One of the main selling points of iPad Pro is the fact that it is compatible with Apple’s own version of stylus. I have tried several third party styluses in the past, from the passive ones to the Bluetooth-powered ones, none of them gave me the natural feeling like writing on paper. When I decided to try iPad Pro, the first accessory that came to mind was Apple Pencil.
Apple Pencil looks like a white pencil. With no button at all, it’s typical Apple’s minimalist design. Its length (175.7 mm) feels a bit too long for my liking. The weight (20.7 gr) is okay, no discomfort at all.
There is a magnetic-based cap at the back, protecting the lightning connector. It’s a male connector so we can plug it to our iPad for quick charging, also to pair an Apple Pencil with iPad Pro. There is no need to go into Bluetooth setting. Simply make sure that Bluetooth connection is already on, plug the Apple Pencil into the iPad Pro’s lightning port, and they’re connected.
Apple says that 15 seconds of charging is enough for 30 minutes of battery life. Full charging will give us solid 12 hours. Everything sounds good in theory until we realise that sticking a long item into iPad’s lightning port is not the most practical thing to do. It looks awkward and ugly. I can’t help but feeling worry that sudden unexpected thing could snap and break either the Apple Pencil or the iPad port.
Since the lightning connector in Apple Pencil is a male connector, we can’t really use our usual lightning cable and charger to charge it. Lucky that Apple includes female-to-female lightning adapter in the box. Using the connector, we can finally use normal charging cable and sort of solving the issue. Sort of, because for that to happen, we need to remember to carry the adapter, which is so small and super easy to lose.
Another item that’s super easy to lose is the magnetic cap. I really don’t understand how Apple with such good reputation on thinking about user experience could fail to address this potential disaster. Quick Google search already lead me to a bunch of people wondering where the can get the replacement of adapter and/or cap after they lost it. Apparently contacting Apple support quoting our Apple Pencil serial would allow us to purchase replacement. In Australia, replacement cap costs $14 (all prices are in AUD), lightning adapter costs $7, and shipping costs $18. Yes, you read that right, Apple who offers free shipping for everything in its online shop charges $18 shipping fee for Australian postage, in a country where most other online stores charges either $9 or free portage.
The experience of using Apple Pencil itself is quite pleasant. I’m very happy learning that a lot of third party apps have added Apple Pencil support. I finally have handwriting experience that’s quite natural. Love it. I would spend some time testing various apps for note taking, will probably write separate post on it in the future.
It took some time for me to remember that I actually can rest my palm on the iPad display. After years of touching the screen with just one finger to draw or write handwriting notes, it feels rather extraordinary that I don’t need to worry about my palm touching the screen anymore. One bad side is that when my hands are sweaty, the iPad screen soon would looks disgusting.
Overall, Apple Pencil does its main functionality very well. The product looks well made, but it has 2 tiny parts that are so easy to get misplaced and lost.