Apple patent reveals a new type of Pencil with replaceable nibs for different creative applications

Watch out, Wacom and Adobe! In a new patent granted to Apple by the US Patent and Trademark Office, the company is reportedly looking at a next-generation Apple Pencil with swappable nib modules. While the patent doesn’t exclusively outline what these nibs would look like or be used for, it focuses more on the underlying technology, which would allow nibs to connect to the pencil handle via a special lightning-style connector.

The Apple Pencil is arguably the iPad Pro‘s secret sauce. Along with the Pencil, the iPad Pro becomes the ultimate creator’s setup (for both 2D as well as 3D creation). It would therefore make sense to explore how the Pencil could further become a ‘power-user’ tool, allowing creators to unlock new potentials. Yanko Design has imagined what these new nibs could look like, with explorations for more niche 2D uses. The interchangeable nibs include a fine-tip nib, a chisel nib, and a flexible brush-pen nib. Other nib styles could unlock 3D modeling features like being able to sculpt on the iPad.

While the current Apple Pencil has features like tilt recognition and pressure sensitivity, allowing it to function as any sort of drawing tool, the presence of a specialized nib helps seamlessly replicate the tactile experience of, say, drawing with a brush pen or a chisel marker. Moreover, the ability to replace nibs essentially increases the lifespan of the Pencil by allowing you to replace nibs when they wear down after constant use. “The filing suggests the nib could contain several different sensors for varying purposes. The component list includes tactile sensors, contact sensors, capacitive and touch sensors, a camera, a piezoelectric sensor, a pressure sensor, or a photodiode”, reports Apple Insider.

Designer/Visualizer: Sarang Sheth

Patent via: USPTO

Xiaomi patents indicate they are working on a smartphone with a sliding display

It seems like flexible displays have finally found their place in the smartphone world. Folding phones haven’t been their best application (because folding screens leave a crease behind, and result in thicker phones), but sliding/rolling displays seem to be an interesting approach that allows phones to have larger screens in smaller, thinner bodies. LG, Oppo, and TCL have all indicated they’re working on smartphones with rollable scroll-inspired displays, and according to a new patent discovered by LetsGoDigital, Xiaomi seems to be working on a rollable display smartphone too.

The conceptual Xiaomi phone uses the sliding mechanism and flexible display to its advantage. The design comes with virtually no bezel on the front, and the display cascades off the base (like a waterfall), transitioning to the back and turning into a secondary display that works with the main camera. Upon command (either through a voice command or a tap on the screen), the front of the phone slides downwards and reveals the front-facing camera setup on the top. It includes the selfie camera, as well as an ambient light sensor, a distance sensor, and a dot projector. The receiver is also hidden behind the slider display.

This dual-screen dual-camera opens the Xiaomi slider concept up to quite a few use-cases. The larger screen on the front can be used for selfies, facial-unlock, and even video conferencing, while the smaller screen on the back can act as a viewfinder for more elaborate group photos, videos, etc. For visualization purposes, the sliding concept contains the quad-camera module from the Mi10 Pro.

Designer/Visualizer: Sarang Sheth in partnership with LetsGoDigital

This concept was first published on LetsGoDigital. Click here to view the original piece.

Gifts for Designers: Apple’s patents, turned into graphic posters that you can hang on your wall!

As someone who knows a bunch of designers, I’ll attest to the fact that it’s mighty hard finding a creative gift for someone who’s entire job revolves around creativity. Buy them something and there’s a sizeable chance that either they already own it or don’t like it. It’s rare to find something they’ve never seen before… something that takes them by surprise and delight, but you’re in a fair bit of luck if you’re reading this and looking for something to gift a designer friend, relative, colleague, or the person you got in the Secret Santa sweepstakes at work.

