iPad Pro 2021 to arrive with new Apple Pencil, suggests leaked pic

The claimed photo of a new Apple Pencil shows a slightly different design – but will it be exclusive to the iPad Pro 2021?

iPad Pro 2021 Apple Pencil
(Image credit: Apple)

With the new iPad Pro 2021 expected to be announced within the next few weeks featuring a big speed upgrade and a stunning mini-LED screen, a new leaked photo is adding an extra layer of intrigue.

The picture claims to show a new Apple Pencil design, with a different removable tip design, and what appears to be a glossy finish more like the original Apple Pencil, which the Apple Pencil v2 swapped out for a matt finish.

The picture comes from Twitter user Mr White (via Tom's Guide), who is not a universal or prolific leaker, but has shared supposed pre-production images of upcoming Apple products in the past.

We're treating this one with an extremely skeptical eye for now, but it's been three years since the Apple Pencil was last updated, so it's certainly possible that Apple will look to add new functionality. Last year, Apple applied for a patent on a colour sensor built into the Apple Pencil, so you could sample colours from the real world and use them in your app.

We don't see any evidence of that built into the new Apple Pencil based on this photo, though. The different tip is the only hint to any new functionality here, though nothing is explicit there. Perhaps there will be more pressure sensitivity, or a similar subtle improvement.

For us, a glossy finish would be a step backwards. The matt finish on the Apple Pencil v2 was far superior to the slightly slippery Apple Pencil v1, but perhaps Apple has found a way to mix the best of both worlds.

If this is a new Apple Pencil, it looks like the design could be back-compatible with the iPad Pro (2020) and iPad Pro (2018), which would be nice, especially if it comes with improved functionality. If we assume the flat edge is facing downwards here, it looks like it should be able to dock and charge on any of the similar-design iPads. Of course, there might be technical reasons that any new functions can only work on new hardware, but keeping a similar design would be a promising sign for backwards compatibility.

We'll probably know soon enough either way, as the expected date for an announcement draws near – we're also expecting to see AirPods 3, and maybe a new-look iMac.

Matthew Bolton

Matt is T3's former AV and Smart Home Editor (UK), master of all things audiovisual, overseeing our TV, speakers and headphones coverage. He also covered smart home products and large appliances, as well as our toys and games articles. He's can explain both what Dolby Vision IQ is and why the Lego you're building doesn't fit together the way the instructions say, so is truly invaluable. Matt has worked for tech publications for over 10 years, in print and online, including running T3's print magazine and launching its most recent redesign. He's also contributed to a huge number of tech and gaming titles over the years. Say hello if you see him roaming the halls at CES, IFA or Toy Fair. Matt now works for our sister title TechRadar.