Apple’s iPad Pro when combined with the Apple Pencil accessory is arguably one of the best portable drawing tools you can buy out there today. The main problem is that the Apple Pencil is a very expensive accessory and there’s really no two ways about it, but if you want the Apple Pencil but don’t want to pay the Apple tax, you’re in luck.
Apple has announced a new Apple Pencil. This new accessory isn’t the successor to the second-gen Apple Pencil, but rather it’s a cheaper alternative. Its physical design is pretty much identical to the second-gen Apple Pencil, but there are some features that it is lacking compared to its more expensive sibling.
For example, it lacks pressure sensitivity. It also does not support the double-tap feature that lets you switch between tools, and there is no support for wireless pairing and charging which is admittedly one of the best features of the second-gen Apple Pencil, which brings us to our point about the questionable design choice Apple has made.
The new Apple Pencil has a sliding cap that when removed, reveals a USB-C port. This is to allow users to charge the accessory when it runs low on battery. I’ll be honest, I kind of hate this design and it is almost as silly as the first-gen Apple Pencil which you had to plug into your iPad’s Lightning Connector to charge.
This is admittedly a slightly better solution but it still feels kind of dumb. Users will still be able to mount the new Apple Pencil to the iPad magnetically, but while it is mounted, it enters sleep mode to preserve battery life as opposed to charging. This means that if you’re planning to travel with it, you’ll want to make sure you have enough battery life in the Apple Pencil.
Thankfully, Apple has the decency not to overcharge users for the new model. It is priced at $79 which is about $50 cheaper than the second-gen model and is expected to be released in November. If you don’t want to spring for the (better) second-gen model, you can always get the first-gen model which at least has pressure sensitivity for $99.