I Used the New Apple Pencil USB-C for a Month — 7 Things That Surprised Me – LSB

The new Apple Pencil USB-C, along with my 5th generation iPad Air, makes itself felt Better than paper and pencil. Yes, I said it!

I may be in the minority, but I have sensory sensitivities and misophonia. As such, the dry texture of the paper always annoyed me. I also hate the sound of pencils and pens scraping paper. hey!

Apple Pencil USB-C in front of a peach background

The Apple Pencil is perfect for myphonia note-takers like me.
Credit: Kimberly Gedeon

This is where the Apple Pencil USB-C steps in to save the day. I no longer have to cringe while taking notes. As I mentioned in my hands-on, the Apple Pencil glides across my shiny iPad Air like a graceful ice skater (without dealing with the cacophony of lead scraper paper anymore).

However, after spending a month with the new addition to the Apple Pencil line, there are seven key things you should know before buying the sleek stylus.

Apple Pencil USB-C price and availability

Apple Pencil USB-C costs $79. You can buy it from Amazon here.

Apple Pencil USB-C is compatible with the following iPads:

  • iPad Pro 12.9 inches
    3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th generation
  • iPad Pro 11 inch
    1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation
  • iPad Air
    4th and 5th generation
  • iPad
    10th generation
  • iPad mini
    6th generation
iPads galore

Credit: Apple

1. No, the Apple Pencil USB-C does not come with a charging cable

After unboxing the Apple Pencil USB-C, I rummaged through the package for a charging cable. “Did I accidentally drop it on the floor?” Thought. However, as it turns out, the Apple Pencil USB-C does no comes with a charging cable. I ended up using the cable that came with my iPhone 15 Pro Max to charge the new Apple Pencil.

Woman holding Apple Pencil USB-C

Apple Pencil USB-C with charging cable
Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable

I paired the Apple Pencil with my iPad Air with the following steps:

  • I opened the sliding cover which revealed the USB-C port
  • I plugged in a USB-C to USB-C cable to the Apple Pencil port as well as to the po
  • A pop-up window at the top of my iPad Air screen confirmed that my Apple Pencil was charging and paired

It’s also worth noting that the pop-up window tells you the battery status of the Apple Pencil.

2. Great battery life

For a month, I used the Apple Pencil USB-C every weekday for about 15 minutes; I haven’t had to charge it yet.

Woman holding Apple Pencil USB-C

Apple Pencil USB-C
Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable

The Apple Pencil USB-C will work whether you choose to leave the cable plugged into both ports (iPad Air and Apple Pencil) or prefer to go wireless. I really don’t see a need for the former because, as I hinted at earlier, the new Apple Pencil has excellent power efficiency.

If you prefer a stylus that can be charged wirelessly, choose the second-generation Apple Pencil, which can be inductively charged while placed on the side of a compatible iPad. However, the Apple Pencil 2 is much more expensive with an MSRP of $129.99.

3. You can put it into “sleep mode” by placing it on the side of the iPad

To preserve battery life, you can trigger the Apple Pencil to enter “sleep mode” by magnetically attaching it to the iPad.

Apple Pencil USB-C and 5th generation iPad Air

I used the Apple Pencil USB-C with my iPad Air.
Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable

This may be why I haven’t had to charge my Apple Pencil in weeks.

4. Apple Pencil USB-C will sharpen your animation skills

As someone who draws comics, the Apple Pencil USB-C is more than just a note-taking tool for me. I’ve used it for sketching and animating.

Call me delusional, but after downloading the Animatic app (an easy-to-use animation platform), I’m ready to introduce myself to Pixar and Dreamworks. Just look at this absolute masterpiece of this little bug crawling up to a curious human. I did it using my new Apple Pencil — and I did zero experience in animation.

No, the newly released Apple Pencil USB-C doesn’t have pressure sensitivity, but it still comes with low latency, tilt sensitivity, and top-notch precision. From gripping the ergonomically designed stylus to the smoothness and seamlessness of the Apple Pencil, sketching the wild creations that sprung from my imagination was a flawless digital pen experience.

Check out this cute little ball bouncing across a field. again, I do this in just minutes. Here I come, Pixar!

5. Hover function works but only for iPad Pro

Although the Apple Pencil USB-C differs from the Apple Pencil 2 in several aspects (no pressure sensitivity, no wireless pairing and charging), there are some similarities. For example, it still has a hold feature, but it only works with the iPad Pro.

6. Impressive for creating digital visual boards

Although I’m a skeptic of New Age practices, I decided to put my cynicism behind me and use my new Apple Pencil to create a vision board for manifestation. The apps I recommend for this are Freeform (pre-installed) and GoodNotes, which you can find in the Apple Store.

Demonstration with iPad and Apple Pencil

All good things come to me with the Apple Pencil USB-C.
Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable

Manifestationists highly recommend writing down your affirmations in a physical journal, but as you read at the beginning, the pen and paper are not mine steez. With Apple Pencil USB-C in hand, I used GoodNotes to express my innermost wishes for the new year, filled with different colors, brushes, pens and shapes. GoodNotes is also perfect for taking notes in the classroom. There’s a recording feature that lets you document your professor’s lectures, allowing you to refer to them later (along with your Apple Pencil-created notes).

Vision Board on iPad

My vision board created with Apple Pencil USB-C on iPad.
Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable

And with Freeform, I took advantage of its infinite canvas to create a visual board equipped with images that reflect my manifestations. No need to deal with cutting out magazine photos, dealing with sticky glue and working on a lame poster board with limited space.

7. The tip of the Apple Pencil can break in a bad fall

Protect Apple Pencil with your life. In one bad fall, the tip of the pencil can interrupt If you have oily fingers or have little ones, I suggest getting a cheap case from Amazon for your Apple Pencil like this one. Place it on the back of your iPad and you’ll be golden. The Apple Pencil isn’t cheap, so the last thing you want to do is render it useless.

If you break it, though, it’s not the end of the world. You can always replace it with a new tip from Apple.

Final thoughts

Apple currently sells three pencils: the first-generation model, the second-generation stylus, and the USB-C variant in this review. I’m no soothsayer, but I have a hunch that Apple may soon discontinue the first-generation Apple Pencil, allowing users to choose between the basic USB-C Apple Pencil or the more advanced Apple Pencil 2.

I’ll take it a step further and predict that Apple may release a more advanced Apple Pencil — hopefully one with FindMy support and more permanent tips.

Overall, I recommend the Apple Pencil USB-C for budding artists and students who need a quick note-taking tool. However, if you’re a professional artist, get the Apple Pencil 2 for wireless charging and pressure sensitivity.

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