Images supposedly depicting a third-generation Apple Pencil have been shared on Twitter by the leaker known as "Mr. White."
The purported new Apple Pencil appears to share a very similar design to the current, second-generation Apple Pencil, which is shorter than the previous version and charges inductively on the side of an iPad.
The updated Apple Pencil appears to have a glossy finish, much like that used on the first-generation Apple Pencil or AirPods, rather than the matte white finish used on the second version of the accessory.
The other notable difference is the Apple Pencil's tip. The first and second-generation Apple Pencil have small, screw-on tips that are able to be easily replaced when worn out. This updated model seems to have a considerably larger tip component, with a much longer section that screws into the Apple Pencil itself. It is unclear why a new version of the Apple Pencil may have a redesigned tip, but it is likely indicative of internal design changes.
The redesigned head may signal that new functionality is coming to the Apple Pencil's tip. In July last year, Apple applied for a patent regarding an Apple Pencil tip that would allow the device to sample colors from the real world via a color sensor, so it is clear that Apple is interested in expanding the utility of its iPad stylus.
All in all, the image suggests that the new Apple Pencil's upgrades may be more focused on the internals of the accessory rather than any significant external design changes. Nevertheless, it is not unreasonable to expect some added functionality over the current model to justify a new iteration of the device.
"Mr. White" has previously leaked correct images of the iPad mini 5, the back glass of the Graphite iPhone 12 Pro, the iPhone 12 mini's display, and A14 chip components. Other leaks, such as a braided Lightning cable and a black Apple Pencil color option, have not yet emerged, but overall "Mr. White" does seem to have a reliable track record.
It is also important to note that new iPad Pro models are expected to arrive this month, so the timeframe of this leak may add to its reliability. The new iPad Pro models are expected to feature upgraded A-series chips and mini-LED displays, all in a largely unchanged design.