The second-generation Apple Pencil has to recharge from a 2018 iPad Pro. No other method is possible. This meands people will have to depend on magnets securely holding this $129 stylus to the side of their tablet because there isn’t any other option.
People criticized the original Pencil’s method of recharging, but it turns out its replacement isn’t perfect either.
Apple’s redesigned iPad stylus doesn’t have any ports so it can’t be plugged into a USB-C or Lighting cable. Wireless power from an iPad Pro is the only option.
And there’s an additional wrinkle. Cult of Mac recently discovered that the Apple Pencil 2 can’t be recharged with the newest iPad in a rugged cases unless the case has been specially designed to permit it. Many may have shrugged that off on the assumption that they’d just use the Qi wireless charger for the iPhone instead. Nope.
Apple Pencil 2 doesn’t support Qi
A highlight of the second-gen Pencil is the ability to magnetically clip to the side of the iPad it’s being used with. While the two are joined like that, the tablet wirelessly recharges the stylus.
But the two don’t use the Qi wireless charging standard. It’s not clear what they do use, but right now it seems to be something proprietary. This means the Apple Pencil 2 can’t get power from the same wireless chargers as recent iPhone models.
This is one of the reasons why this stylus can’t be used with older iPad Pro models. The models from 2017 and before are unable to charge the Pencil.
An echo of the past
Back in 2015, the first-generation Apple Pencil was widely criticized for its method of charging. This accessory had a Lightning connector on one end and could be plugged directly into the tablet. Many found this arrangement awkward, even though there was also an option to recharge the Pencil with a Lightning cable using an adapter.
Plugging the stylus into the iPad Pro was also how the two paired together over Bluetooth. This is a reason why the original Apple Pencil can’t be used with a 2018 iPad Pro: this model employs USB-C, not Lighting.
We already know that the new Apple Pencil causes problems for rugged case designers. We’ll have to wait to see how people react to this charging limitation.