Apple Pencil Pro is official – new gesture, haptic feedback, no "Apple Pencil 3" yet

Apple Pencil Pro is official – new gesture, haptic feedback, no "Apple Pencil 3" yet
At long last, Apple has just announced a brand new Apple Pencil at its May 7 event, alongside new, 2024 iPad Pro models. However, it's not the Apple Pencil 3 a lot of us expected, but an Apple Pencil Pro.

Still, this would be Apple's 3rd major Pencil iteration, following the Apple Pencil 2 (2018) and 1st generation Apple Pencil (2015). It's also the first time Apple introduces the "Pro" moniker to its stylus line up.

Artists who are keen on using the iPad as their productivity machine will be happy to know that a lot of the new Apple Pencil features we've been hearing about are indeed true, and coming with the Apple Pencil Pro.

Let's get into that…

Apple Pencil Pro features

The Apple Pencil Pro retains the design and similar magnetic charging of the previous Apple Pencil 2, but as its name suggests, it gets extra features under the hood.

For the first time on an Apple Pencil, we're getting haptic feedback, which is the same technology that simulates physical clicks on Apple's MacBook trackpads, and iPhone touch keyboard. Basically – fine vibration.

A vibration motor in this new Apple Pencil will deliver a light tap to the user, confirming when a gesture has been activated successfully, which sounds helpful, considering it's not always clear when those actually register.

The new Apple Pencil Pro also gets a squeeze gesture, as we suspected. It will presumably be free to map to whatever the user prefers – switching to an eraser, switching paintbrushes, layers, opening a color picker; as allowed by their drawing app of choice, of course (e.g. Procreate).

It's worth noting that in Apple's presentation, the squeeze gesture was used to display a tool palette in Procreate, as shown below.

We still also get the double-tap gesture, which is present on the Apple Pencil 2, and in my experience, isn't very reliable. But here's hoping it's more so, on this new 2024 Apple Pencil Pro.

Apple also mentions the gyroscope inside the Apple Pencil Pro, which is used to allow for changing the orientation of shaped pens and brushes, by tilting the stylus.

Furthermore, Find My support makes its debut on an Apple Pencil for the first time. Like AirPods and AirTags, among other Apple devices, users can now locate their Apple Pencil Pro using the Find My feature on their iPhone, iPad or MacBook, if lost.

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Another familiar feature professional artists will be happy to see again is hovering. Users can hover over the iPad's display with an Apple Pencil Pro, without touching it, and see a pointer appear where the Pencil would land, guiding their next stroke. This is also helpful for brush and color selection, among other things.

Apple Pencil Pro compatibility: which iPads work with it?

The Apple Pencil Pro is only compatible with the newly-announced M4 iPad Pro, and M2 iPad Air.

Due to their repositioned FaceTime camera, the new iPad Pro and iPad Air likely sport a slightly different magnetic wireless charging system for the Apple Pencil Pro, enough to make it their exclusive.

Apple Pencil Pro price and release date

The new Apple Pencil Pro will be available as soon as next week, May 15th, for the price of $129. Pre-orders are already open as of today.

For reference, here's a list of all Apple Pencils available now, and their respective price:

  • Apple Pencil Pro - $129
  • Apple Pencil 2nd generation - $129
  • Apple Pencil USB-C - $79
  • Apple Pencil 1st generation - $99

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