This ‘slide’ patent could change how you use the Apple Pencil

I’m a fan of the Apple Pencil, but I’ve always wanted it to do more. And it looks like that might be coming in the future… with a slide feature.

Long story short, Patently Apple spotted a, uh, Apple patent for a slide function on the Apple Pencil. Goddamn, that was a lot of “Apple” in a single sentence.

The idea behind the slide patent is quite simple.

You run a digit across the side of the Apple Pencil and that controls something on the iPad screen. The easiest way to understand the functionality of this is with line thickness. Imagine you’re drawing and you can change the dimensions of the brush you’re using by sliding your finger over the Apple Pencil.

Here’s an image of how the option menu could look from the patent filing:

Apple Pencil slide feature patent drawing settings menuApple Pencil slide feature patent drawing settings menu

As you can see, you’d have a decision of things you could do when you caress your finger over the Apple Pencil.

Here’s another image of showing roughly how the slide feature on the Apple Pencil may work in reality:

Apple Pencil slide feature function line drawingsApple Pencil slide feature function line drawings
This may be confusing at first, but what you’re seeing are two lines of different thicknesses, each altered by using the slide function.

This won’t be the first time that Apple has added more functionality to its Pencil.

The second generation of the hardware introduced a Double Tap feature. Generally, this has been used to do things like switch between tools, a pencil and an eraser, for example.

Genuinely, I really hope this patent for the slide feature sees the light of day, as the Apple Pencil is crying out for more functionality.

While I’ve found it fantastic for doodling away, I’ve consistently wished I could do a bit more with it and my iPad. This has been improved in recent years with the introduction of features like Scribble and the aforementioned Double Tap feature, but there’s far more potential there.

It’d be amazing if the Apple Pencil becomes a more complete tool for interacting with the iPad — something this slide function could help with. Just think of scrolling webpages, or zooming on documents using the new feature.

Over time, it’d be great to see the Apple Pencil evolve into more than, well, a pencil. Instead, it should become akin to a mouse for the iPad; a device that allows users to interact with the tablet in a different way.

Of course, Apple files a lot of patents and there’s no guarantee that this one will ever see the light of day, but a slide feature on the Apple Pencil would be great, wouldn’t it?

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