2015′s Apple Pencil was a huge breakthrough for stylus devices. However, it was too big, required a crazy way to be recharged, and sold for a whopping $99. The Apple Pencil 2, which is not compatible with iPads other than the new iPad Pro models, costs $129. It’s quite a lot, but it does justify the extra $30.
You’ll first notice that it’s slightly smaller and has a more industrial design. The Apple Pencil 2 also has a flat side to it that magnetically connects to your iPad Pro for charging. The new Pencil automatically pairs with your iPad, unlike the first Apple Pencil that was supposed to pair with your iPad but often didn’t. It also allows you to double tap on the tip of the lower sides to change the Pencil’s function, including adding an eraser function. (Unfortunately, there isn’t an update to OneNote yet that allows these functions.)
The most important aspect of the new Pencil is how it draws and writes. And it does both very well — even better than the first Pencil did. There is certainly more of a rough feeling when the pencil slides against the glass. It almost makes me afraid to use a screen protector. A tempered glass protector, for example, could make the writing feel really slippery.
The problem with stylus devices is that there is always lag when it comes to writing. Even if the loop you draw on the cursive “y” appears 1/20th of a second after you draw it, the latency is still annoying. The Pencil 2 produces no lag whatsoever, and the 120Hz rate makes things even more realistic. Who would have ever thought, at least five years ago, that writing on a tablet could be just as comfortable as writing on a pad of paper?
Of course, it all depends on the program you use as well. Writing in the “Notes” app produces a slightly more realistic writing experience than OneNote (and it allows you to tap the Pencil to bring up the eraser), but an upcoming update will probably take care of OneNote’s disadvantages soon.
So, how can Apple improve the next Apple Pencil? It’s difficult coming up with ways, but perhaps Apple could make the Pencil 3 even smaller. Perhaps they can add an actual “eraser” to the other side of the pen, which Microsoft does with their excellent Surface Pen (the latest version).
Still, the Pencil 2 is a technological wonder. And it fully justifies the expensive price tag. If you are considering getting one of the new iPad Pros without the Pencil, you are definitely missing out on the full iPad experience.