What new features to expect in Apple Pencil 3 [Updated]


What new features to expect in Apple Pencil 3
It's not challenging to guess that Apple Pencil 3 is on the agenda for the May 7 Apple event.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Apple Pencil 3 is apparently right around the corner, and leaks indicate the next iPad stylus will offer several features not in the previous one. That includes a new “squeeze” gesture, haptic feedback and Find My support.

Plus, it might also work as a Vision Pro stylus.

2024 Apple Pencil builds on a legacy

Apple very, very broadly hinted that the third-generation Apple Pencil will be unveiled at the company’s May 7 iPad event. If showing the product in the invitation even qualifies as a hint.

The second-generation Apple Pencil launched way back in 2018. The almost six intervening years gave Apple plenty of time to come up with new features.

But these are unlikely to change the basic nature of the product: It’s a brilliant tool for artists who use an iPad as a canvas, and it’s well-suited for anyone who likes to take handwritten notes. But it’s not a requirement for average iPad users.

‘Squeeze’ gesture and haptic feedback might be biggest changes in Apple Pencil 3

The Apple Pencil image in the May 7 event invitation looks essentially the same as the current models, so a significant redesign isn’t at all likely. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be hardware changes.

Code for a squeeze gesture turned up in the beta of iPadOS 17.5, according to 9to5Mac. “The gesture can be used for quick interactions such as adding shapes, signatures, stickers, or a text field,” the site reported.

That should make the product more useful for artists, students and businesspeople.

The Apple Pencil 3 also will add haptic feedback, according to Bloomberg.

The finger tap gesture from Apple Pencil 2 that lets the user easily switch between writing/drawing mode to the eraser is expected to stay in the new model.

Plus Find My support

Lose your iPad stylus now and locating it can be a hassle. Apple Pencil 3 will reportedly include support for Apple’s Find My network.

If true, it means Apple Pencil owners would be able to see the location of a lost Apple Pencil on their Apple devices. Find My makes it easy to find items almost anywhere on Earth, since all that’s necessary is for any iPhone to pass near the lost device. The Apple Pencil 3 might even come with a tiny built-in speaker so its owner could set off an audible alert to help find the missing stylus

Adding Find My support should comfort those who walk around with an Apple Pencil 3 magnetically clinging to the side of their iPad.

Stylus for Vision Pro, too?

A recent leak indicates Apple has been testing a stylus that works with Vision Pro. Perhaps Apple Pencil 3 will support Apple’s AR/VR headset and not be limited to working with iPad.

However, it’s possible the feature requires visionOS 2.0, which isn’t expected to be unveiled until WWDC24 in June.

Apple Pencil 3 coming soon

As noted, the third-generation Apple Pencil is almost certainly going to be unveiled at Apple’s “Let Loose” iPad event on May 7. If it isn’t, then CEO Tim Cook told a fib.

Pricing hasn’t leaked out yet, but the cost is expected to be relatively high. The current version, Apple Pencil 2, retails for $129. The Apple Pencil 3 is unlikely to come in any lower.


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