Meet Apple's Crazy New Stylus, The Apple Pencil

Photo: Courtesy Apple.
Apple announced a lot of things today. These things were all greeted with cheers and applause. That is, all except for one: the company's new stylus, the Apple Pencil.

It's not that there's anything wrong with the Apple Pencil. It's just...an Apple stylus? Steve Jobs famously decried the stylus, but it seems times have changed.

The Apple Pencil is a a smooth, aluminum cylinder with a pen-like tip at one end and a capped Lightning connector hidden at the other end. Designed specifically for use with the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the Pencil can detect position, force, and tilt. The latter two are specifically useful for tablet artists: The harder you press, the bolder the color you'll paint on-screen, and depending on the angle at which you hold the pencil, you can adjust the thickness of your stroke.

The stylus is notably lag-free; your strokes show up on-screen almost immediately. And, like most Apple products, the pencil feels high-quality — which is what you'd expect for its $99 price tag.

Apple touts the pencil not just as a tool for artists and 21st-century designers, but also for the productivity-minded: You can use it with Microsoft's suite of Office apps (such as PowerPoint and Excel) to write notes, draw shapes, highlight important pieces of text, and more. Its battery can last for hours of use, and then you just plug it into your iPad to recharge, which should only take a few minutes.

For a tablet that is really very large, using a stylus for operation does make sense. Dragging your finger all over the place would probably get irksome, especially if the iPad Pro were just sitting flat on the desk in front of you. There are plenty of other, cheaper styluses, such as FiftyThree's Pencil (yep, same name), but Apple's does have one major benefit: It's made by Apple. So, hopefully, it should integrate flawlessly with the iPad Pro and iOS 9.

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