I haven’t been using the Pencil as much recently. Part of that has to do with some of the newness dying down, but I still really believe in the Pencil’s utility. I love using it every time I pick it up. I attribute some of this decrease in usage to keeping the Pencil in my bag too often, and simply forgetting I have it with me. My Smart Keyboard is always attached to the iPad Pro, so it’s easier to whip the keyboard out and use it whenever I want to sit and type. If I could get the Pencil to that level of ready availability, I think I’d end up using it more often.
I’ve done a bit of research into different Pencil carrying options, and here are a few of my favourites:
One cheap solution is to add a pen clip to the Pencil so that I could attach it to the dedicated pen loops in my bags. This would help keep the Pencil more visible at all times. It’s an intriguing simple solution, but I’m a little worried about how that might scratch the Pencil up over time.
Steven King’s $30 Remora Pro promises to keep the Pencil right alongside the Smart Keyboard via magnetic attachment. The only catch is the product isn’t available yet, but you can email Steven through his website to check for availability. I may play on this idea and create my own personal leather pouch to attach to my Smart Keyboard, like the one I made for my Moleskine journal. If I end up doing this, I’ll have to size it for the left-most panel of the Smart Keyboard, since the other two panels have the actual keyboard folded over them.
Moxiware’s Apple Pencil Magnet is fairly self explanatory, and I think I like it more than the pen clip idea. This $15 magnetic sticker lets you to attach the Pencil to the iPad Pro at three different points, which is great for storage at a desk. The magnet may not hold up well in a bag (which is also an issue with Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 pen), but I really like this idea for when I’m drawing or writing on the couch. Sometimes you want to put the Pencil down and browse for a bit, but if there isn’t a flat surface to place it on, the Pencil could be easily lost or broken in a couch seat. Having somewhere to quickly dock the Pencil right on the iPad (without any extra covers) seems really handy.
Hard Graft and Killspencer are also offering some premium iPad Pro cases with included Pencil slots. I’ve been considering creating my own iPad sleeve to prevent scratches from my camera (which has sharp edges that can leave marks on the iPad or cover), and the addition of a Pencil loop is a good detail. I like the sound of the use case, too: by taking the iPad Pro case out of my bag and leaving it on the desk, my Pencil would automatically be at the ready. The only catch is that this takes up more desk space. I’m finding that it’s a little difficult to keep the iPad Pro on the desk beside my MacBook Pro since they both have such large profiles, and a dedicated iPad Pro case would take up even more space.
Overall, I’ll likely end up with a a mixed solution. I plan to grab one of Moxiware’s Pencil Magnets because it gives me somewhere to place the Pencil when I’m not at a desk. I’ll also use either a Remora Pro or one of my own custom Pencil sleeves to secure the Pencil while it’s in my bag.