Apple Pencil image 002

Apple’s new $99 stylus accessory, the Apple Pencil, has a lot more going than it looks at first blush.

In addition to its somewhat timeless design, remarkable precision and lag-free performance (courtesy of the iPad Pro’s improved multitouch technology), the clean-looking sliver of white plastic also utilizes super-fast charging via the iPad Pro’s Lightning port, a first for an iOS device.

In fact, you’ll be amazed to learn that it takes less time to provide 30 minutes’ worth of power to the Apple Pencil than it will take you to read this article.

Ultra-fast charging

According to Apple, it only takes a remarkable fifteen seconds to provide 30 minutes’ worth of power to the Apple Pencil when connected to the iPad Pro’s Lightning port.

That’s a lot of sketching and usage time based on just fifteen seconds of charging, if you ask me. Based on that data point, we can roughly extrapolate that it probably takes about six to eight minutes to fully charge the Pencil.

Apple Pencil charging times image 003

Again, this is just an extrapolation based on the fifteen second claim. It doesn’t help much that Apple does not list the Pencil’s battery capacity on its website.

We must also take into account that charging times typically grow longer after the battery has zoomed past the eighty percent mark, like on your iPhone and iPad for example.

Apple says that fully charged Pencil provides a total of twelve hours of use, which is quite impressive until you compare it to FiftyThree’s much-praised Pencil stylus which lasts for up to an incredible ninety days.

Apple Pencil vs FiftyThree Pencil

Moreover, FiftyThree’s stylus (shown below) has an eraser at the other end, unlike Apple’s Pencil. On the other hand, the iPad Pro can simultaneously accept input from both your fingers and the Apple Pencil.

Fifty-Three Pencil (image 001)

Both accessories sense varying degrees of pressure and let you draw at various angles to create thicker or thinner lines and shades.

“Apple Pencil is designed to look and feel like a familiar tool,” says the Cupertino firm.

“Yet with its meticulously engineered technology, working with our most advanced Multi-Touch display, it delivers an extraordinary new level of precision.” The company makes a point of the fact that the stylus’s latency has been reduced to an almost imperceptible level.

Latency, latency, latency

When your iPad Pro senses an Apple Pencil, “the subsystem scans its signal at an astounding 240 times per second, giving it twice the data points it normally collects with your finger,” resulting in only milliseconds between the image you have in your mind and the one you see on the display. They’re also using software wizardry like iOS 9’s brand new predictive touch tracking.

To learn more about the technology behind the Apple Pencil, check out the company’s remarkable sleek video embedded below.

Don’t see the video embed? Watch it on YouTube.

The iPad Pro, the Apple Pencil and third-party apps optimized for both the new tablet and stylus will be available from late November.

The Apple Pencil is a $99 value and the iPad Pro starts at $749 for the baseline model with thirty-two gigabytes of storage.

Charging via Lightning

As mentioned, the Pencil charges through your iPad Pro’s Lightning port, marking the firs time the company has allowed an accessory to be charged through an iOS device’s internal battery.

In a typical Apple fashion, the Pencil’s Lightning connector is slightly elongated so you can charge the connected stylus even when the iPad Pro is in its case. Another accessory that will also be recharged via Lightning: the new Apple TV’s Siri Remote.

Apple Pencil image 001

Apple Pencil vs Wacom Cintiq

Former Apple designer Linda Dong opined in an interview with Cult of Mac today that the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil are game changer for graphic designers due to their lag-free performance and robust software support.

Comparing the iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil with Wacom’s Cintiq lineup of graphics tablets, she said Apple’s stylus lets you “actually feel like the pencil is leaving ink and can see the outcome of your drawing as it’s happening.”

Contrast this to the Cintiq’s unbearable latency causing her to “visibly see as I wait for my stroke to catch up with my Cintiq pen.”

Wrapping up

How do you like the Apple Pencil so far?

I will be purchasing it for sure because it’s virtually lag free, unlike the vast majority of styli out there. On the other hand, as great as Lightning charging is I’m not sure I like the idea of a rod sticking out of my yet-to-be-purchased iPad Pro.

Apple Pencil charging times image 002

If I were Apple, I would have pushed the team to design a stylus that charges through the iPad Pro’s 3-pin Smart Connector, currently used to charge and magnetically attach the Smart Keyboard.

Doing so would have also allowed the Apple Pencil to rest magnetically on the iPad Pro’s side—but hey, what do I know?

