Hands-On With the iPad Pro Apple Pencil

The Apple Pencil has technically been available for purchase since last week, but supplies of the iPad Pro accessory have been tight. Orders placed on launch day, November 11, are just starting to arrive to customers this week, and retail stores only began receiving reliable shipments starting yesterday.

We picked up an Apple Pencil yesterday afternoon and did a hands-on video to give MacRumors readers a look at the highly sought iPad Pro accessory.

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The Apple Pencil is an accessory that's unique to the iPad Pro and was built from the ground up alongside the tablet. It's aimed at creative professionals who need a more precise tool for sketching, drawing, writing, and other tasks where accuracy is imperative.

Pressure and positioning sensors built into the Apple Pencil let it detect a range of forces, enabling pressure sensitive writing and drawing. When used with the iPad Pro, the tablet scans the signal coming from the device more than 240 times per second, resulting in the low latency levels seen in the video.

Tilt sensors in the tip of the Apple Pencil determine the orientation and the angle of the hand holding it, so it's possible to do things like shading by using the side of the tip. Apple has designed the Apple Pencil to work alongside a finger, so it can be used simultaneously with touch gestures. It also has palm rejection technology, so you can rest your hand on the iPad Pro screen when drawing or writing.

There's a Lightning connector at the bottom of the Apple Pencil that's used for charging. It has a 12 hour battery life but can also charge enough for a half hour of use in 15 seconds, so it will never be non-functional in a pinch.

The Apple Pencil can be purchased from the online Apple Store for $99. Orders placed now won't arrive until December, so customers seeking an Apple Pencil may have better luck in retail Apple Stores.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro

Top Rated Comments

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53 months ago

100 dollars....hahahahaha...to this day that joke still kills me. What a terrible product.

If you're a professional artist it's not at all stupid, nor expensive. People pay thousands of dollars for Wacom Cintiqs, which are basically big iPads with pressure-sensitive styli.

That's like saying a monitor calibration device is "terrible". If you don't know what to do with it, it's a stupid purchase. If you know how to use it and have a need for it, it's not.
Rating: 64 Votes
53 months ago

100 dollars....hahahahaha...to this day that joke still kills me. What a terrible product.

The Wacom Classic Pen that I use costs around $70, is made of cheap rubberized plastic, has no internal battery and uses replaceable "nibs" that wear down very quickly, requiring constant replacement. It only works with 2 models of Wacom products, which at minimum cost $250 for a small slab of plastic with 8 buttons, no screen, and a usable surface about as big as the iPad mini. The drivers for these Wacom products are so poorly maintained, that for over 2 years now, scrollbars in photoshop and keyframes in After Effects get "stuck" to the cursor, require multiple clicks and redos on a consistent basis. Wacom recently introduced an accessory remote with 17 blank, user defineable buttons, for the low price of $100. What you see as overpriced, I see as Wacom finally having some competition to drive their miserable prices down and their poor quality up.
Rating: 35 Votes
53 months ago

Question: Has anyone ACTUALLY tried to use the Apple Pencil AT ALL with an iPad OTHER THAN the iPad Pro?

Why would anyone do that? Has anyone tried using a car on a canal?
Rating: 27 Votes
53 months ago

Please don't compare it to Wacom. Wacom's sensitivity is million times better, and it has pen incline detection, which really makes it a professional product. And Wacom pens start from $30, up to $70 for advanced models. Apple pencil is a toy

So would you be willing to submit your extensive evaluation of the Apple Pencil for all of us to read/watch? Since you've obviously used it extensively in order to come to this conclusion.
Rating: 26 Votes
53 months ago

Question: Has anyone ACTUALLY tried to use the Apple Pencil AT ALL with an iPad OTHER THAN the iPad Pro?

I have. It randomly capitalizes my words whilst typing.
Rating: 14 Votes
53 months ago

It is available from Apple right now.

I don't think that means what you think it means.
Rating: 12 Votes
53 months ago

The problems with the iPad pro and pencil for me are that firstly the pencil will be rendered useless by updates - in three year's time the built-in obsolescence lag you get on all iPhones/pads will make it far from practical compared to the usual slow reactions of swipes and presses you get on the other devices. Secondly the iPad will never really be "Pro" with no accessible folder structure for storing work projects and the like, it's just too locked down for anything remotely complex.

So you can't complete a project because you can't see a /User/Jimrod/Documents/ folder? Riaghhht ok.
Rating: 11 Votes
53 months ago
I really hope the Apple Pencil will be compatible with new iPad Air and Mini models next year. I love my iPad Mini and don't want a bigger iPad, but I'd love to use an Apple Pencil with it. It would be worth he upgrade to next year's Mini model if it would support the Pencil.
Rating: 10 Votes
53 months ago

The price for both aside, I just wish I could draw and could make use of these tools. Not to justify a purchase but because I have always wished I had the talent to create something from scratch the way I have seen some artists and animators do.

I'm sorry, but you're going to get in trouble if you don't say something snarky and negative about Apple, this product, the software, the supply chain, Tim Cook, Eddy Cue, Jony Ive, the Apple Watch, the iTunes Store or Apple Music. You should edit your post right away.

And you get extra points for mentioning what a failure the Apple TV is because Amazon hasn't decided to submit an app for it yet.
Rating: 9 Votes
53 months ago
I hope there will be applications which combine iPad Pro and Mac. Work on the Mac but use the iPad Pro with pencil as an input device. It seems so logical. Does anyone know if there are any such plans?
Rating: 8 Votes

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