We've been hearing lots of conflicting rumours about new iPads recently, with the most recent crop claiming that we'll see minor improvements to the iPad Air any day now. But now a new report says that previous reports are mistaken. Apple is indeed planning a tablet-related launch this month, but it's not a new tablet. It's a new Apple Pencil.
The story comes from Japanese Mac blog MacOTAKARA, which says that "rather than an update to the iPad itself, the Apple Pencil 3 will be launched". That follows on from recent rumours of a significant Apple Pencil redesign and it ties in with predictions by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman that while Apple is indeed working on new iPads, their release "won't happen this month".
Apple Pencil 3: what we know so far
The third generation Apple Pencil is believed to have a significant change: the tips are magnetic and interchangeable, so you'll be able to choose a tip that's appropriate to the kind of drawing you're doing: a fine pencil for technical drawing, a broad brush for watercolour painting, a larger, deeper pen tip for illustration and so on.
The last rumour regarding the 3rd generation Apple Pencil was by Twitter user Majin Bu a few weeks back, but reports pointed out that Bu doesn't have the best track record when it comes to Apple-related accuracy. MacOTUKARA has a much better record for reliability.
The current Apple Pencil has been around for a while: it was launched way back in 2018, making it one of the oldest Apple products currently on sale – second only to the first generation, which has been with us since 2015. Because it charges wirelessly it didn't need to be updated for the new USB-C iPads, but the first-generation still has a Lightning connector for charging. It's possible that that less complex Pencil may get a USB-C update to keep it compatible with more recent iPads.
One feature we're not hearing anything about is that favourite request of Apple fans on the Apple Pencil support pages: iPhone compatibility. The size of the iPhone 15 Plus and iPhone 15 Pro Max would lend themselves to Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra-style pen input, but the current Apple Pencil is a little too large and neither phone has the space or magnetic attachment required to charge it.