The original Apple Pencil model was an impressive extension of the Apple iPad experience, giving artists and designers a responsive tool that evoked the satisfying tactile experience of a real writing instrument or brush equipped with pixel perfect precision. Unsurprisingly it became very popular amongst the creative set. But like many first adopters, we found the Lightning connector charging cumbersome, if not a bit awkward when plugged into the iPad while recharging, a setup marring an otherwise elegant design. Like many Apple designs, the Apple Pencil went onto undergo iterative improvements, culminating in the magnetic $129 2nd generation stylus with wireless pairing and charging. And now Apple’s third rendition, the Apple Pencil USB-C, seems to hit a sweet spot: an iPad peripheral that exceeds its entry-level $79 price tag.
Like its 2nd generation predecessor, the new Apple Pencil also attaches magnetically to the iPad, but this time only for storage, sacrificing the ability to recharge the device wirelessly. Instead, the matte finish 3rd gen Apple Pencil powers up via USB-C charging, with its port revealed when sliding back the Apple logo adorned cap. It’s a timely addition noting Apple’s migration away from Lightning and including the USB-C port with their latest and greatest iPhone 15 models, moving us ever closer to the single port + cable lifestyle.
The new $79 Apple Pencil also subtracts pressure sensitivity and the nifty double-tap feature allowing tool switching, but it does share tilt sensitivity, low latency, and hover to preview when used with the iPad Pro like its more pro-centric model. For $79 the new Apple Pencil USB-C seems much more of a no-brainer “at time of purchase” add-on for creatives buying an iPad, less of an impulse buy and more of a considered investment when considering the iPad workflow.
The new model is compatible with the 10th-gen iPad, first to fourth generation 11-inch iPad Pro, third to sixth generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro, fourth to fifth generation iPad Air, and the sixth generation iPad Mini. The Apple Pencil USB-C is available online for $79 at Apple.com and in-store.