The Apple Pencil lineup is a mess, so here’s a guide to which one you should buy

apple announced a series New iPads and updates on Tuesday brought a little more clarity to the company’s tablet lineup. Yes, there are still only six different models, but the lines separating these slates are more firmly drawn: You have a good choice. the main iPad), a better option (iPad Air) and the best choice (iPad Pro). Both the Air and Pro are available in 11- or 13-inch frames, but these SKUs are more or less identical outside of their dimensions. The iPad minimeanwhile, it’s still on the side for a relatively small niche that favors a compact tablet.

However, amid these announcements, the Apple Pencil has become even more confusing. Apple introduced a new high-end stylus Pen Pro, but it didn’t stop any older models. As a result, now there are potential buyers four (4!) different styluses to choose Each has different features, the two are the same price, and only the lowest-end model works with every iPad in Apple’s current lineup. And the top-of-the-line version from yesterday is no longer compatible with the latest iPad Air or iPad Pro.

That’s pretty bad! That’s exactly how Apple got here can what is it caused by? company calls “new magnetic interface”. This is what the Pencil Pro uses to connect and charge compatible iPads, which in this case only include the new iPad Airs and iPad Pros. These tablets have been redesigned to house their front cameras on the long edge, which is a welcome change in a vacuum, but it could have resulted in the devices no longer supporting the charging system. second generation Pen. However, Apple has not officially confirmed any of this. When reached for comment, the company did not provide further details other than to note that the new Pen charging and pairing interface is designed to work with the latest tablet designs and accommodate their landscape front-facing cameras.

We’re in an awkward transition period with the release of the first- and second-generation Pencils when the entry-level iPad and iPad mini are updated. As it stands today, it would be hard for digital artists and note-takers to view the Pencil lineup as anything but chaotic. In general, there is a “project” and not a product it just works with every iPad, itself feels like a condemnation. But if you’re in the market for a new Pen and aren’t sure which one to buy, we’ve listed the available deals below.


Who should buy?: Those who plan to buy an iPad Air (M2) or iPad Pro (M4) anytime in the near future (most likely).


  • Find the latest and most advanced Pen, pinch gesture, gyroscope and my support

  • Only works with the latest iPad Air and iPad Pro

$129 on Amazon

The Apple Pencil Pro is the newest and most technically advanced Pen. It is priced at $129 and is now available for pre-order, with a full release starting May 15. As mentioned above, it’s only compatible with Apple’s latest tablets: the 11- and 13-inch iPad Air (M2) and the 11- and 13-inch iPad Pro (M4).

To keep things simple going to buy one of those iPads, it’s pretty much the stylus you have to buy. We’ve yet to review it, but it’s an improved version of the second-generation Pencil that we recommended earlier in our guide. the best iPad accessories. While it’s technically 0.05 ounces lighter, it has practically the same comfortable shape and matte finish. It still supports pressure sensitivity, so your marks will get darker if you press harder and detect tilt, so you can angle it for light shadow and similar effects. It still magnetically pairs and charges and still “tap twice” a feature that allows you to quickly switch between tools in certain apps. On certain iPads “hover” feature to interact with Elements on the screen by holding the stylus above the screen.

Pencil Pro has a few exclusive advantages over it. You can click it to open a context menu for changing colors, line weights, and similar tools. A built-in gyroscope can detect when you’re rolling the pen, which should make it easier to change the orientation of the shape pen and brush tools. It has a haptic engine for more tangible feedback when you use the pen. And perhaps most conveniently, it works with Apple Find my networkso it should be easier to find if you misplace it.


Who should buy?: Those who own an older iPad Pro or iPad Air or current iPad mini and won’t be upgrading to a new iPad anytime soon.


  • Accurate, comfortable and has good features

  • Does not support the latest iPad, iPad Air or iPad Pro

$79 on Amazon

The second generation Pen It was released in 2018 and remained Apple’s best pencil until this week. It also costs $129 recent sales It’s down to $79. It is compatible with the following iPads: 12.9-inch iPad Pro (3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th generation), 11-inch iPad Pro (1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation), iPad Air (4th and 5th generation) and iPad mini (6th generation).

