Apple has filed a new patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office this week that could soon see Apple Pencil sample colors from the real world. The patent outlines a computer stylus that "may have a color sensor."
This sensor would have photodetectors that can measure light from different color channels. This would allow it to sample a color from a real-world object and recreate it. Apple further added that the color sensor functionality could be located at the tip of the stylus or coupled to the tip through a light guide.
"The color sensor may have a plurality of photodetectors each of which measures light for a different respective color channel. The color sensor may also have one or more light-emitting devices. The control circuitry may use the light-emitting devices to illuminate an external object while using the photodetectors to measure reflected light to determine the color of the external object," reads the patent.
This technology would allow people to simply point the Apple Pencil tip onto any object whose color they liked and see the color transferred to a color palette in a drawing program, where the color could be assigned to a brush. Wow!
Apple also claims that the color sensor could be used for other purposes such as calibrating displays and printers and making health-related measurements. If it sounds too far fetched to be true, it should be noted that such optical sensors already exist.
Apple can already sample colors from a computer so why not the real world? Still, it should be noted that Apple files many patents for products that never see the light of day.
Currently, Apple hasn't released any statement on real-world color sampling, so it's safe to assume that at least for now, it is not happening. But who knows what the future holds.