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Key Takeaways

  • Apple has announced an updated Apple Pencil with a USB-C port instead of a Lightning connector, offering new charging and pairing options for iPad owners.
  • The new Apple Pencil includes advanced features like hover support, but is missing wireless charging, double-tap functionality, and pressure sensitivity.
  • Despite lacking some features, the new Apple Pencil is the cheapest option yet, priced at $79, and is expected to go on sale next month along with potential new iPad releases.

As part of Apple's quest to ditch Lightning in favor of USB-C the company has now announced an updated Apple Pencil. But rather than just replace the Lightning connector with a USB-C one, Apple's gone a different route. There's a USB-C port, rather than a connector, and the new stylus is a strange mishmash of Apple Pencil and Apple Pencil 2 features.

There are still plenty of Apple Pencil alternatives to be had of course, but for many iPad owners it's Apple or nothing. And for those people, the Apple Pencil now comes with a new way to charge and some new features - including some that aren't available to owners of the original Apple Pencil.

Features here, features there

Apple announced the new Apple Pencil (USB-C) via a press release, adding it to the lineup rather than replacing either of the existing stylus options. And while the USB-C port is perhaps the most obvious feature, with a sliding cap revealing the receptacle needed to charge as well as pair the stylus with an iPad.

Apple Pencil 3 on iPad

“Apple Pencil has revolutionized note taking, sketching, and illustrating, unleashing endless possibilities for productivity and creativity,” Bob Borchers, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing said via the press release. “Combined with the versatility of iPad, the new Apple Pencil unlocks another great option to experience the magic of digital handwriting, annotation, marking up documents, and more.”

It does that with support for advanced features like Apple's hover feature on compatible iPad Pro models. Other features borrowed form the Apple Pencil 2 include a magnetic attachment to compatible iPads, but there are some features missing. Despite having a flat edge for that magnetic connection, the new Apple Pencil won't charge wirelessly. Neither does it support any double-taps for changing tools in apps that support it. There's also no sign of pressure sensitivity - a feature that was even available on the first-gen Apple Pencil.

The result is a new product that borrows from those around it but in pressure sensitivity lacks a feature the oldest Apple Pencil of all manages to support.

There's a silver lining, however. This new Apple Pencil is the cheapest yet, selling for just $79 when it goes on sale next month. Will there be new iPads to go with the new Apple Pencil? Some rumours claim so, with new iPad mini and iPad Air releases tipped for this week.