Apple Pencil USB-C: all you need to know about the new Apple Pencil

Apple Pencil USB
(Image credit: Apple)

A new Apple Pencil has just been announced. But before you get too excited, rather than the new Pencil being a leap forward in terms of design and features, this feels like more of a side-step. The Apple Pencil USB-C (catchy name, we know) sits in the middle of the first and second gen Apple Pencils. It doesn't have pressure sensitivity, but it does attach magnetically to the iPad, but you can't charge it from there. We know.

There were plenty of rumours around before the release of this new Apple Pencil, but in all honesty, they were all wrong. This new release has made it even more confusing to find out which Apple Pencil you need – see our Apple Pencil 1 vs Apple Pencil 2 guide for more on that or read on to find out more about compatibility.

And if you find yourself confused by this release, you're not alone. Our senior news editor is calling it as baffling as last year's iPad.

Apple Pencil USB-C: design

Apple Pencil USB

A fan-made render of an Apple Pencil with a rotating tip (Image credit: Apple)

One of the most notable rumours before this release suggested that a rotating dial could be added to the tip of the pencil. This, sadly, has not come to fruition and we've got a Pencil that looks pretty much exactly the same as the Apple Pencil 2, with the addition of the USB-C charging port hidden inside the top. 

There were also rumours about a black edition of the Apple Pencil, and those weren't correct either; the Pencil still comes in just one colour, white.

Apple Pencil USB-C: compatibility 

Apple Pencil USB

(Image credit: Apple)

The new Apple Pencil works with the latest iPad (10th generation), as well as all iPad models that have a USB-C port, including iPad Pro, iPad Air and iPad mini. So that's not the 9th generation iPad, but basically all the other iPad generations that are currently available – the iPad (10th gen), iPad Air (4th and 5th gen), iPad Pro 11-inch (1-4th gen), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd-6th gen) and iPad mini (6th gen).

Apple Pencil USB-C: features

(Image credit: Apple)

The latest Pencil differs from the other Pencils in a few ways. It doesn't have pressure sensitivity, which means it won't be a good option for artists, but will work better for those who want to use it for note-taking or to navigate around their iPad.

Like the Apple Pencil 2 but not the Apple Pencil 1, it attaches magnetically to your iPad. The difference between the 2 and this new USB-C version is that the latter doesn't automatically charge when attached to the iPad. You'll need to charge it via the USB-C slot hidden in the top of the Pencil. At least you won't have to worry about losing your Apple Pencil.

Unlike the first-gen Apple Pencil, this new Pencil supports Apple Pencil hover on iPad Pro, so you can preview your marks before you make them. 

There's no double-tap to change tools and there's no free engraving, unlike with the Apple Pencil 2.

Apple Pencil USB-C: pricing and release date

The new Pencil will be available at a cost of $79, compared with $129 for the Apple Pencil 2 and $99 for the first generation Apple Pencil. The new USB-C Apple Pencil will be available in early November.

Don't forget – there are plenty of other options out there too. For our pick of the best, check out our guide to the best Apple Pencil alternatives. You might also want to see our pick of the best iPad cases with pencil holders.

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Rosie Hilder

Rosie Hilder is Creative Bloq's Deputy Editor. After beginning her career in journalism in Argentina – where she worked as Deputy Editor of Time Out Buenos Aires – she moved back to the UK and joined Future Plc in 2016. Since then, she's worked as Operations Editor on magazines including Computer Arts, 3D World and Paint & Draw and Mac|Life. In 2018, she joined Creative Bloq, where she now assists with the daily management of the site, including growing the site's reach, getting involved in events, such as judging the Brand Impact Awards, and helping make sure our content serves the reader as best it can.