Apple could be signaling the Touch Bar's exit in favor of Apple Pencil integration, according to a published patent application spotted by Patently Apple on Aug. 12. The patent concept designs depict a docking station for the Apple Pencil in the F-key row.
"[T]he present invention relates to incorporating an Apple Pencil that is removably mounted to a MacBook keyboard," reads Apple Patently's report. "While the Pencil is in its retainer it could act as a mouse to move a cursor. Uniquely, a high-end lighting system is built-into the retainer and the Apple Pencil wherein the Pencil can replace the top F-Key row with the functional key symbols illuminated on Apple Pencil with full functionality."
The patent concept designs also show the Apple Pencil somehow living on the side or bottom of the MacBook. The patent application isn't a guarantee that a product will come to fruition, but if it does, we could see a rework of the Apple laptops to support touch screen functionality.
CNET has reached out to Apple for comment, and we'll update when we hear back.