Source: Apple

  • Bybymax

    Nice article. I won’t go for this Ipad as I don’t need it but your idea of charging through the smart connector is great. Let’s hope Tim reads it as well 😉

  • That_Fruitarian

    I think I’m gonna replace my notebook with the iPad pro.

    • Merman123


      • That_Fruitarian

        How come?

      • Merman123

        Of course all this will be personal opinion but here it goes. At its current state, the current iPad pro is nothing more than a powerful iPad running iOS. The problem being the ladder. Nothing has really changed from what we previously had other than bumped up specs and a huge screen. In my opinion the size of the screen wasn’t really the problem, but what it’s running. Running iOS completely limits the device to it being a tablet and not a potential MacBook replacement. Sure there’s some nice multitasking in iOS 9, but not at the potential it has. This iPad calls for a hybrid of iOS and OSX. Just looking at the home screen on the iPad pro shows you how much wasted real estate is there. If you are looking for an awesome iPad then by all means this is it. But if you’re trying to replace your laptop, I believe you will often find yourself limited or in an inferior experience to that of a MacBook.

      • That_Fruitarian

        My notebook isn’t the only Mac in my household. My wife has the new MacBook and I also have a Mac mini.

      • Micrones

        I assume that with all the gadgets stated in your home and your supposed user case presently and moving forward, you don’t really use them for serious work apart light tasks and by all means, the iPad Pro will work for you.

      • That_Fruitarian

        My work is very serious… I suppose everyone’s work is serious?!? Fortunately for me, I can do my job from either a PC or a tablet. And more importantly since I have three macs already, parting ways with the notebook, isn’t a big deal.

      • Micrones

        Not saying your work is not serious per say.
        For instance, there is no way on earth you can do any form of spreadsheet analysis or financial modelling on an ipad Pro no matter how desktop class the processor is.

        Nor can you do any serious video editing requiring high resolution videos, including some detailed level of engineering or architectural drawings.

        Even a serious programmer or coder will struggle with using an ipad pro for serious work
        Having 3 macs in the house means you have other equipment for some serious tasks

      • That_Fruitarian

        Yep!! So it’s bye bye retina MacBook Pro and hello iPad pro!!!

      • aj123

        What is the point of an iPad?
        I use my iPhone 6 Plus and Macbook Pro and i’m good. I bought an iPad once and used it for 2 weeks. Got sick of it and returned it!

      • Armando Carlos

        I mainly use my iPhone for calls, texts and as a last resort so I don’t run the battery down, I’m a contractor and use the iPad all day everyday. When I walk a new project I take photos and with the keyboard it’s much easier to type up notes and budgets, then back in the office I will view my notes and photos on the iPad, while typing up a scope of work and proposal sometimes while discussing with the client on the phone. It’s a little difficult doing all that with the iPhone alone.

      • Armando Carlos

        Also now with the pencil I can draw floor plans and show changes, mark up photos much easier and more accurately. I couldn’t live without my iPad.

      • Jaque

        I’ve bought the ipad pro 10.5 a week ago and I already returned the keyboard.
        I’ll keep the ipad, but it will never replace a computer

      • David Burnham

        I use my PC as a PC. My phone as a phone, And my tablet as a tablet.

      • I did the same. Use the Mac mini if I absolutely have to which hasn’t happened yet

      • Micrones

        You nailed it perfectly well

      • steiney

        I’ve just got to chime in here! I’ve got a rMBP and iPhone and definitely have no need for an iPad. I won one in a raffle draw at a business event I attended so I tried using it. I enjoyed playing a few games on it here and there but eventually I was needing a new alarm clock so I turned it into the most awesome bedside alarm clock ever and I’ve been totally happy with that. I wish I could afford to piss away $750 on an iPad Pro to do that with!

      • Micrones

        I concur. Sold my iPad Air once I bought my iPhone 6plus.
        Use my rMBP and IMac Including my Win 10 desktop for my work. There is no way the iPad Pro can work for what I do !

    • smh

      This is quite possibly the dumbest thing i’ve read since its unveiling

      • That_Fruitarian


    • Micrones

      Depends on your user case and what you use your iPad for.
      For serious work that involves heavy spreadsheet analysis and modelling or even some architectural design work. it will be seriously lacking.
      Personally, there is no way an iPad can compete with a laptop or desktop for some serious productivity tasks
      You cannot even perform a medium level of video editing on it based on the OS it runs

      • Ishaan Malhotra

        Not true based on what Tim showcased last time on the iPad air 2 and obviously the pro has better specs, hence could handle all the heavy stuff. I could be wrong though.

