We’ve all lost pens and pencils at some point. It’s annoying when it happens, but they’re easy to replace, so you don’t have to think twice about it. But losing an Apple Pencil? That’s real pain. Not only is it a specialized, unique tool, it is also precious.
A recent patent filing from Apple hopes to save users from that annoyance. Apple reports on US patent 20230161545, which describes how to use acoustic resonators in the Apple Pencil so that it can alert a user to its location.
Finding a lost Pencil can work the same way a user can use Find My to locate a misplaced iPhone, iPad, or Mac. The user launches the Find My app and goes to the Devices section, and Bluetooth (which is what the Pencil uses to connect to an iPad) would be used to sense its proximity. The user can then click the pencil in Find My’s map and have it play a sound and vibrate.
Because the Pencil’s design doesn’t allow for a speaker, Apple developed the use of acoustic resonators. According to the patent, the resonators would be located at the top of the pencil, under the cap that houses the haptic module. “The drive signal generated by the haptic module can be transferred to the acoustic resonators through a path of material that mechanically couples the acoustic resonators to the haptic module.”
Apple currently has two versions of the Pencil available, and both the original Pencil and the 2nd generation Pencil have no ability to transmit sound. By the looks of Apple’s patent, there’s no way to add such a feature to those pencils in software. It requires new hardware and would be part of a brand new pencil the company would release in the future.