For the vast majority of mobile tasks, a touchscreen and your fingers are all you need. But when it comes to proper creative work, you can’t beat the precision offered by a dedicated stylus — and the Apple Pencil is Apple’s offering to artists.
Is the Apple Pencil starting to look a little old in 2018? First released in 2015, the hardware is almost two-and-a-half years old now, and predates newer Apple technologies like Face ID.
The time is therefore ripe for Apple to launch a follow-up – we’ll call it the Apple Pencil 2 – so we’ve collected together all of the latest leaks and rumours to try and work out what the tech giant has planned. Here’s everything we think we know, including the Apple Pencil 2 release date, price, and hints and the new features we might see.
Shall we begin?
Related: WWDC 2018
Apple Pencil 2 release date and price
Although Apple is yet to announce the Apple Pencil 2, at present the most likely dates for its reveal are June, or September in 2018. Apple likes to announce its products with a release following pretty quickly afterwards, usually within a month or so.
Our initial prediction was for a March announcement at an education-focussed event that Apple held on March 27. As well as the hand-drawn look of the event’s logo, rumours pointed towards there being some kind of Apple Pencil announcement coming out of the event alongside the event’s new 2018 iPads.
However, in the end all we got was the announcement that the existing Apple Pencil would work on the new iPad.
That means that at this point a WWDC or even a September reveal alongside the iPhone 9 are now the main options for Apple Pencil 2’s reveal — if its coming in 2018 at all.
Apple Pencil 2 rumoured features
With the new Apple Pencil yet to see an official announcement, details are currently thin on the ground as to what direction Apple might want to take the hardware in. Most of what we have to go on currently are patents, which are a vague indication at best.
The firmest (yet probably least exciting) rumour doing the rounds is that the new Pencil will be equipped with some kind of physical or magnetic clip for more easily attaching it to an iPad.
However, we’re more excited by the prospect of the Pencil’s tip getting a redesign. The rumour comes courtesy of a patent that suggests interchangeable nibs might allow artists to pick a size and shape of nib that works best for them.
Combine this with rumours that the new Pencil might be force sensitive (much as every iPhone since the 6S has been), and it’s starting to sound like the Apple Pencil 2 might more closely resemble the styluses that typically accompany dedicated creative pro tablets.
Other patents have also hinted that the end of the Pencil 2 might be equipped with an eraser to easily scrub out any mistakes.
Finally, and perhaps most intriguingly, are rumours that the Apple Pencil 2 might be equipped with technology to allow it to write on any surface — rather than just a touchscreen. This functionality would not only be helpful for using the iPad on a desk, but could also allow the Pencil 2 to be used like a mouse to control a Mac.
Apple Pencil 2: What we want to see
The biggest omission from any of these rumours has been any mention of a spring-loaded tip.
The Apple Pencil is a solid piece of plastic, so actually drawing with it can sometimes feel like using a crayon rather than a pen. Competing styluses from Wacom get around this problem by having a nib with a spring in it which flexes as you press on the screen, leading to a much more natural feeling drawing experience.
We’d also really like to see the Pencil equipped with a side button for enabling shortcuts — be that changing colours or drawing modes. Again, this is something that’s fairly common with other styluses.
Finally, we’d just like to see the Apple Pencil 2 be made more ergonomic. Past Apple products such as the AirPods have done a great job at combining ergonomics with the trademark sleek Apple design, but we think the original Apple Pencil leans far too much towards the latter.
It ends up meaning that the Pencil is uncomfortable to use for drawing over longer periods. We’d love a slightly thicker pencil, perhaps with a little rubber to cushion the fingers.
What would you like to see the next Apple Pencil do? Let us know @TrustedReviews