Apple finally announced a new Apple Pencil, and to get it out of the way early – no, it’s not the long-awaited Apple Pencil 3. Instead, the newest Apple Pencil is more like a mid-gen refresh with a few missing features and a seemingly tighter, more compact design at 6.1 inches in length and 0.29 inches in diameter (according to Apple Insider). The most important difference between this new Apple Pencil – which Apple is calling the Apple Pencil USB-C – and previous iterations is the notable price cut.
This new USB-C powered Apple Pencil is priced at $79 MSRP, which makes it more approachable for iPad users who don’t want to shell out $99 for the arguably less impressive first-gen Apple Pencil or the $129 Apple Pencil 2. Still, there are a few catches; the USB-C model doesn’t include pressure sensitivity, meaning it lacks one of the most important Apple Pencil features for artists who would normally be able to draw or paint with bigger or smaller lines, relative to the amount of pressure applied. It also lacks the Apple Pencil 2’s double-tap and wireless pairing and charging features.
You’re also going to want to make sure your iPad is equipped with a USB-C port, otherwise your Apple Pencil USB-C won’t be able to pair properly. Specifically, according to Apple, you’ll want to own one of the following: “iPad (10th generation), iPad Air (4th and 5th generations), iPad Pro 11-inch (1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generations), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th generations), and iPad mini (6th generation)”.
If that’s not a concern, the new Apple Pencil USB-C is an extremely sleek-looking accessory that should make iPad usage more convenient and enjoyable across the board. Its stealthy sliding cap design hides away the device’s integrated USB-C port, making it easy to plug in and charge, then store comfortably on the side or on top of your iPad once you’re finished charging. Much like the Apple Pencil 2, it attaches to the iPad magnetically.
iPad Pro owners equipped with an Apple Pencil USB-C also get another Apple Pencil 2 feature via Apple Pencil hover, which lets you see, for instance, the effect a selected tool (like a paint bucket) will have on a canvas before you actually apply it.
Apple Pencil USB-C will become available via Apple Store for $79 in early November, but it sounds like it will be discounted to just $69 for educational purposes. Apple describes its educational pricing as being available to “current and newly accepted college students and their parents, as well as faculty, staff, and home-school teachers of all grade levels.”