Photo Source: @laobaiTD on Twitter
A rumor has been making the rounds over the last month and a half that a new refresh of the 2nd gen Apple Pencil design is coming. likely next week. I’m all for that, as it should provide a spec bump and also a feature or two we’ve seen described in patent applications over the last couple of years. However, there’s one aspect of these rumors I’m not as excited about.
According to a photo leaked on Twitter in March and a video posted to a separate Twitter account yesterday, this new Apple Pencil will return to the glossy finish of the original model.
— 漢尼斯·拉斯納 🇨🇳 (@ileakeer) April 16, 2021
That is one change to the Apple Pencil that I’m hoping we don’t see. While I liked the original that was released with the first iPad Pro, I see the 2nd gen hardware as an upgrade across the board. The specs, charging method, magnetic attachment to the iPad, the design and balance in the hand, and yes, even the matte finish were all upgrades on the 1st gen version.
While the matte finish was probably the smallest of this set of improvements, I don’t think it should be casually dismissed. The 1st gen Pencil felt a bit slippery to me thanks to that glossy finish. It wasn’t a big issue, but I definitely regarded the finish on the current version as an instant upgrade. I have always found it to be easier to hold securely, especially if your hands are a little sweaty.
If some of the upgrades that have been rumored or shown in patent filings are included in a new Pencil design, then I won’t complain too much about the finish either way. I would love to see a new version that can interpret gestures beyond taps, that has a color-matching sensor capable of detecting what the tip is pointed at, or that has haptic feedback motors built in for dynamic response, Throw in some exchangeable tips for different types of drawing tasks and some better specs and it could be considered another solid improvement of the Apple Pencil hardware.
I guess I just don’t understand why Apple would take a literal step backwards in design when it comes to the Pencil’s finish. Maybe some of you will disagree with me that a glossy finish is inferior to matte for a stylus, but I can’t help but feel like the later is easier to grip than the former. In my opinion, this would be a strange decision, resulting in a minor downgrade.
Bear in mind that this is all just rumor at present. However, two different people showing what looks like the same device at two different times leading up to a hardware release event certainly seems like more than just coincidence. If a new Apple Pencil is coming in 2021, it will be announced Tuesday with the iPad Pro and it will very likely look like the one in this leaked photo and video. The only other likely scenario is that the Pencil design shown in these rumors is a prototype that ended up not making the cut. For now, I’m leaning toward believing the former, but hoping for the later.
What do you think of these Apple Pencil rumors? Does anyone out there actually prefer the glossy finish on the 1st gen Pencil to the matte finish on the 2nd gen model? If so, I’m interested to know why. I know this is a subjective thing, but I just don’t understand it. Also, are there any other Apple Pencil updates for a possible 3rd gen model that you are particularly interested in? Let me know in the comments section below or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog.