If you wanted to buy one of the best iPads, one of your considerations was probably a stylus — the Apple Pencil is a popular stylus for the company’s tablets, allowing you to sketch, take notes, and easily navigate iPadOS.
Since its launch, the Apple Pencil for iPads has gone through two different iterations – the original version was launched in 2015 and the second-generation model came out in 2018 to work on newer iPads.
These two versions of the iPad stylus have lived in cozy harmony, working for different types of iPads, but a change in the new iPad (2022) threatens to ruin it all.
Apple Pencil problems
While the original iPad is a popular accessory, it’s not without its problems. First and foremost, it charges in a bizarre way: you have to uncap the end and plug that end into your iPad’s Lightning port.
You had to leave the stylus plugged into the tablet at an awkward angle for long periods of time, meaning there was a high risk of accidentally walking into the extended pencil and breaking the charging connector off the rest.
This is one of those design choices from Apple that has been mercilessly mocked, as has the wireless mouse with the plug on the bottom of the thing. It’s no wonder the Apple Pencil 2 was more popular, as it uses magnets to snap to the top of the iPad, where it charges wirelessly.
The rise of the Apple Pencil 2
The Apple Pencil 2 has been adopted by more and more iPads over the years, including the Pro, Air and 2021 Mini lines.
The reason for this is simple: Lightning ports are slowly falling away from iPads. The Air line fell behind in 2020, the Mini in 2021. Now only the entry-level models remain.
Without Lightning connectors, the original Apple Pencil doesn’t have a convenient way to charge; Unless you’re willing to play around with various adapters and dongles that Apple has sold in the past. The move to USB-C has been accompanied by a design overhaul for iPads to lighten the magnetic clip for charging the Apple Pencil 2.
And there lies the problem.
A USB-C iPad (2022)
A new leak suggests Apple’s entry-level iPad could get a USB-C port instead of Lightning in 2022. This would make it the last iPad line to ditch Apple’s proprietary charging technology, although iPhones still use it.
In that case, the first generation Apple Pencil would be completely redundant. There would be no new iPads that could make this possible, making it likely that Apple would retire the older device.
Unlike iPhones, Apple doesn’t sell previous-generation iPads, so accessories wouldn’t have to stay around to support different slates. No, there would be no reason for the company to make anything out of the seven-year-old stock.
Sure, some third-party vendors would probably have stocked 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 retiring its technology. It does this basically every year as new iterations of its annual products come out – and the original, cumbersome Apple Pencil eventually had to go.
And it’s about time, too — the way the pen is charged is so dumb it should never have made it past the drawing board.
Still, as the very first Apple Pencil, it would be big news if the company retired it.
If Apple just needs to make a stylus, we’d love to see it into the future and launch an Apple Pencil 3. The second-gen stick has fairly cumbersome controls and doesn’t have as many useful features as Samsung’s Pen S, and there are plenty of things Apple could improve with it.
As it stands, there are plenty of Apple Pencil alternatives that could steal the spotlight if Apple scaled back its stylus footprint.