Apple Pencil
Apple already patented an Apple Pencil that works with a future iPhone. Reuters/Stephen Lam

Is Apple working on an iPhone Pro model? There’s no definite answer to this question yet, but based on a new patent application, the Cupertino giant is developing an iPhone and an Apple Pencil that can work together through wired or wireless connection.

On Thursday, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office published a new patent application from Apple that details a mechanism that would be used in establishing communication between an Apple Pencil and an iPhone. This isn’t the first time that Apple has dropped hints on what it plans to do with the iPhone series and the Apple Pencil accessory. Two patents mentioning an Apple Pencil for an iPhone surfaced in August.

Patently Apple reports that the new patent application explains the methodology involved in making the Apple Pencil work with a future iPhone. The iPhone in the patent is one that features a touch screen capable of accepting input from an active stylus.

There are two possible ways to establish the communication between the handset and the accessory. One illustration shows an iPhone and an Apple Pencil stylus being paired via a wired connection. Apple, however, also noted that a wireless communication can also be established using Bluetooth, WiFi or any suitable protocol.

There’s also mention of circuitry for analyzing encoded stylus data. The analysis, as stated in the patent, can be performed by the hardware, software or firmware. Apple indicated that the hardware used in the setup should be capable of analyzing collected data from one or more touch sensors proximate to a stylus.

Apple typically patents technologies and inventions, but not everything it has patented have materialized. Hence, it’s very possible that the tech giant isn’t planning on launching an iPhone Pro. But it’s possible that it could be including new technologies, such as the one in the new patent, to its future iPhones to make them work with the Apple Pencil.

Apple Pencil is a digital stylus pen that was launched in November 2015. It was designed to be an accessory for the iPad Pro, but it does not come bundled with the tablet. Instead, it is sold separately for $99. What’s good about the Apple Pencil is it has pressure sensors that detect a wide range of forces for drawing thin and thick lines on the iPad, according to The iPad Guide.

Meanwhile, Apple is doing really lately on the smartphone market with the release of its 10th anniversary iPhone. Since its launch, Apple has sold over 15 million units of its iPhone X handset. Then, over the Black Friday weekend alone, the company sold 6 million units of its pricey smartphone, as first reported by StreetInsider.

Prior the release of the iPhone X, analysts were worried that its hefty price tag would deter Apple’s customer base from purchasing it. However, it’s clear now that the demand for the overhauled model is far greater than expected. In fact, the demand for the 256 GB version, which costs $1,150, is twice than that of the 64 GB version, according to Nasdaq.

Apple is obviously expecting stronger demand for its flagship offering this holiday season, so it is increasing its shipment estimates from 27-28 million to 30 million units.