If you’ve been looking to buy one of the best iPads, one of your reviews has probably been a stylus – Apple Pencil is a popular stylus for the company’s tablet that lets you sketch, take notes and easily navigate around the iPadOS.
Since it was first introduced, the Apple Pencil for iPads has gone through two different iterations – the original version was introduced in 2015 and the second generation model came in 2018, to work on newer iPads.
These two versions of the iPad pen have lived in cozy harmony, and work for different types of iPad, but a change in the new iPad (2022) threatens to destroy all this.
Apple Pencil issues
Despite being a popular accessory, the original iPad is not without its problems. Primarily it charges in a strange way: you have to remove the end of it and connect it to the Lightning port on your iPad.
When doing this, you had to leave the stylus plugged into the tablet at a strange angle for quite some time, which means that there was a high risk of accidentally going into the extended pencil and breaking the charging plug from the rest of it.
This is one of Apple’s design decisions that has been mocked mercilessly, just like the wireless mouse with the plug on the bottom of the thing. No wonder the Apple Pencil 2 was more popular, as it uses magnets to attach to the top of the iPad where it charges wirelessly.
The rise of Apple Pencil 2
Apple Pencil 2 has been used by more and more iPads, including Pro, Air and in the 2021 Mini lines, over the years.
The reason for this is simple: Lightning ports are slowly falling off iPads. Air line lost the port in 2020 while Mini did so in 2021. Now there are only the beginner models left.
Without Lightning ports, the original Apple Pencil has no convenient way to charge; not unless you are willing to fiddle with various adapters and dongles that Apple has sold in the past. The transition to USB-C has been accompanied by a design overhaul for iPads, to ease the magnetic clamp for charging the Apple Pencil 2.
And that’s where the problem lies.
A USB-C iPad (2022)
A new leak suggests that Apple’s iPad at launch level in 2022 may get a USB-C port instead of Lightning. This will make it the latest iPad line to drop Apple’s proprietary charging technology, even if the iPhone still uses it.
If that happened then the first-generation Apple Pencil would be completely redundant. There would be no new iPads that could ease that, making it likely that Apple will retire the older gadget.
Unlike iPhones, Apple does not sell previous-generation iPads, so it does not need to keep the accessories to support different tablets. No, there would be no reason for the company to make more out of the seven-year-old stick.
Sure, some third-party retailers will probably have stock of the original Apple Pencil, but if Apple fully embraced USB-C, the days of the pen would be numbered.
The future of Apple Pencil 3
Apple is no stranger to dismantling its technology. It does so pretty much every year when new iterations of the annual products come out – and the original, tricky Apple Pencil eventually had to go away.
And it’s time – the method of charging the pen is so stupid that it should never have gotten past the drawing board.
Still, as the first Apple Pencil ever, if the company retired it, it would be big news.
If Apple has only one stylus to make, we’d like to see it look ahead, and launch an Apple Pencil 3. The second-generation stylus has quite difficult controls and does not come with as many useful features as Samsung’s S Pen, and there are many things like Apple can do with it to improve.
As it stands, there are plenty of Apple Pencil options that can steal some of the spotlight if Apple reduces the presence of the pen.