4 reasons you need an Apple Pencil

Apple Pencil
Draw, sketch, takes notes and annotate with the Apple Pencil (Image credit: Apple)

So you’ve got an iPad, and filled it up with some lovely apps, now all you need is an Apple Pencil. You might think you can live without one, but we're here to tell you why you'd be missing out without one.

Before you starting looking for an Apple Pencil, especially if you're looking to nab an Apple Pencil deal, you need to make sure that your iPad is compatible. There are two styluses on the market, imaginatively titled the Apple Pencil 1 and Apple Pencil 2. If you own an iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation) or iPad Pro 11-inch then its the Apple Pencil 2 for you. If you own any other iPad, the Apple Pencil 1 is what you need. 

So how much do they cost? The original Apple Pencil (released in November 2015) from the Apple Store has an RRP of $99/£89, while the Apple Pencil 2 (released in November 2018) will cost you $129/£119. 

So what can the best iPad apps and the slim white design beauty do for you? Here are four reasons why you should get one.

01. It's the perfect partner for drawing

If you’re an artist or illustrator, then the Apple Pencil is for you. It offers a smooth natural experience that recreates the smooth flow of a brush or pencil. The low latency means that there is no lag between the movement of the pencil and what appears on screen. Plus, the pressure sensitive tip gives greater control on how strokes appear on screen. You can create realistic, subtle shading and produce a wide range of smart-looking artistic effects.

There's no need for a rubber, simply experiment, practise and play with your styles and tools. Quickly switch tools with a double tap and delete whatever you don’t like with the eraser. And you won't waste any paper. 

02. It's much more precise than a finger

The fine point of the Apple Pencil gives you greater control over all your interactions with the UI. Sometimes a finger is just a little too big to accurately tap or select what you want on screen. Who wants to zoom in every time you need to pinpoint what you need?

The Pencil is great for highlighting text in an article, something that is really frustrating with a finger. It also enables you to get fine control over sliders in the settings of your favourite app and navigate more precisely on the web, meaning you're less likely to miss links or buttons. 

03. Get more from design apps

The right apps make the the Apple Pencil even more powerful and useful. There is a plethora of apps that complement the stylus and give it a real purpose. See our best iPad apps for designers that make the most of the Apple Pencil for a full list.

For example, if you want to turn your iPad into a graphics tablet, you could try the Astropad app. If you’re an artist, designer or illustrator, you can get your hands on Affinity Designer for iPad, the ever-popular Procreate software and as you would expect a host of Adobe tools, including the new Adobe Fresco (read our Adobe Fresco review here). 

If you're looking to build 3D models then try Shapr 3D or even uMake for more casual 3D design.

04. Write, sign and annotate documents

The Apple Pencil is not all about the creative, it has plenty to offer on the business side of things. Imagine you are sitting in a meeting and need to take notes and create drafts. You can quickly scribble down notes, highlight keys areas and circle critical information, and all without killing a forest.

If you need to sign a digital document then the Apple Pencil is also useful. You can add an extra level of security to a digital signature by recreating your unique signature just like when you sign with pen and paper. Got a document that needs more information? It might be time to call upon the Pencil to quickly add annotations and markup ready to share with your colleagues.

If you're convinced you need an Apple Pencil, see today's best deals on an Apple Pencil 1 and 2 below. See our Apple Pencil 1 review for more on the first incarnation of the device.

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Steven Jenkins is a freelance content creator who has worked in the creative industry for over 20 years. The web and design are in his blood. He started out as a web designer before becoming the editor of Web Designer magazine and later net magazine. Loud guitars, AFC Bournemouth, Photoshop, CSS, and trying to save the world take up the rest of this time.