboard accessory, with a loop sticking out on one side, but including magnets within to hold the loop when retracted.

In order to retain the Apple Pencil within the loop, the application suggests it could use a "stretchable" material, allowing the loop to exert a retaining force on the accessory. The use of stretchable materials also means the loop could be used to hold larger items, allowing other stylus models to be stored in the mechanism.

The ability to store an Apple Pencil has been an issue for many users since the accessory's introduction in the fall of 2015, and third-party accessory producers have created their own ways to retain the Apple Pencil. One notable example is the Moxiware Apple Pencil Magnet, a sleeve that incorporates a magnet, allowing it to be attached to an iPad.

Rumors have suggested Apple is considering the addition of magnets to the "Apple Pencil 2," which would allow the stylus to stick to the iPad. While this would solve the storage problem for a refresh of the stylus, if it does occur, the latest patent application seems to be a solution that would work with the original Apple Pencil, as well as future and other stylus releases.