Apple Pencil Gen 1 vs. Gen 2 vs. USB-C: Comprehensive Guide

June 10, 2024
Justin Lumiere

Apple offers different models of Apple Pencil, each designed to cater to a range of user needs and preferences. The four models currently available are the Apple Pencil 1st Generation, 2nd Generation, USB-C, and Pro. Each model has unique features, charging methods, and device compatibility, making it important to choose the right one depending on your iPad model and usage scenario.

Features and Performance of Apple Pencil

All Apple Pencils share common features like Bluetooth connectivity, pixel-level precision, low latency, palm rejection, and tilt sensitivity, providing a paper-like writing experience. Pressure sensitivity is available on both the 1st and 2nd Generation models, enabling varying line thickness based on the pressure applied. The 2nd Generation and Pro models come with additional functionalities such as magnetic attachment, wireless pairing and charging, and the ability to switch tools with a double-tap feature. The Pro version further enhances performance with haptic feedback, a pressure-sensitive area for alternate brushes, and support for Apple's Find My network.

person holding white stylus pen

Comparing Charging Methods and Compatibility

The charging methods differ across the models. The 1st Generation Apple Pencil charges via a Lightning connector, while the 2nd Generation uses magnetic induction. The USB-C Pencil requires a USB-C cable, and the Pro also utilizes magnetic induction for charging. Compatibility varies as well: each Apple Pencil is designed to work with specific iPad models, and it’s essential to check your iPad’s compatibility before making a purchase. For instance, the Apple Pencil USB-C works with all iPads featuring a USB-C port, whereas other models have more specific requirements.

Apple Pencil
"Apple Pencil" by Brett Jordan is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/.

Enhanced Features in Advanced Models

The advanced models, including the 2nd Generation and Pro, offer several additional features tailored for professional use. These include pressure sensitivity, double-tap functionality for tool switching, and a gyroscope for advanced drawing techniques like barrel rolls. The Pro goes even further, introducing unique features such as haptic feedback, a pressure-sensitive area, and seamless integration with the Find My network for locating your stylus.

Impressions of the Apple Pencil Sketchnote, created on the iPad Pro 9.7 and Pencil w/ Paper by FiftyThree
"Impressions of the Apple Pencil Sketchnote, created on the iPad Pro 9.7 and Pencil w/ Paper by FiftyThree" by Mike Rohde is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/.

Considerations for Choosing the Right Apple Pencil

When choosing the right Apple Pencil, consider your specific needs and use cases. For beginners or younger users, the USB-C model might be the ideal starting point due to its affordability. The 1st Generation Pencil offers a cost-effective solution for users needing pressure sensitivity on older iPads. Artists and professionals might prefer the feature-rich 2nd Generation, while the Pro version is recommended for those seeking the most advanced tools on the latest iPad Air or iPad Pro models.

Price and Availability

FeatureApple Pencil 1st GenerationApple Pencil 2nd GenerationApple Pencil USB-CApple Pencil Pro
Bluetooth ConnectivityYesYesYesYes
Pixel-level PrecisionYesYesYesYes
Low LatencyYesYesYesYes
Palm RejectionYesYesYesYes
Tilt SensitivityYesYesYesYes
Pressure SensitivityYesYesNoYes
Magnetic AttachmentNoYesNoYes
Double-Tap SwitchingNoYesNoYes
Wireless Pairing & ChargingNoYesNoYes
Haptic FeedbackNoNoNoYes
Pressure-sensitive AreaNoNoNoYes
Find My Network SupportNoNoNoYes
Charging MethodLightning ConnectorMagnetic InductionUSB-C CableMagnetic Induction
Compatible iPadsOlder iPad ModelsiPad Pro, iPad AiriPads with USB-C PortLatest iPad Pro, iPad Air
Price$99$129$79 ($69 for education)$129

Overall, the Apple Pencil lineup caters to a wide audience, providing options that align with individual needs, device compatibility, and budget constraints. By thoroughly understanding each model's features and compatibility, users can make an informed decision and enhance their iPad experience with the right Apple Pencil.

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