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Apple Pencil 3: What do we know so far?

The Apple Pencil 2 was launched back in November 2018, making it one of the oldest products that Apple still sells to this day.

It’s certainly due for an update, then, but what can we expect from an updated Apple Pencil? While rumours that we were going to see the reveal in mid-October turned out to be incorrect, there’s still plenty of buzz around the Apple Pencil 3, now slated for release sometime in 2024.

From an updated design to new magnetic tips and possibly even iPhone support, the Apple Pencil 3 could be the stylus that Apple fans have been waiting for. Here’s everything we know so far.  

When will the Apple Pencil 3 be released?

While some reports claimed that Apple was gearing up to launch the Apple Pencil 3 in mid-October 2023, those reports were only half right. Apple did indeed launch a new Apple Pencil in October, but it was a revision of the first-gen Pencil with USB-C to be compatible with newer models of the entry-level iPad.

So, when are we going to see the new upgraded Apple Pencil released? While there aren’t any hard rumours floating around right now, it’s not hard to speculate that Apple would likely release a new Apple Pencil alongside a new top-end iPad, the iPad Pro

Given that the iPad Pro is rumoured for a refresh sometime in 2024, it could be that we’re not too far from a potential release – but we’ll update this section if we hear anything differently. 

How much will the Apple Pencil 3 cost?

While there aren’t any solid rumours about potential pricing for the next-gen Apple Pencil, we can take a look at previous releases to get a good idea. The first-gen Pencil launched at £109/$99, while the second-gen Pencil saw an increase of £30/$30 to £139/$129. 

Depending on how much new tech is available within the Apple Pencil 3 – something we get to in a minute – the price could again increase, potentially up to the £159/$149 mark. That would position the new Pencil as the ‘Pro’ Pencil, leaving the already-capable Apple Pencil 2 as a more affordable option, but it’s too early to say for sure. 

The Apple Pencil
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Apple Pencil 3 design and feature rumours

While Apple has yet to confirm the existence of the third-gen Apple Pencil, the internet is rife with rumours about what to expect from the next-gen stylus. As with any rumour, everything here should be taken with a pinch of salt, but it’s a tantalising look into what could be happening behind the locked doors of Apple Park. 

A familiar design

If you were hoping for a complete reimagining of the Apple Pencil, prepare to be disappointed – if leaked images from Mr White are to be believed, anyway. 

The mysterious leaker, who has previously correctly leaked images of the iPad mini 5, the iPhone 12 mini’s display and A14 chip components, shared an image of what’s claimed to be an Apple Pencil 3 prototype back in 2021. 

Leaked Apple Pencil prototype image
Source: Mr White (X)

If the image in the now-deleted tweet is indeed the real deal, then it suggests that the Apple Pencil 3 will be similar in length to the second-gen Pencil, which itself was a smaller version of the original Pencil, though it looks like it may have reverted back to the glossy finish of the original in place of the updated matte look. 

There’s also a redesigned stylus tip with what looks to be a much larger component. Mr White provides no context as to why it looks different, but it could tie into a separate rumour – but more on that in a second.

Mr White also claims that, for the first time, Apple will release both black and white versions of the Apple Pencil. A Black Apple Pencil would certainly match darker iPads a little better than the white version currently available. 

Magnetic tips

Long-time Apple Pencil owners will know that, over time, the stylus nib begins to wear down and needs replacing. While that’s entirely possible with the current Apple Pencil, both a patent from 2017 and more recent rumours suggest that Apple is looking to vastly improve that experience with the new Apple Pencil.

More specifically, a patent published back in 2017 references the use of interchangeable nibs that suit different drawing purposes, be it a different shape or thickness or even the hardness of the nib. 

While that on its own is nothing to report about – there are plenty of Apple Pencil patents, ranging from sensible options like Find My support to out-there features like one detailing a built-in sensor to sample real-world colours and textures for use in digital drawing apps – a recent rumour suggests this feature has indeed been taken to the next step.

More specifically, Apple leaker Majin Bu claims that the new Apple Pencil will allow artists to easily swap between different magnetic tips. These tips, it’s said, would allow users to swap between drawing, technical drawing and painting tips, all with different sizes, weights and feedback to further emulate their real-world counterparts. 

Majin Bu doesn’t have the best track record, so it’s not 100% confirmed, but it’s certainly an interesting idea. 

Support for iPhone

Interestingly, code within iOS 17.1 has a few interesting references to the Apple Pencil hidden within the underlying code. That’s odd because, to date, no Apple Pencil has supported the iPhone. 

The same code also seems to reference USB-C charging, suggesting that power delivery for the Pencil could come from a direct connection via USB-C as well as the wireless magnetic charging on iPads. 

This could suggest that Apple is at least toying with the idea of making the next Apple Pencil compatible with both iPads and some iPhones, though the mention of USB-C suggests it could be exclusive to the iPhone 15 range, or maybe even the iPhone 15 Pro models specifically. It’d certainly be another reason to opt for the Pro models over their entry-level brethren. 

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