8 ways the Apple Pencil 2 is better than the original

Provided you ignored the awful charging process, the Apple Pencil was a marvel of design—a stylus that looked, felt, and wrote much like an actual pen or pencil. That’s not to say it didn’t need some improvements (as we outlined in a wishlist earlier this month), but adding them seem to run the risk of overcomplicating the simple elegance that made the Pencil such a joy to draw and write with.

But with the Apple Pencil 2, Apple shows that it can significantly improve one of its trademark minimalist products without sacrificing much of its design’s power. Almost every new feature counts as an improvement over the previous model (although with some caveats). The only real drawbacks are the $30 price boost and the inability to use the Apple Pencil 2 with any device save the two new iPad Pros.

Still, the improvements are good enough to make the Apple Pencil 2 an essential purchase for anyone with the new Pro tablets. It has all of the strengths of the previous model—including variable stroke weight and the ability to start new notes in the Notes app just by tapping the iPad’s lock screen—along with a host of enhancements for storage, charging, and usage. Here are our favorites.

It gets rid of that awful charging method

Even if you never actually owned an Apple Pencil, there’s a good chance you knew how awkward it was to charge it. First, you’d have to take off the tiny, eminently losable magnetic cap, and then you’d have to plug the male Lightning connector into the iPad’s female port. You’d then essentially have to leave both device alone while they charged. It was somewhat convenient for charging the Pencil itself, but the end result looked like you were meant to hold it like a sign— sign that likely said something like “This is bad design.”

apple pencil chargingLeif Johnson/IDG

Elegance? We think not.

The laughs are over with the Apple Pencil 2. No longer do you need to plug the stylus into anything: Instead, you simply snap the Pencil’s edge to some of the whopping 105 magnets surrounding the iPad Pro and it will begin to charge immediately. It’s as easy as that. In fact, with this one change, Apple also fixed a number of other issues with one stroke.

You no longer have to worry about losing the cap

The Lightning connector for the original Apple Pencil was hidden under a magnetic white cap on the “eraser” end, and it was generally more secure than it looked. I’ve even used the Apple Pencil as a drumstick before and the cap never flew off.

ipad pro creative sketch 10302018 croppedApple

As strong as that magnet was, though, eventually you’d have to remove the cap in order to recharge the Pencil proper. I believe this is how many people lost their caps, as they had no choice but to slip them in their pockets or place them next to the Pencil and hope they didn’t roll off the table into oblivion.

Now, those worries are gone because the cap is gone. Since you can only charge the Apple Pencil wirelessly, you’ll never have to remove a cap. It’s the kind of elegance we expect from Apple in its finest moments.