      • Micrones

        I don’t think you have ever worked in places where serious spreadsheet analysis and modeling is done
        It’s not only about the hardware but the dexterity of the OS!
        Some heavy analysis slows down on a typical i7 desktops! And that iPad pro specs aren’t even up to that class

      • IanBlackburn

        All this talk about “Serious work” and “Serious spreadsheet analysis” is very presumptuous about what people other than you do. I have been using spreadsheets on my iPad for years and it is certainly serious to me in building forecasts and business planning. You’re probably referring to some bigger number crunching but it doesn’t mean you are the only person doing “serious” work and it doesn’t mean an iPad can’t fulfil the needs of many professionals who are doing things you are not.

      • Micrones

        Again, you seem to have missed the point……

        Serious work depends on the individual and what they do and its certainly not presumptuous, you can do
        lightweight business planning and forecasting on the iPad obviously…., i do that all the time
        Do try to run a 10,000 rows spreadsheet on your Ipad and tell me how you fared…..

        The point is when what you are doing is intensive and requires speed and memory intensive,then the Ipad wont cut it. I can count the number of times my I7 dektop with 8gb RAM struggles with some work and even basic design.

        Intensive number crunching or visualization on any spreadsheet or even design work will suffer on the iPad and smart enterprise customers know that.

        By the way, you can fixate on the word “serious” if it makes you happy.. 😉

      • IanBlackburn

        I think you have missed the point my friend. A serious spreadsheet does not need 10,000 rows; it does of course depends on what you are doing with it, and it is ludicrous to argue that enterprises are only serious if they have spreadsheets with 10,000 rows and that everyone is doing memory intensive number crunching or visualisations.

        You are right I probably am a bit fixated on the phase “doing serious work” because it is trotted out in pretty much all these discussions; it’s a lazy phrase and the point I am making is that it means very little.

      • Ishaan Malhotra

        Hmm..All i use is basic Autocad :p

    • KimAnh Võ

      I love my iPad pro!

  • Himanshu Oberoi

    Many people are mocking Apple for It’s Apple Pencil but they should understand that Apple has developed Apple Pencil specifically for iPad Pro and In my view most of the iPad Pro owner would be either Architect or Designer! And this Pencil would give them a edge in their design!

    • Edge without compatibility with all the advanced software they use is useless…

      • Himanshu Oberoi

        Maybe Pencil is also use as a marketing strategy to promote iPad Pro!

  • Will Maitner

    I can’t help but wonder, since the cap covering the lightning port on the Pencil is magnetic, maybe it will stick to the smart connector. Just have to wait and see.

  • Bugs Bunnay

    Remarkable? Well think about it. It’s not like its powering a screen.

  • :D

    I’m gonna go with 10 mins +

  • Anthony Lara

    Only 99$! This is actually quite a steal guys.

    • leart

      make a offer

  • wswalex

    if u draw or write a lot the pencil is +1 but one day that lighting port is gonna die.. look how its charging! ugly and stupid and u cant charge it anywhere else…

  • cordell

    you gotta charge a pencil that is stupid

  • PJ

    Definitely getting an iPad Pro. I’m a graphic designer and this thing is a beast! Charging the Apple Pencil on the side of the IPad is a good idea but one of them is going to have to have those 3 pins coming out of its side. It won’t look good.

  • InfinitePlusOne

    There’s no UK price for iPad Pro

  • “ontrast this to the Cintiq’s unbearable latency causing her to “visibly see as I wait for my stroke to catch up with my Cintiq pen.””

    Proudly lying through their teeth…typical Apple. The Cintiq doesn’t suffer from that BS and thousands of pro artists on YouTube are witness to that.

    Only advantage this offers over a Cintiq is ability to use both the digitizer and pen at the same time, but nothing major about that given advanced software like Adobe Illustrator.

  • singhay559

    Shitty as ipad pro

    • aj123

      Why would I want a souped up iPad(limited os) with a key board when I can already do everything on my Macbook Pro or Macbook Air???

  • xBoomBastiKx

    Is the primary drawing app in the video the new photoshop sketch or?

  • theemptyhead

    Stylus that needs to be charged….charge from ipad as if ipad doesn’t need to be charged…..needs bluetooth to connect…..hahahaha….. and 100buck for that….prolly need another pencil box which will cost about 30buck i guess…or maybe ipad pro case with pencil holder that will cost around 80buck…

    Apple really knows how to steal money from apple fans.

