Apple surprises with a new Apple Pencil Pro launch

During its “Let Loose” iPad event, Apple unveiled the third-generation Apple Pencil, featuring enhanced capabilities tailored for diverse creative tasks and integrated Find My support. Priced at $129, the same as its predecessor, this new iteration, dubbed the Apple Pencil Pro, introduces functionalities akin to dedicated drawing tablet pens, such as the innovative “Barrel Roll” gyroscope feature and a convenient squeeze gesture for seamless software function switching.

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This marks the first significant update to the Apple Pencil series since the unveiling of the second-generation model in 2018. While last year’s more affordable USB-C Apple Pencil expanded compatibility across a wider array of iPad models, it sacrificed advanced features like pressure sensitivity and double-tap tool switching, limiting its utility for graphic design and 3D sculpting tasks.

Retaining the advanced features of its predecessor, the Apple Pencil Pro introduces novel functionalities, including a squeeze gesture reminiscent of the Apple AirPods Pro 2 stem, enabling swift access to a palette for tool, colour, and line weight adjustments, along with haptic feedback for tactile interaction.

The integration of Apple’s Find My system addresses a common concern among users prone to misplacing their stylus, offering peace of mind and ease of retrieval. As someone who has experienced the frustration and expense of replacing a lost Apple Pencil, I appreciate this added feature.

Furthermore, developers can leverage the Apple Pencil Pro’s capabilities to craft custom interactions, enhancing creative workflows. For instance, Procreate CEO James Cuda envisions brushes responding uniquely to the Barrel Roll feature or utilizing the squeeze gesture for activating software shortcuts, facilitating innovative artistic expressions and animation techniques.

However, the Apple Pencil Pro’s compatibility is restricted to the newly announced M2 iPad Air and M4 OLED iPad Pro models, limiting its accessibility for users with older hardware. While offering improved software shortcut accessibility compared to its predecessors, some creative professionals may still prefer the comfort and customization offered by dedicated drawing tablet pens like Wacom’s Movink 13.