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10 Things Right and 5 Things Wrong with the Apple Pencil

Can Apple live up to its own expectations?

Henry Phillips

I hate to bash a beautiful thing, but sometimes, you know, your hopes and dreams don’t pan out exactly perfectly, and when your employer just so happens to be paying you to think critically about the products entering the marketplace, especially from notable juggernauts like those based in Silicon Valley (ahem, Apple), you start to itch to take some of those critical energies to the page. So, as much as I love — deep in my heart, truly — the Pencil experience, there are some downsides. Let’s do the good before bad.


1. It’s fun to spin in your fingers like a drumstick (instrument, not food).
2. Diameter x length makes for hand-feel and balance that’s pen-like, not stylus-like.
3. You press it, and it writes! Like, with no lag. Also, angle it, and it writes on an angle. Great for shading, and shading is the key to great art.
4. Miracle of miracles — an Apple product that charges fast! (15 seconds = 30 minutes of use.)
5. It makes a tablet really glow. Fingers are fine and everything, but this thing makes a tablet come to life — all mundane things are more fun with a flick of the Pencil.
6. No grimy finger oils on your screen. This cannot be emphasized enough.
7. Remember childhood? You drew. And remembering childhood is what being an adult is all about.
8. No on/off switch. Enough said.
9. Replying by drawing (PDFs, photos, texts) is almost better than replying with a gif. Draw a gif, double win.
10. The screen ignoring your palm is amazing. Lay that fat paw down on that perfect slate and it doesn’t botch anything. Thank you, obsessive minds of Cupertino.


1. It rolls. Everywhere. And without a quality case (like HardGraft’s), good luck getting this rollipolli to stay in one place.
2. That damn endcap is not entirely secure. It’s just a little loose, but it’s loose (confirmed on various Pencils). Which means it’s not 100 percent sturdy. And the ghost of Steve Jobs demands 100 percent.
3. Charging via the iPad lighting port leads to an uncomfortable phallic-looking situation. I can’t believe I’m writing this, but I’d prefer a dongle. Also, the charging adaptor is so easily lost. Forget those massive Airpods; how are people not losing Pencil parts constantly? They are.
4. Also worth noting, you can’t charge the iPad and Pencil simultaneously. Again, hate writing this, but I found myself wanting a double dongle. Let’s move on.
5. It wouldn’t take an obsessive mind of Cupertino to have this thing get some magnet so it’ll stick to the side of the iPad. The keyboard sticks, so why can’t this stick?


Tim and Jony, know this: I’m giving you a blue ribbon on this thing, because it made me love the iPad even when I thought I only had enough love in my heart for a laptop (my heart overfloweth with all loves!). But it’s not perfect. And perfect is what you taught me to love. Next iteration, let’s get the Pencil perfect.

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