Apple (AAPL) quietly unveiled its next-generation Pencil for use with iPads, now equipped with USB-C charging. This change comes shortly after Apple phased out its Lightning charger, marking a significant step toward universal charging in response to EU regulatory pressure.
Apple is Actively Expanding the Use of USB C in its Devices
Similar to previous models, the third-generation Apple Pencil is designed for note-taking, sketching, and document annotations. It also supports the hover feature, enabling users to preview and switch between various tools and app controls when paired with the 12.9-inch iPad Pro (6th generation) and the 11-inch iPad Pro (4th generation). The new Pencil is priced at $79, which is $20 less than the second-generation Apple Pencil and $50 cheaper than the original.
The most significant alteration in the latest model is the charging system, which is remarkable not just because the company had been reluctant to make this switch for years but also because it’s poised to simplify charging for its customers.
Apple Embraces USB C: A Shift in Charging Standards
During its iPhone 15 event in September, the company revealed that all of its upcoming smartphones and the new AirPods Pro will feature USB-C charging. While Apple had previously transitioned its iPads and MacBooks to USB-C charging, the decision to introduce it to iPhones came shortly after the European Union passed legislation mandating support for USB-C charging in smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, portable speakers, and other small devices by 2024.
The unique law’s primary objective is to reduce the variety of chargers and cables that consumers need when acquiring a new device. It also enables users to mix and match chargers and devices, even if they are made by different manufacturers. However, this move by Apple means relinquishing control over its wired charging ecosystem, making it challenging for many consumers to distinguish between reliable and subpar chargers.
Although Apple doesn’t disclose specific sales figures for its Pencil, David McQueen, a director at ABI Research, estimates that approximately 42 million Pencils have been sold since its launch in 2015. This estimation is based on the sale of 420 million iPads during the same period, assuming that 10% or fewer of these users have purchased an Apple Pencil.
I believe the reason for this lower number is the relatively high cost, specialized use, and the presence of more affordable alternatives that can work with the iPad.
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