The new Apple Pencil USB-C is the long-awaited refresh for the stylus and follows the iPhone 15’s footsteps in acquiring a brand-spankin’-new port.
This is the first time since 2018 that the Apple Pencil has received an update, and with this new variant out on the market, I had a lot of questions. How does it differ from the second-generation Apple Pencil? Which iPads is it compatible with? Are there any benefits to using the Apple Pencil USB-C over any other model?
Like many of you, my mind was spinning with questions, but thanks to a recent hands-on experience with Apple Pencil USB-C, I’ve got some clarity about it now.
Which iPads does the new Apple Pencil USB-C support?
When I tried the Apple Pencil (USB-C) for the first time, I took it for a spin with the 10th-gen iPad, so that answers your question about at least one of the models the new stylus supports. But what about the other tablets?
For your information, the Apple Pencil (USB-C) is compatible with the following:
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro (3rd to 6th gen)
- 11-inch iPad Pro (1st to 4th gen)
- iPad Air (4th and 5th gen)
- iPad (10th gen)
- iPad mini (6th gen)
Before the Apple Pencil (USB-C)’s debut, 10th-gen iPad users could only use the first-generation Apple Pencil. Now, with the new USB-C stylus, 10th-gen iPad owners have two Apple Pencils they can choose from. Win!
Why get the USB-C Apple Pencil when you can buy the wireless-charging Apple Pencil 2?
While wandering around social media, I noticed many folks questioning why one would opt for the USB-C Apple Pencil when its predecessor, the Apple Pencil 2, offers wireless charging.
The Apple Pencil USB-C has a specific target audience: budget-conscious users who simply want to take notes, make annotations, journal, and draft up digital plans. After all, the USB-C Apple Pencil is only $79. The second-gen Apple Pencil, on the other hand, will set you back $129.
The Apple Pencil 2 gives you the luxury of charging the stylus by attaching it to the edge of a supported iPad, which is why it’s pricier.
And unlike the Apple Pencil USB-C, the Apple Pencil 2 has pressure sensitivity, making it ideal for creators who want to make digital masterpieces, calligraphy, and pro-level artwork. The Apple Pencil USB-C, on the other hand, is ideal for users — students, for example — who don’t need a sophisticated stylus.
Still, when I used the new Apple Pencil USB-C across several iPadOS apps, from Goodnotes to Animatic, I found the Apple Pencil to be as seamless as putting pen to paper. Hell, I’d argue that’s even smoother than that — like a figure skater gliding on ice — thanks to its tilt sensitivity and low latency.
Plus, it’s nice that the iPad I was using had excellent palm rejection, so I could comfortably sketch and draw without my hands getting in the way.
Yes, it’s more convenient to opt for the second-gen Apple Pencil, but the loss of that luxury nets you a more affordable Apple Pencil for less than $80. On the plus side, you can still magnetically attach the Apple Pencil USB-C to your iPad, but it won’t charge wirelessly.
How does the USB-C Apple Pencil’s port work?
If you remember, the first-gen Apple Pencil charges via a lighting cable. To access the port, you need to twist open the top cap, which was super easy to lose. Now, the new Apple Pencil USB-C has a sliding cap, which I kept playing with over and over again — it’s like the new fidget spinner.
That cap isn’t going any damn where. So if you plan on gifting this Apple Pencil to a young whippersnapper, you needn’t worry about them losing the cap and running around with a headless stylus.
The European Union (EU) mandate requiring that all mobile phones, tablets, and cameras sold in the EU have USB-C ports likely played a part in this update, but it’s a welcome refresh for iPad owners who don’t want to splurge nearly $200 on an Apple pen.
What was even more intriguing during my hands-on experience was how well apps like Animatic, an incredible platform that made me feel like a pro animator in seconds, worked seamlessly with the Apple Pencil. I thought it was pretty cool that I could upload my animated creations to Freeform, too.
Goodnotes is another gem of an app, which has a new “Tidy Up” feature that lets you lasso your messily handwritten notes to organize them in a neater, more organized fashion. Any of you known for having awful handwriting should be using “Tidy Up” before subjecting others to your chicken scratch.
I look forward to experimenting with the Apple Pencil USB-C thoroughly. Stay tuned for the full review!
The Apple Pencil USB-C will be available some time in early November.