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Understanding the Apple Pencil Landscape: Comparing the USB-C Model vs the First and Second Generations

  • Apple introduces the Apple Pencil USB-C for lower-cost stylus options for select iPad models.
  • The new model is shorter and thinner with minor weight loss.
  • The USB-C model lacks pressure sensitivity, but can magnetically attach to an iPad.
  • The USB-C model connects and charges with a USB-C cable.

Apple’s latest Apple Pencil is the company’s cheapest stylus and one offering USB-C support. Here’s where it fits into the Apple stylus landscape. On October 17, Apple decided to launch something slightly different than an updated tablet; the Apple Pencil with USB-C. This new model provides a low-cost stylus option for a selection of Apple’s iPad range.

Comparing the new Apple Pencil USB-C to the first and second generations, the new model is shorter and thinner, and slightly lighter at 0.72 ounces versus 0.73 ounces for the first and second-gen models. The USB-C model also lacks pressure sensitivity, but can magnetically attach to an iPad. It connects and charges with a USB-C cable, while the first and second-gen models require a Lightning connector.

While all three Apple Pencils offer low latencies and tilt sensitivity across the board, the new USB-C model and first-gen model don’t support Hover or Double-Tap features. The second-gen model is the only one that offers free engraving at the time of purchase.

When it comes to compatibility, it varies by iPad and Apple Pencil model. The tenth-gen iPad can use either the first-gen Apple Pencil or the Apple Pencil USB-C. Meanwhile, the 6th-gen iPad mini, all 11-inch iPad Pro models, and the third 12.9-inch iPad Pro and later models can use either the second-gen Apple Pencil or the new Apple Pencil USB-C.

The new Apple Pencil USB-C does offer a solution to the Lightning problem that tenth-gen iPad owners had, since they don’t need an adapter but instead can use the USB-C cable they are probably carrying around with their tablet. For owners of iPads that just use the first-gen version, the new Apple Pencil offers no real benefit to them, simply because of the lack of USB-C on their hardware. The main beneficiaries of the USB-C variant are iPads that can use the second-gen stylus, as it gives another option.
The new Apple Pencil USB-C model is a great option for users looking for a stylus at a cheaper price. At $79, it’s a great way to save $50 compared to the second-generation Apple Pencil. However, this cheaper model does come with some drawbacks, such as no pressure sensitivity and no wireless charging or pairing features. This model is more suited for students or educators who may be looking for a cheaper alternative to the more expensive models.

For most users, the extra cost of the Apple Pencil 2 is worth it for the features it provides. But for those who have budgetary reasons, the Apple Pencil USB-C is an affordable option with some drawbacks. visit apple.com for more information.

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