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 (opens in new tab) (via Tom's Guide (opens in new tab)), who is not a universal or prolific leaker, but has shared supposed pre-production images of upcoming Apple products in the past.
New Apple Pencil pic.twitter.com/CWGQrkU2YnMarch 3, 2021
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.