What the new Apple Pencil means for designers

Is it any good? Jon Burgerman *tests (*doesn’t test) Apple's latest product for illustrators.

The Apple Pencil - a new input device released as part of today's announcement of the new iPad Pro, a bigger, more powerful iPad - has already split opinion amongst critics and creatives worldwide.

The Apple Pencil detects position, force and tilt. It works seamlessly with a range of iOS apps and features a built-in lightning connector inside the Pencil's cap, so you can charge it directly to your iPad when you're not using it.

It'll be available in November, retailing at $99, reports our sister site TechRadar.

Could it replace your Wacom tablet? Well, we haven't got our hands on one yet of course.

So in lieu of an actual Apple Pencil, we did the next best thing and asked New York-based artist and illustrator Jon Burgerman – who 'revealed' on Instagram that he'd been, er, "product testing" the new Pencil – for his thoughts…

[Spoiler: this isn't an actual review. We'll bring you a real one soon.]

Jon Burgerman on Instagram: "Finally I can reveal I've been product testing the new #ipencil for #apple and the new #megaipad #appleevent"

Jon, you mentioned you were involved in testing - what did you have to do?

Everyday involved six hours of signing nondisclosure forms with the ipencil - so the testing went well but afterwards I was completely restricted from talking about it.

What was the most exciting/surprising aspect of the Pencil for you as an artist?

It has a rubber on the end so if you make a mistake you can just turn it upside and rub the screen until the mistake is removed or the batteries die (whichever happens first).

Also it doesn't require sharpening, a real time saver! Or should I say, Time Shaver…? No, I probably shouldn't.

What were the biggest pros and cons?


  • It's white and is like a pencil but has the letter i in front of it
  • It will fit in my pencil case
  • It's good for scraping out dirt from under my finger nails


  • More tech, more batteries, more silicon mined from the rainforests further depleting our natural resources and ruining animals' habitats etc
  • It doesn't come in Rose Gold (yet)

What does the Pencil mean for illustrators and designers?

It means there's another gizmo out there that might be quite fun to work with, but if you've got no ideas or spark of inspiration for yourself, it's not going to help you one bit.

Once someone invents the self-drawing pencil, then we'll have something meaningful to talk about!

Liked this? Try these...


Julia Sagar is a commissioning editor and writer for Creative Bloq, Computer Arts, net, 3D World and IFX magazines. Tweet her @JuliaSagar