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Apple Pencil 3 needs this upgrade to be a better iPad accessory

Published Feb 17th, 2024 10:33AM EST
Apple Pencil 3 Hover Procreate
Image: Apple

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With the OLED iPad Pro just around the corner, I can’t stop thinking about the Apple Pencil 3. While this accessory was first rumored (by a sketchy source) to arrive late last year, Apple did, in fact, introduce a new Pencil as a low-cost option for USB-C iPad models.

While some people thought this addition only made the lineup more complicated, the buying experience is very straightforward:

  • First-gen: iPad with Lightning + iPad 10 with an adapter
  • Second-gen: iPad with USB-C, despite iPad 10
  • USB-C: All USB-C iPad models
Apple Pencil 1, 2, and USB-C.Image source: Apple Inc.

That said, X leaker Majin Bu said Apple is readying an Apple Pencil 3 with interchangeable magnetic tips, which would improve drawing, technical drawing, and painting techniques. Still, no other report has corroborated this supposed change.

On the other hand, 9to5Mac‘s Filipe Espósito discovered that Apple is working on enabling the Find My feature for an upcoming Pencil model. Although it’s unclear at this moment if the next Pencil would work like a MagSafe Wallet or AirTag, at least iPadOS could always remind you when you attach the Pencil to your iPad.

In addition, Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman also says an Apple Pencil 3 (and a revamped Magic Keyboard) is in the works, although he didn’t share any other tidbits. With all that in mind, I hope Apple improves this experience with the next accessory.

Apple Pencil 3 should learn from the USB-C model

iPad Air 5 with Apple PencilImage source: Apple Inc.

While the low-cost USB-C Apple Pencil might be good for customers who don’t own a wireless pencil yet, another reason to choose this model over the second-generation option is that it doesn’t drain the iPad’s battery.

If you’re familiar with the Apple Pencil 2, you know that it can magnetically attach to your iPad and keep the charge, which is very handy. That said, it’s not as efficient as AirPods in their charging case. Both your iPad and Pencil might be out of power when you need them.

For iPad Pro users, this is especially challenging when the Magic Keyboard and the Pencil are draining the tablet’s battery. With that in mind, Apple has two choices with the next model: Improve how Apple Pencil 3 holds its charge without killing the iPad’s battery or add an internal USB-C port so users can charge the iPad independently while still offering magnetic pairing.

Wrap up

The first option seems more likely than the second. Still, I’m not so sure about it. There are high hopes for the OLED iPad Pro, and I hope this will be the tablet that will make me return to the iPad. And to ensure that the accessories will play a significant role in its success.

BGR will report back once we learn more about a future Apple Pencil or when Apple decides to announce the long-awaited OLED iPad Pro.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.