To reiterate, this is what Apple says no It’s compatible with any of the iPad Airs or iPad Pros announced Tuesday. Yes, you pay $129 for the stylus only to be forced to replace it after a generation or two is disgusting.

The second-generation Pencil lacks squeeze and barrel roll gestures, increased haptic feedback, and tap my support in Pencil Pro. Otherwise, it contains all the same basic features. If you own one of the eligible iPads listed above and don’t plan to upgrade anytime soon, it’s the Pencil to buy as it remains a significant upgrade over Apple’s lower-priced models. But if you’re planning to buy a new iPad Air or iPad Pro in the near future and don’t really need the stylus today, it’s worth waiting and getting the Pencil Pro alongside your new tablet, as bad as it may be.


Who should buy?: Those who must own an Apple stylus but can’t afford a Pencil Pro/second generation Pencil and are only interested in casual writing. Also, iPad (10th generation) owners who don’t care about pressure sensitivity. Some of them third party options but may be better value depending on sale prices.


  • It’s cheaper than the Pencil Pro and the second generation Pencil

  • No pressure sensitivity and no wireless charging

$69 on Amazon

The USB-C Apple Pencil was released late last year and effectively serves as Apple’s “budget” pen. With a list price of $79, it’s still not cheap, though we’ve seen it drop to $10 cheaper with recent discounts.

It’s the only Pencil compatible with every iPad in Apple’s current lineup: iPad Air (M2), iPad Pro (M4), iPad (10th generation), and iPad mini (6th generation). In addition to these, it works with older 12.9-inch iPad Pro (3rd-6th generation), 11-inch iPad Pro (1st-4th generation) and iPad Air (4th and 5th generation).

However, it’s also clearly inferior to the Pencil Pro and the second-generation Pencil, as it lacks pressure sensitivity and magnetic charging support. The former means less accurate for illustrations, while the latter means you will need A USB-C cable is all you need to charge the device. You can still attach the USB-C Pen to the side of iPads with magnetic mounts, which is convenient, but it won’t be powered. It also doesn’t work with Apple’s double-touch feature, although it does support basics like hover and tilt sensitivity. It’s also slightly shorter than the higher-end models.

For most people who care enough about drawing or taking notes to buy an Apple Pencil in the first place, I’d recommend paying for the Pencil Pro or second-generation Pencil, depending on the iPad. But for those who really want to save money and only want a pen for casual writing or just managing their device in general, the USB-C Pen might make sense. This is especially true for the iPad (10th generation), which doesn’t work with any of Apple’s flagship models.


Who should buy?: Hardly anyone, unless you plan to use an iPad (10th generation) or older Lightning-based iPad in the near future and need pressure sensitivity for drawing.


  • The most affordable Pen with pressure sensitivity

  • It’s ancient and not compatible with most newer iPads

$79 on Amazon

Original Apple Pencil was presented In 2015. Apple still sells it for $99, though that’s about it these days often it’s $20-$30 cheaper at other retailers. Most people ignore this: The only modern iPad it works on is the entry-level iPad (10th generation), but even then, it requires a Lighting to USB-C adapter to charge it. it looks ridiculous and gives you more to lose. It can’t be magnetically attached and has a sleeker, more rounded design that can be rolled more easily on a flat table. It also lacks most of the more advanced features found in newer Pens.

The only thing the first-generation Pen has over the USB-C model is pressure sensitivity. Yes, despite being eight years older, it is technically better in at least one sense. So, if you own an iPad (10th generation) and are willing to deal with the loading situation on a dongle in exchange for a more accurate drawing experience, there’s a world where the first-generation Pen is still right. But most people in this situation should just upgrade to the iPad Air and Pencil Pro.

Here’s a list of iPads that support the first-generation Pen for generations only: 12.9-inch iPad Pro (1st and 2nd generation), 10.5-inch iPad Pro, 9.7-inch iPad Pro, iPad Air (3rd generation), iPad mini (5th generation) and iPad (6th-10th generation).

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