|Release date||November 11, 2015(1st Generation) November 7, 2018 (2nd Generation)|
|System-on-chip used||32-bit RISC ARM-based Cortex-M3|
|CPU||STMicroelectronics STM32L151UCY6 Ultra-low-power MCU @ 32 MHz|
Lightning connector, Bluetooth 4.1
|Power||3.82 V 0.329 W·h (86.1 mA·h)|
Length: 6.92 inches (176 mm) measured from tip to cap
Diameter: 0.35 inches (8.9 mm)
Length: 6.53 inches (166 mm)
Diameter: 0.35 inches (8.9 mm)
|Mass||0.73 ounces (21 g)|
The Apple Pencil was first unveiled alongside the first-generation iPad Pro on September 9, 2015; it is supported by the first and second generation iPad Pro models, the sixth-generation iPad released in 2018, and the 2019 iPad Mini and iPad Air. It communicates wirelessly via Bluetooth, and has a removable cap that conceals a Lightning connector used for charging.
A second-generation model was unveiled in 2018, and is compatible exclusively with the third-generation iPad Pro. It features minor design changes over the original version, including touch-sensitive areas that can be tapped to perform actions within supported apps, and charging via a magnetic connector on the side of the device rather than a physical connection.
The Apple Pencil has pressure sensitivity and angle detection, and was designed for low latency to enable smooth inking on the screen. The Pencil and one's fingers can be used simultaneously, while rejecting input from the user's palm. One end of the device has a magnetically-fastened removable cap. Underneath this cap is the Lightning connector, which allows the Pencil's battery to be recharged via an iPad's Lightning port itself. The initial charge lasts about 12 hours, but 15 seconds plugged into the Lightning connector of the iPad provides sufficient power for 30 minutes of use. The user can also use the included female-to-female Lightning adapter to charge via a standard Lightning cable instead.
Apple has promoted the Pencil as being oriented towards creative work and productivity; during its unveiling, the pen's capabilities were demonstrated using the mobile version of Adobe Photoshop, and its document annotation capabilities on several Microsoft Office apps.
The Apple Pencil uses an STMicroelectronics STM32L151UCY6 Ultra-low-power 32-bit RISC ARM-based Cortex-M3 MCU running at 32 MHz with 64 KB of flash memory, a Bosch Sensortech BMA280 3‐axis accelerometer and a Cambridge Silicon Radio (Qualcomm) CSR1012A05 Bluetooth Smart IC for its Bluetooth connection to the iPad. It is powered by a recyclable rechargeable 3.82 V, 0.329 Wh lithium-ion battery.
In October 2018, Apple unveiled a new iteration of the Pencil, designed exclusively for use with the newly unveiled third-generation iPad Pro. It is similar in design and specifications to the first iteration, but removing the detachable connector, and having part of the pen be flattened to inhibit rolling. It contains tap-sensitive zones on its sides that can be mapped to functions within apps. Custom laser engraving is also available when purchased via Apple.com. As the third-generation iPad Pro uses USB-C instead of Lightning, the Pencil is paired and charged using a proprietary magnetic wireless charging connector on the device instead.
Despite this introduction, newer iPad models released since then, including the third-generation iPad Air, fifth-generation iPad Mini, and the 2019 10.2-inch iPad continue to use the first-generation Apple Pencil, primarily because they do not include the proprietary charging connector.
Third-party iPad styluses
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A number of third-parties have produced styluses for the iPad. However, there has not been a consistent technological implementation of pressure sensitivity, palm rejection, or angle detection, leading to delayed reaction times and inaccurate strokes. Each third-party manufacturer has implemented its own hardware and software approaches, resulting in a fragmented market with styli and apps having differing functionalities. For instance, a particular stylus may be designed to offer pressure sensitivity, but any given app must implement such functionality for it to work.
On March 27, 2018, Logitech previewed the new Crayon, a stylus designed for the 2018 9.7-inch iPad. Using a proprietary undisclosed connection method that does not require pairing as the Apple Pencil does, this non-touch-sensitive stylus has angle detection and is designed for the education market, with a thicker design and oval cross-section shape to prevent it from rolling off of desks. Previous third-party styluses have been limited by previous-generation iPad hardware without dedicated stylus connectivity, resulting in higher latency. It is expected to sell for half the price of the Apple pencil, but initially will be only sold through education channels. The Crayon is compatible with the current models of the iPad Pro, the iPad Air 3, the iPad Mini 5, and the 2018 iPad.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Apple Pencil.|
- Apple Pencil (official website)