The second-generation Apple Pencil retains many of the specifications of the original stylus, but it adds several new features that will undoubtedly boost the convenience and capabilities of the UI accessory.
For one, the new Apple Pencil can now magnetically attach to the side of Apple’s 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro — which solves the question of where to put the device when it’s not in use.
But this magnetic attachment also comes with its own suite of features. Basically, attaching your Apple Pencil to your iPad is now how you charge the stylus wirelessly. That’s a marked improvement over the previous Lightning-based connection point.
You also don’t need to plug the Apple Pencil into the iPad Pro’s new USB-C port to pair it. Just magnetically clip it to the side and it’ll automatically pair with the Apple tablet.
The iPad Pro accessory also features new tap-based controls that let you switch tools on-the-fly. For example, in the Notes app, you can tap on the side of the Pencil to switch from a pencil to an eraser.
These tap-based controls are also customizable, so you can map various functions to them in third-party apps — like different brushes in the new Photoshop for iOS app.
Design-wise, there’s no pocket clip for the device (contrary to previous rumors). But the Apple Pencil now has a single flat side to help keep it from rolling off tables. It’s also more minimal in design, since it lacks a detachable cap and the signature silver railing on the top.
While Apple didn’t expand too much on the support of the device, it appears to only be compatible with the company’s new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro.
The Apple Pencil 2 retails for $129, about $30 more than the previous generation of stylus.
Apple is also offering free customizable engraving for its new tablet accessory. This option is only available for users who order through the firm’s online storefront and will add a few days to shipping, but is a great opportunity for users to add a bit of personality to their styli.