You never have a pen to hand when you need one, right? The second generation Apple Pencil helped ease this annoyance by including a magnetic charging connection to your iPad, but it’s still all too easy to lose Apple’s stylus.
A next-generation Apple Pencil 3 device might have a solution for this, however. A newly uncovered patent describes how Apple may have found a way to include Find My functionality into its digital pen. But rather than using the same ultra-wideband U1 chips that power Find My features in other portable devices like AirTags and AirPods, Apple is considering a different approach.
It’s thinking about making your Apple Pencil heard when it can’t be seen.
Before you start envisioning an Apple Pencil with its own ringtone, that’s not quite what Apple potentially has in mind.
According to the patent spotted by Patently Apple, the idea is to use acoustic signalling in the Apple Pencil. In a move sure to raise eyebrows among dog lovers, it suggests that rather than making chimes and rings, the Pencil would emit a sound that your iPad or iPhone could hear, even if your human ears can’t.
The Apple Pencil itself could house acoustic resonators in the end of its shaft, with the casing milled to varying thicknesses to aid different resonances, and even have ventilation to account for changes in air pressure when the feature is activated.
Of course, the drawback here is that the Pencil would have to be in the vicinity of your iPad or iPhone in order to locate it — so if you’d dropped it somewhere on the way between that coffee shop stop and home, you’re a bit screwed. But considering it’s most likely to be down the side of the sofa cushions, even this little helping hand could make all the difference between throwing your hands up in frustration and buying another $130 dollar pen.
As ever, a patent filing is not an indication of a product in production, but instead the protection of ideas from Apple’s greatest minds. But with the Apple Pencil 3 in need of a killer feature should it ever replace the current model, small conveniences like this would all add up.
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Gerald Lynch is the Editor-in-Chief of iMore, keeping careful watch over the site's editorial output and commercial campaigns, ensuring iMore delivers the in-depth, accurate and timely Apple content its readership deservedly expects. You'll never see him without his iPad Pro, and he loves gaming sessions with his buddies via Apple Arcade on his iPhone 14 Pro, but don't expect him to play with you at home unless your Apple TV is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system.
Living in London in the UK, Gerald was previously Editor of Gizmodo UK, and Executive Editor of TechRadar, and has covered international trade shows including Apple's WWDC, MWC, CES and IFA. If it has an acronym and an app, he's probably been there, on the front lines reporting on the latest tech innovations. Gerald is also a contributing tech pundit for BBC Radio and has written for various other publications, including T3 magazine, GamesRadar, Space.com, Real Homes, MacFormat, music bible DIY, Tech Digest, TopTenReviews, Mirror.co.uk, Brandish, Kotaku, Shiny Shiny and Lifehacker. Gerald is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press, and also holds a Guinness world record on Tetris. For real.