Weird supply chain rumors or no, if there are new iPads, new Apple Pencils are probably on the way, too.
On the heels of new iPad size rumors, Czech site letem svetem applem (or, in English, Apple Round the World) claims that new Apple Pencil components are in Apple’s Chinese supply chain — possibly for a March 2017 release alongside rumored new iPads.
Spoiler. Except, no: I don’t feel all that spoiled. Because of course Apple is going to refine the Pencil for 2017 alongside new iPad models.
The Apple Pencil is one of my favorite accessories that Apple has ever made, and it’s practically a requirement if you own an iPad Pro. But it’s not without flaws: I’ve added my own pen clip to the Pencil’s body and, until I picked up the 9.7-inch Logitech Create case with carrying loop, used Waterfield’s Atelier Gear Case to keep my Pencil from disappearing into my bag.
These are legitimate and widespread complaints, and it makes complete sense to me that Apple would attempt to address them in an update alongside new iPad models. Whether that results in a physical clip option for the Pencil or adding extra magnets to allow it to snap onto the iPad case will depend, of course, on what Apple feels would work best.
But forget the rumors for a second: Let’s think about what else could be improved in the Pencil.
New Pencil tips
The default Pencil nib is pretty great for sketching, but it’s still slipperier than I’d like for some drawing. A nib option with better friction would be a welcome addition to the Pencil lineup, but what I’d really love is nibs with different shapes and sizes — thicker rounder nibs for blotting, calligraphy-style nibs to truly practice penmanship, and other options for interacting with the screen.
Keep the charging port — but maybe make the cap smarter
I know, I know: People used to Wacom tablets miss having an eraser on the end of their Pencil. I feel for them, but I’m not giving up my ability to charge the Pencil at any time just to have an eraser. Instead, maybe there’s a way to make that tiny little cap end a bit smarter — perhaps adding on a capacitive nib, for instance?
Or, heck, maybe we ditch Lightning charging altogehter and have the Pencil snap into the Smart Connector — which also, hey, could be designed to hold it in place.
Take a page from Astropad’s multitouch gestures
If an eraser’s out of the cards, however, there’s another way: Apple could take a cue from Astropad Studio’s brilliant new Magic Gestures and create multitouch interactions when the Pencil is present to switch tools or bring up shortcuts. This may also address the vocal minority out there who wants function buttons on the Pencil’s body (no thank you).
Offer some customization
I want a rose gold Pencil to match my rose gold iPad. That’s all.
What do you want to see from a new Apple Pencil?
Let me know in the comments.