Apple has reportedly applied for a renewed patent that provides support for an Apple Pencil mounted above the MacBook keyboard. The claims include the ability to magnetically hold or secure the pencil when placed in the storage area and use the pencil as function keys while housed in the chassis. The patent, which the company first applied for last year, proposes the Pencil as a replacement for the row of function keys. There is no word from Apple about plans to include the technology in upcoming MacBook models.

According to a report from Patently Apple, the Cupertino giant has added 20 new patent claims to the invention, as part of follow-up patent number 20220171474. The patent explains that the input tool can be stored in a recess of the keyboard case or chassis, and that the application has a is a continuation of Apple’s 2020 patent application for a “Mountable tool computer input”.

apple macbook pencil patent 20220171474 patentlyapple apple macbook apple pencil

Apple’s patent application suggests the compant could use the Pencil as an input aid when housed in the chassis
Photo credit: Clearly Apple

With the newly filed patent application, Apple has illustrated a system where the Apple Pencil can be stored in a holder or along the chassis of the MacBook. While the company’s latest 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models have ditched the Touch Bar in favor of function keys, the application says the holder can support a high-quality lighting system so that the Pencil can replace the function. key row on the MacBook.

In its patent application, the Cupertino company envisions an input tool whose rotation can be measured and tracked as user input. For example, if you rotate the input tool (such as an Apple Pencil), you can perform actions such as scrolling, zooming, or resizing. This is shown in the third figure in Apple’s application. Meanwhile, Figure 11 suggests that the Apple Pencil can be illuminated when placed in the recess to display function keys, system function buttons, application settings and more.

While Apple is releasing touchscreen tablets with Apple Pencil support, there’s no word on whether the Cupertino company will actually add touchscreen or Apple Pencil support to the MacBook. As is the case with many patents filed by companies like Google and Apple, there’s no guarantee that the stylus-focused input design will make its way to Apple’s MacBook models in the future.


This week on Orbital we discuss the Gadgets 360 podcast, iPhone 13, new iPad and iPad mini and Apple Watch Series 7 – and what they mean for the Indian market. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts from.