Apple’s cheaper Pencil is available to buy now, but it has some limitations


The new USB-C Apple Pencil is now available for sale through Apple’s website, with the first shipments arriving on November 3. It looks like it will be available in physical stores starting around November 8, too.

The $79 peripheral is the third Apple Pencil model, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s the best choice; it’s the new cheaper, entry-level option. The second-generation Pencil is the highest-end one, at $129.

What makes this Pencil different? Well, you can look at the gigantic table above from Apple’s website to see the features as they compare to other models—or you can read what we wrote a couple of weeks ago when it was first announced:

It doesn’t support pressure sensitivity, a key feature of the other two models. It can attach magnetically on its flat edge and supports hover previews like the second-generation Pencil. However, it can’t charge or pair wirelessly via that magnetic attachment like that model can, and it doesn’t support the double-tap gesture.

The only advantages the first-generation Pencil has over this newer, cheaper model are pressure sensitivity support and a Lightning port for plugging into older iPads.

The pressure sensitivity is the main thing you’re losing, and its absence is presumably the main thing that makes it so much cheaper than the alternatives. It’s likely a better choice for folks who want to write on their iPads than those who want to venture into the visual arts. In any case, it’s compatible with any iPad that has a USB-C port.

It makes for a confusing Pencil lineup; try explaining to someone who’s not following Apple or tech closely which Pencil to buy, and it might be an exercise in frustration. That said, the iPad lineup is similarly convoluted at this point, so there’s that.

Listing image by Apple



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