If you’re looking to buy one of the best iPads, one of your considerations has probably been a stylus – the Apple Pencil is a popular stylus for the company’s tablets that lets you draw, take notes, and easily navigate iPadOS.
Since its first introduction, the Apple Pencil for iPad has gone through two different iterations – the original version was introduced in 2015 and the second generation model arrived in 2018, to work on newer iPads.
These two versions of the iPad stylus have lived in comfortable harmony, working for different types of iPads, but a change in the new iPad (2022) threatens to ruin all that.
Apple Pencil problems
Although a popular accessory, the original iPad isn’t without its issues. Mainly, it charges in a weird way: you have to remove a cap from the end and plug that end into your iPad’s Lightning port.
Doing this meant you had to leave the stylus plugged into the tablet at a weird angle for a while, which meant there was a big risk of accidentally stepping into the extended stylus and breaking the rest’s charging jack.
It’s one of those design decisions by Apple that has been mercilessly mocked, just like the wireless mouse with the plug at the bottom of the thing. It’s no wonder the Apple Pencil 2 is more popular, as it uses magnets to attach to the top of the iPad where it charges wirelessly.
The rise of the Apple Pencil 2
The Apple Pencil 2 has found itself adopted by more and more iPads, including the Pro, Air and in 2021 Mini ranges, over the years.
The reason is simple: Lightning ports are slowly dying out of iPads. The Air line lost the port in 2020 while the Mini did in 2021. Only the entry-level models remain.
Without Lightning ports, the original Apple Pencil has no convenient way to charge; not unless you’re willing to play around with various adapters and dongles that Apple has sold in the past. The switch to USB-C has been accompanied by a redesign of iPads, to facilitate the magnetic clip to charge the Apple Pencil 2.
And therein lies the problem.
A USB-C iPad (2022)
A new leak suggests that Apple’s entry-level iPad in 2022 could have a USB-C port instead of Lightning. This would make it the last line of iPads to ditch Apple’s proprietary charging technology, although iPhones still use it.
If that happened, the first-generation Apple Pencil would be completely redundant. There wouldn’t be any new iPads that could make it easier, which makes it likely that Apple will retire the old gadget.
Unlike iPhones, Apple doesn’t sell previous-generation iPads, so it wouldn’t need to keep the accessory to support different slates. No, there would be no reason for the company to manufacture more of the seven-year-old stick.
Sure, some third-party retailers would likely stock the original Apple Pencil, but if Apple fully embraced USB-C, the stylus’ days would be numbered.
The future of the Apple Pencil 3
Apple is no stranger to abandoning its technology. It basically does this every year when new iterations of its annual products come out – and the original, clunky Apple Pencil eventually had to go.
And it was about time – the stylus charging method is so dumb it should never have passed the drawing board.
Still, as the first-ever Apple Pencil, if the company retired it would be big news.
If Apple only has one stylus to make, we’d love to see it look to the future and release an Apple Pencil 3. The second-gen stick has some pretty clunky controls and doesn’t come with as many features. useful than the Samsung S. Pen, and there are many things Apple could do to improve.
As it stands, there are plenty of Apple Pencil alternatives that could steal the show if Apple reduces the presence of its stylus.