With an innovative stylus called the Apple Pencil, Apple continues on a perpetual course to outdo itself until the end of time. Along with the iPad Pro, a massive new tablet measuring nearly 13 inches and intended to be used with multiple sources of touch, the Pencil was unveiled by Apple CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday at the company's event in San Francisco. Aesthetically resembling a regular pen, the Pencil is a Bluetooth device that recharges from the iPad Pro's port. Alone, it costs $99 but it can only be used with the newest iPad, which you can buy from $799 upwards, depending on memory space. The iPad cover-slash-keyboard is $169.
If you can optimally use the new technologies, the price might just be worth it. The Pencil can be used at the same time as a finger, and lighter touches will result in thin lines while heavier touches produce thicker ones. It recognizes not only the exertion of pressure but also the angle of how it is held, since there are two locations for sensors. "I have seen some of this elsewhere, particularly on Microsoft's Surface Pro's Surface pen," writes Lance Ulanoff for Mashable. "But while that pen is an expert at tracking pressure, I have never seen it do quite what the Apple Pencil did in my short time with it."
The iPad is also designed to differentiate between the Pencil's touch and your hand. As explained in a promotional video, the tablet scans twice as often when the Pencil meets the screen, "allowing iPad Pro to capture more points in a single stroke." It looks ideal for calligraphy, drawing, and precise sketching. Depending on the prospect of third party apps, there could be even more opportunities.
A fun fact: Steve Jobs might not have been a fan. When the iPhone came out in 2007, he famously said, "Who wants a stylus?" But as The Verge points out, people aren't exactly using the iPhone for the same reasons as a tablet, or better yet, a tablet that aims to blur the lines between tablet and laptop:
Steve Jobs didn't envision the iPhone 1 being a viable tool for graphic designers and illustrators, people who've long used pro-grade products from companies like Wacom. But now, the Pencil is an option for those who want to use the iPad Pro as if it were a sheet a paper and the stylus as if it were — wait for it — a real pencil.
So there you have it. The Apple Pencil — the ultimate writing utensil of the 21st century. It's Apple, after all, and everything Apple touches seems as though it turns to gold.