News: Apple Pencil 3 Is Almost Here — And It Comes with Squeeze Gestures and These Other Features

Apple Pencil 3 Is Almost Here — And It Comes with Squeeze Gestures and These Other Features

Apple's spring event, where the company will announce a new iPad model, is just around the corner. We also expect to see the long-awaited Apple Pencil (3rd generation), also known more simply as Apple Pencil 3, with several significant enhancements that promise to make it an indispensable tool for anyone who uses their iPad for note-taking, sketching, illustrating graphics, and more.

Release Coming Soon

Apple announced on April 23 its "Let loose" event for May 7, where it will introduce new iPad models, and the illustration for the spring event couldn't be clearer: the Apple Pencil 3 is coming. To reinforce the artwork's Apple Pencil reference, Apple CEO Tim Cook gave us another hint: "Pencil us in for May 7!"

The last update, not counting 2023's low-cost, less-impressive Apple Pencil USB-C, was in 2018 with Apple Pencil 2, so we're due for the next flagship model.

Apple announced the Apple Pencil 2 alongside its redesigned iPad Pro in 2018, and preorders were available right away. The actual release date followed seven days later. If Apple Pencil 3 follows that pattern, we could see May 7 for preorders and May 14 for release.

iPad Compatibility

While the Apple Pencil 2 and Apple Pencil USB-C work on the same iPad mini, iPad Air, and iPad Pro models, the Apple Pencil USB-C also added support for the 10th-generation iPad. But the Apple Pencil 3 is most likely to support the same iPad models that the Apple Pencil 2 does, with the addition of the yet-unannounced iPad models, starting with iPadOS 17.5. So that gives us:

  • Upcoming 2024 iPad models
  • iPad mini (6th generation)
  • iPad Air (4th generation and later)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation and later)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (all generations)

Interchangeable Tips

The rumors have remained strong since last year that the Apple Pencil 3 will introduce interchangeable magnetic tips of different sizes, making it the Swiss Army knife of digital pens. The tips on the Apple Pencil 1, Apple Pencil 2, and Apple Pencil USB-C are replaceable, but they screw on and only come in one size.

Changing the tips from screw-on to magnetic would make them easier to swap. But if they are indeed magnetic, it will be interesting to see how secure the tips are when using pressure or during transport and whether they come with a storage case.

Including three different tip sizes would be a game changer for many use cases, such as creating detailed illustrations, sketching out notes, painting, technical drawing, and more. You could switch from a fine point for micro details to a broader tip for shading.

Find My Support

Some rumors point toward Find My support on the Apple Pencil 3, thanks to code found on iPadOS 17.4 and iPadOS 17.5.

It's not clear yet how Apple will implement Find My features into the Pencil. It could include an Ultra Wideband chip for precise finding or simply rely on its last known location. If Apple can squeeze a speaker tiny enough to fit into the Apple Pencil 3, it could also emit sounds. Or Apple could utilize one of its recent patents to equip Apple Pencil 3 with an acoustic resonator that sounds off in beacon mode, which a nearby Apple device may be able to detect.

Gesture Controls

According to iPadOS 17.5's code, the Apple Pencil 3 will likely come with some kind of a "squeeze" gesture as a new feature. This will be useful for quickly adding a shape, signature, sticker, or text box, which were specifically mentioned in the code, and possibly other things.

There may be more than one squeeze gesture, such as a regular, long, or double squeeze. Less likely, you may be able to combine squeezing and double-tapping for even more new options, which would be too complicated or tricky for users to trigger.

Other Design Features

As with any Apple product, design and aesthetics play a huge part, and the Apple Pencil 3 is no exception. Leaks suggest a sleeker, more refined design that matches the Apple philosophy. Charging is also rumored to get an upgrade, possibly moving to a more efficient inductive method that would charge the Pencil as you use it. This means less time tethered to a cable and more time letting your creativity flow. But this is far more likely on the Apple Pencil 4 or Apple Pencil 5.

Pricing

Pricing for the new Apple Pencil 3 will likely be the same or a little bit more than Apple Pencil 2's $129. While squeeze gestures may not sound like enough to justify a price increase, Find My support, magnetic tips, and some of the more unlikely rumors would.

Just updated your iPhone? You'll find new features for Podcasts, News, Books, and TV, as well as important security improvements and fresh wallpapers. Find out what's new and changed on your iPhone with the iOS 17.5 update.

Cover image via Apple

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