  • Matt

    I still do not understand why it should be charged…

  • GraemeP

    The extrapolation re charge time probs doesn’t work as batteries charge more quickly during initial faze of charge and slow off as they get fuller. I’ve got an Apple Pencil and haven’t got a clue how long to leave the thing plugged in for…

    • LDR

      12 minutes will charge it for 12 hours.

  • Santano Fernandes

    yes, the charging of the pencil is so antique and not like from Apple. The charging through lightning Port from IPad Pro is not convenient at all, surprising how and why apple did not think to charge or design a pencil which can charge via smart connector as mentioned above. When I saw the charging from lightning port and this penicil sticking out like a work of an ordinary craftsman, I had thought the same why it could not be designed for charging through smart connector. And right finally same here “What do I know ? ” . Today the main problem with the Giant tech companies are they are in so much hurry and because of the competition they don’t come out with fully prepared or well designed products, but only half designed and the other half although it is in their mind, they will release it later by another model etc. although they announce it much earlier. This why customers are getting pissed off with the Tech Industry because it is not WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get ) but it is WYSIWIYTC (What you see is what is yet to come) . Microsoft Announce that with Ipad Pro you can use the pencil to annotate, mark, sign, add notes etc to the document, this was announced in October 2015, but still not released and I wasted 8 days talking to the Microsoft guys.

  • I’ve had the iPad Pro and pencil for a week and LOVE IT. Feel free to ask me quesitons.

  • Miranda Snyder

    15 seconds of charging = 30 minutes of use? So is it reasonable to think that if the fully charged pencil lasts 12 hours then it takes 6 minutes to charge? I tested this claim (my claim) and got a different number. My Apple Pencil is new, the day I got it I charged it then drained it, then charged it fully again. From 5% battery to 100%, it took 15 minutes. Factors included, it was plugged into my iPad Pro, and the screen was at rest. I had to wake the iPad pro 3 times to check on charge status of the pencil.

    1 month later I tested again. Just today. Pencil went down to 5%, it took 18 minutes to fully charge.

    Not sure if the pencil is faulty (performs just fine and lasts about 12 hours) or if their testing conditions in the research and development phase were skewed by unknown factors.

  • Mitchell Maiman

    The Apple Pencil has several extremely serious flaws that are incredibly annoying and should have been obvious to Apple’s designers:

  • Carl

    I just purchased the 9.7″ iPad Pro specifically because I wanted to use the pencil and I am extremely pleased with my purchase. The pencil is absolutely fantastic. I am someone who tried every stylus, Evernote’s one, Paper 53’s Pencil, and I can safely say, this is by far the best.

  • Frankie Tommy DeVito

    I did pick up the Pro 12 in a few weeks ago. I admit I had no interest in this back in the fall when it came out, I actually laughed at the darn Pencil – I did mess with it at the Apple store..yeah I got hooked. The price on Amazon from certain sellers dropped dramatically and I had gift cards going back to 2014…so I bit the bullet and got this thing pretty darn cheap. So far I personally love it, It’s probably not for everyone and no, this will not take over my iMac or MBP. The Pencil..yeah I paid pretty much retail for it. The apps are pretty decent and the power of the Pro is impressive. What sold me – along with the Pencil is the Astropad app. This allows me to mirror my iMac screen on the iPad via I can launch the full Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop…etc ..zoom in and do fine precise editing on the iPad using the Pencil – whatever you do on the iPad shows up on your desktop program in real time. No delay/ far this is probably the most impressive feature I’ve been using (yeah, the app is 30 bucks for the iPad, free for iPhone if you want to play with Pencil support though. Free app for the iMac/OS versions) Battery on the iPad is impressive so far. the Pencil, again I laughed at the “charging” when it came out, but when you have to…it’s extremely fast. Literally took me 20 minutes from a 15% to 100% – You can swipe down on the iPad screen – “Notifications” screen to see the status of % battery on Pencil and iPad. I read the comments below, I get the joke…I laughed as well. But right now, I like it. (I am a tad fearful of this latest IOS update..I know its ‘bricking’ some 9.7″ the point Apple removed it – Still shows up on mine…but Im not even risking installing this 5, 6 days later until I know 100% certain it wont ‘brick’ my 12″ iPad.)

  • Mir Owais

    If the Apple pencil can charge via the iPad why not include a wireless charging iPhone which can also additionally charge the Apple Watch

  • Arlene

    I just got the new iPad Pro 10.5 and the Apple pen. Is there any way to tell how much the pen is charged? Can you use it on any app or does it have to be certain ones? I tried on notes, but it didn’t work!

    Any suggestions?