Apple just announced a new Apple Pencil Pro, and it’s so much better than I expected

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May 7, 2024

Apple just announced a new iPad Air and iPad Pro, bringing in more powerful tablets and OLED displays for the Pro models. However, I’m more hyped about the accessories; in particular, the new Apple Pencil Pro. 

The Apple Pencil Pro offers a whole new range of features and upgrades that have me super excited to get back into digital art. The pencil now offers a new barrel sensor, which means you can squeeze the pen lightly to bring up a new tool panel (similar to how you pinch your AirPods to pause and play music). 

No longer will you be holding a static stick of plastic; the Apple Pencil Pro is incredibly responsive thanks to the addition of haptics. Alongside that, you can now roll the new Apple Pencil to control the selected brush or editing tool, opening the doors to more depth to art or 3D models and allowing you to take full control of your work.

Pro-creation

(Image credit: Apple)

The announcement featured James Cuda, the CEO of popular art tool Procreate, to introduce all the cool new things Apple Pencil Pro can facilitate. 

My favorite as a novice Procreate user, is the ability to hover and squeeze the pencil to swap between layers, which is an absolute lifesaver when you’re creating art and get lost between the dozens of layers you end up needing. The roll feature also debuts alongside new brushes in Procreate for you to take advantage of. 

(Image credit: Apple)

As for Procreate Dreams animators, don’t worry, you’ve not been left out: you’ll be able to pick up and swipe over elements of your drawing in Procreate and swipe them right over to Dream with the Apple Pencil Pro. Plus, if you wish to animate only a single element in the frame, you can use the pencil to manipulate the object to add a more realistic ‘free-hand’ look. 

Perhaps my favorite new feature of the Apple Pencil Pro is the support for Find My tracking system, which could be an absolute lifesaver for users who misplace Apple products. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost my Apple Pencil, just to have to tear the whole house apart looking for it because it’s not supported like my Airpods or iPhone.

A pricey professional Pencil

(Image credit: Apple)

In terms of pricing, the Apple Pencil Pro retails for $129 / £129 / AU$219 on the Apple Store, which makes it the most expensive Apple Pencil on the site. The price does seem a little steep, especially since the older versions are not nearly as expensive. But it is a ‘Pro’ device (something that has consistently been associated with higher prices in Apple’s product lineup) and has a whole bunch of new features, so I can’t be too mad about it.

Of course, the Apple Pencil Pro will charge and store magnetically to the side of your iPad. However, according to the Apple website the Apple Pencil Pro is only compatible with the new M2 iPad Air and M4 iPad Pro. As someone with a very dusty A14 iPad Air, I am somewhat disappointed, though there is always a chance this could change in the future. And the new iPads are impressive enough that many existing users may be tempted to upgrade.

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