New Apple Pencil erases original’s most annoying flaws

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Apple Pencil 2
Charging and storage now a snap.
Photo: Apple

Apple redesigned its Apple Pencil with new features that would’ve made a believer out of late company co-founder and stylus-hater Steve Jobs.

OK, maybe not. But creatives who took to the first Apple Pencil despite its design flaws are going to appreciate the new version launched today in Brooklyn, New York.

Apple Pencil 2 attaches magnetically to the side of the new iPad Pro and automatically engages in wireless charging and better device pairing. Its predecessor, launched three years ago, was plugged into the iPad’s lighting port and stuck straight out, which made on-the-go charging awkward.

The new iPad Pro makes the move to USB-C, requiring a retooling of the pencil’s charging feature. The flat edge that attached to the iPad also prevents the pencil from rolling off a surface.

Apple Pencil 2 also includes a finger tap gesture command to switch between writing/drawing mode to the eraser.

Still, Apple Pencil is an accessory and so the redesigned pencil nearly got lost in today’s product launch. New beefier versions of the MacBook Air and Mac Mini along with new iPad Pros rightfully got most of the spotlight.

Apple Pencil 2
A presenter from Adobe used the Apple Pencil 2 on an iPad Pro to demonstrate PhotoShop.
Photo: Apple

But it had a powerful closeup during a presentation from Adobe. The presenter showed off the full power of Adobe Photoshop (basically the desktop version reconfigured for touch screen) run on the iPad Pro. She used a pencil to manipulate colors and move elements around on a photo, using the tap gesture on the pencil to zoom in an out.

Apple will take orders for the redesigned Apple Pencil starting today. The price is $129. The original sold for $99.