Instead of presenting new iPads this year, Apple has introduced the Apple Pencil USB-C, a more affordable digital stylus that leverages the USB-C technology, marking a significant shift in their product lineup. This development comes as Apple aims to promote digital sketching and note-taking on their iPads.

Apple Pencil USB-C.

The 1st gen Apple Pencil relied on a proprietary Lightning connector for charging, necessitating either an adapter or an awkward insertion into an iPad, which many found unwieldy — Its successor, the 2nd gen Apple Pencil, charged wirelessly via a magnetized zone on iPads; And both iterations brought pressure sensitivity, a crucial feature for artists and creative professionals.

The new Apple Pencil USB-C, as the name implies, sports a USB-C port concealed beneath a cap at the end, similar to an eraser on a traditional wooden pencil. This USB-C port serves a dual purpose, both for charging the Pencil and for pairing it with an iPad, although it operates wirelessly afterward.

Notably, the absence of pressure sensitivity is a trade-off, leading to a reduced price point. The Apple Pencil USB-C is set to retail for $79, more budget-friendly than the $99 cost of the first-generation Pencil and the $129 price tag of the second-generation stylus.

Apple Pencil USB-C’s sliding cap reveals the hidden port.

The Cheapest iPad is not compatible with the Apple Pencil USB-C Out of the box

A notable inconvenience is that Apple’s cheapest iPad, the $329 9th-generation model, still features a Lightning port, making it incompatible with the new Pencil out of the box. Apple offers a $9 Lightning-to-USB-C adapter as a workaround for users of this iPad, although this adds an additional expense.

The Apple Pencil USB-C can magnetically attach to the side of the iPad 10th Gen., but it will not charge wirelessly.

Apple’s adoption of USB-C technology for the Pencil highlights the company’s evolving approach to connectivity and standards. While Apple had long used proprietary ports and connectors, they have gradually integrated USB-C into various products. This transition is partly driven by external factors, such as the European Union’s push for standardized USB-C connectors across consumer electronics.

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