Retro Patents’ graphical posters literally put design history on your walls. Taking graphical representations and diagrams from actual patent files available at the US Patent and Trademark Office, Retro Patents turns them into posters you can hang on your wall. Their catalog spans a bunch of products and services, but we have our eye on three of the most recognizable products of our time… the original iPhone, iPod, and the Macintosh computer which put Apple on the map. All three posters feature the patent images taken directly from the open-source files, complete with the patent number, application name, and the holder of the patent. The posters are printed using Epson UltraChrome water based HDR ink-jet technology on Ultra Premium Luster Photo Paper for the finest results, before being framed and shipped.

Designer: Retro Patents

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Samsung is rumored to be working on a dual-hinge folding Galaxy smartphone with a sliding keyboard!

Based on a patent filed in mid-2018 at the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), which was uncovered only recently by the fine folks at LetsGoDigital, Samsung is reported to be working on a folding smartphone with a dual-hinge and a slide-out keyboard that bridges the gap between phone and laptop, but most importantly, fulfills the ‘Z’ element of the Z Fold product-line. LetsGoDigital has christened this the Galaxy Z Fold 3, and here’s what visualizations of the rumored product look like! Scroll down for a detailed look.

It’s safe to say that Samsung would eventually stumble across a dual-hinge folding phone. They’ve experimented with single-hinge phones in both vertical and horizontal formats, and it’s only natural that the company would make one with an even larger screen and with two hinges to rival Xiaomi’s efforts in this department. Meet the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 concept… It actually folds in the shape of the letter Z, and comes with one singular screen that cascades from the inside to the out, unlike previous folding models that had a dedicated external display and a folding internal one. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 works out the hinges in a way that allows you to use only the outer part of the display when in closed-mode, and the entire screen when completely opened.

When opened, the dual-hinge format gives the smartphone multiple ways to orient it. You could potentially open it out completely, turning it into a tablet, or use it in one of many shapes, allowing the phone’s flexible body to work as a stand. The most standout feature of this concept is its ability to be used as a real laptop. While earlier iterations of the Galaxy Fold phones explored the potential laptop format, none are as convenient as the Galaxy Z Fold 3, which comes with its own dedicated slide-out keyboard.

The two images below show the two different orientations for the Galaxy Z Fold 3 to be used in laptop mode. Version 1 gives you a compact device with the slide-out keyboard, and the ability to use the hole-punch front-facing camera for video-calls, while version 2 opens out into a more expansive device, allowing you to access two separate screens for multitasking. One part of the screen faces away from you, giving you the potential to even present to a client.

While the dual-hinge 3-part flexible OLED display is clearly the Galaxy Z Fold 3’s most defining feature, the slide-out keyboard really gives it meaning. Just like the Galaxy Note series comes with a stylus that clearly outlines what the product is meant to be used for, the slide-out keyboard on the Galaxy Z Fold 3 helps it bridge the gap between phone and laptop. There’s no clear information in the patent as to whether the keyboard is a dynamic display or a static one, so the concept opts for the latter, but comes outfitted with everything you’d need to get work done, from a full QWERTY keyboard to a Numpad, and even a voice-command button that lets you dictate to the phone when you don’t want to type.

The phone’s dual-hinge, three-part setup definitely results in an overall device that’s on the thicker side, but it still tries to stay within an inch in thickness, making it relatively pocket-friendly and roughly as thick as most bifold wallets. Where it lacks in sleekness, it makes up for in functionality by being your all-in-one smartphone/tablet/laptop hybrid. Like every Galaxy phone, the Z Fold 3 too sports a USB-C charging hub, and we wouldn’t be surprised if this phone was 5G capable too. A single front-facing camera sits on the screen in the hole-punch format, while the back features a 3-lens setup, similar to the Galaxy Z Fold 2 (See Below).

The product’s been visualized in Rose Gold, although it would probably come in a range of colors catering to Samsung’s catalog. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is a conceptual product based on patented files by Samsung. It’s been visualized as a collaborative effort between LetsGoDigital and Sarang Sheth and isn’t affiliated with the Samsung brand in any way.

Designer/Visualizer: Sarang Sheth in partnership with LetsGoDigital

This concept was first published on LetsGoDigital. Click here to view the original piece.