Apple wins patent on tech hinting at Apple Pencil use for Mac

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Apple on Tuesday won the U.S. patent rights to a stylus concept that could pave the way for using an Apple Pencil with Macs, whether on Force Touch trackpads or otherwise.

The patent, seen by AppleInsider, describes a more complex device than the current Pencil, able to work not just on trackpads but in mid-air as a motion-sensitive "air mouse." It might also support rotation commands, or operating as a joystick.

Apple's filing also makes many references to using a stylus with a touchscreen though, and indeed seems to be more connected to work on the Pencil for the iPad Pro. Although the patent application was first published in May 2016, it was actually submitted Nov. 14, 2014. The Pencil and 12.9-inch iPad Pro shipped on Nov. 11 the following year.

Apple is unlikely to actually develop a stylus specifically for Macs, though it could make the Pencil compatible if it gave Macs an easy way of pairing. There are already many third-party styli available for Macs, and keyboards, mice, and trackpads are more generally useful. This fall's macOS Sierra will introduce Siri voice commands.


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