Apple’s stylus for the iPad Pro, called simply the Apple Pencil, is arguably the best tablet stylus in the world right now. But we don’t want Apple to rest on its laurels, and we’re keen to see what Sir Jony Ive’s design team comes up with when the Apple Pencil 2 is unveiled.
In this article we look at the rumours, clues, patent filings and more evidence to suggest when the Apple Pencil 2 will launch and the design changes and new features it’s likely to incorporate. We also check out all of the new features coming to the original Apple Pencil in iOS 11.
If you’re looking for a cheaper stylus than the rather pricey Apple Pencil, visit: The 12 best styluses for iPad
You can buy the current Apple Pencil for £99 on Apple’s Store.
New Apple Pencil features in iOS 11
There had been rumours that a new Apple Pencil would be released during WWDC 2017 in June, but instead Apple decided to bring software updates to the stylus. They’ll become available to the public in September when iOS 11 is released, but they are available in beta for developers now and via a public beta programmesoon.
New features include Instant Markup, which will let you use your Apple Pencil to quickly draw or make notes on PDFs, screenshots and more. Simply pick up the Pencil and touch it to the screen.
You’ll also be able to tap your Apple Pencil to the Lock Screen of the iPad Pro to instantly start taking notes within the Notes app.
Inline Drawing lets you draw or write in Notes while automatically moving any text out of the way, either above or below your drawing. This works in the Mail app too.
Finally, the new Document Scanner in Notes lets you scan a document and immediately sign it or fill it in with the Apple Pencil.
Apple also announced new iPads during WWDC 2017, including a new 10.5in model. You can find out more about the complete iPad range in our best iPad buying guide.
When is the Apple Pencil 2 coming out?
The first Apple Pencil was unveiled alongside the 12.9-inch iPad Pro in September 2015, so the most obvious time to expect an update was in autumn 2016. That’s certainly what we were hoping for. But 2016 came and went with no update to the Apple Pencil.
Now that the software updates have been announced, it’s possible that we won’t see an Apple Pencil 2 this year at all. More likely is early 2018 alongside the annual iPad refresh. So we’d recommend buying the current Apple Pencil rather than waiting, as you might be waiting for a very long time!
New Apple Pencil 2 release date rumours: Design
So much for the Apple Pencil 2’s release date. But what will the next Apple Pencil look like?
Some momentum is building around the rumour that the next Apple Pencil and the next iPad Pro will be able to attach to each other using magnets. Obviously this would be much more convenient than the current state of affairs, where the Pencil tends to roll off and get lost on the floor.
The latest report to back this theory comes from Letemsvetemapplem, who cite “information directly from suppliers in China” and claim that “in accordance with the patent which Apple acquired in September last year, you [will be able to] attach a pencil to iPad using the magnet [just as] the original Apple iPad Smart Case covers the display”. (The site is in Czech; both quotes are based on Google Translate.)