A patent reveals that a future version of Apple Pencil may be able to select colors from the real world, a feature geared towards illustrators or artists.

The patent application, presented to the United States Patent and Trademark Office in November but just published earlier this week, covers a “color sensor” with photodetectors, which will measure the light reflected by objects to determine their colors. The stylus can also be equipped with its own light source to help sensors detect the colors of objects.

The sensor can be positioned on the tip, coupled with a light guide, or on the opposite end of the Apple Pencil, with the function activated when the stylus is positioned in a certain orientation, for example upside down.

The technology will allow Apple Pencil owners to bring the stylus closer to a real-world object, such as fabrics or flowers, which will then be detected by the sensor and inserted into a color palette in a drawing program. The color can then be assigned to the program functions, for example for lines and text.

The Apple patent, however, does not limit the application of technology to the art. The sensor can also be used to measure colors for the purpose of calibrating displays and printers, making health-related measurements and identifying colors for paint and cosmetics, among other things.

The patent application does not mean that the function will surely arrive in an upcoming version of Apple Pencil, but it does mean that Apple, at least, is exploring a color sampling sensor for the stylus. Digital Trends has contacted Apple to try to get more information on the technology and we will update this article as soon as we have news.

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