The most expensive pencil you’ll ever buy, but is it worth it?
With a current recommended retail price of $129, the new Apple Pencil 2 really needs to prove it’s worth, but can it justify it’s hefty price tag? Lets look at it in detail and look at what Apple did right and what they did wrong.
Upon unboxing the new Apple Pencil, I was filled with equal parts of satisfaction and disappointment.
The satisfaction, opening a box and simply finding an Apple Pencil inside, clipping it to the side of my iPad Pro, clicking a couple of buttons and I was all set up. This has always been Apple’s goal to make their products as simple as possible and this is by far the easiest. It took me in total about 30 seconds to finish setting up from opening the box.
The disappointment, opening a box and simply finding an Apple Pencil inside, looking in the booklet and all around the box for something more! It’s great that they kept it simple, I love that about Apple, but they didnt even supply replacement nibs. (which they did for the first Apple Pencil!) Replacement nibs cost $19.99 RRP for 4 which isn’t that much after you spent so much on the Pencil itself, but it still feels like a cheeky additional cost. You know I’ll love this pencil and sooner or later I’m going to wear down that nib and have to replace it, well played Apple, well played.
There are a number of improvements to the new Apple Pencil. The most noticable are the changes to the design. The new Pencil is slightly shorter than it’s predecessor and now comes in a matte finish which gives it a nicer feel. The design, in general, is a lot sleeker, it also has a beveled edge to prevent it rolling off the table. There’s no lightning charging adapter anymore as it now charges when you magnetically clip it to your iPad Pro. I have to say that not having a cap is a huge improvement. I can’t count how many of these Pencils I’ve seen with a lost cap and have you ever seen someone charge their Apple Pencil directly into their iPad? It looks ridiculous and gives me anxiety thinking of how many different ways they’re about to break their expensive new toy!
As we’ve lost the charging point, we’ve also lost the eraser, instead we have a new double tap function to switch between the eraser and the pencil, a really great idea and I hope to see more tap functions in the future (triple tap to undo?)
You should still have trust issues
Although the new Pencil is safer as they’ve added an edge to prevent rolling off the table and made it magnetic so it can charge directly on the side of the iPad, I must stress that you shouldn’t depend on these features. I must have dropped my new Pencil about twice as often as the older model thinking it’s now impossible for it to roll off the table!
That extra mile
If you’re looking at purchasing this as a gift either for a loved one or for yourself, then you might want to consider adding a personal touch to your new Pencil to make your experience feel just that little bit more special.
If you engrave your pencil, you will not only make sure people keep their hands off, but also add a personalised feel to your new Pencil. This service adds no extra charge to your Apple Pencil, however it will add a couple of extra days to your shipping but it’s well worth the wait.
Matte screen protector
If you’re going to primarily be using your iPad Pro for use with your Apple Pencil, I would highly recommend investing in a matte screen protector. Writing on a glossy glass surface takes a lot of getting used to, but I’ve always felt like it’s always been too weird for me to get used to! A matte finish gives you a bit of well-needed friction, it just feels more natural, like writing on paper. The first time i tried a matte surface, there was no going back for me and I would think most people would share that opinion.
Things Apple did right
- Sleeker design
- Easy connection/charging
- The double tap
- More comfortable feel
- No parts to lose
- Matte finish
- Free engraving service
Things Apple did wrong
- currently only compatiable with the new iPad Pros
- No spare nibs included
- Could’ve included more tapping functions
It may seem like a big investment, but it feels like a well needed upgrade. There are some good and bad points, as with every product, but overall, I think it’s inevitable that you’ll be buying one in the future. Just understand that if you’re using an older iPad, the new Apple Pencil 2 won’t be compatiable. At the moment, it’s only compatible with iPad Pro 11 inch and iPad Pro 12.9 inch (3rd gen). The old pencil is not compatible with these iPads so expect a hefty investment in the not-too-distant future.
Have a look at our guide for 5 must-have apps for Apple Pencil users