Apple today unveiled two new iPads: a 10.5-inch iPad Air and a refreshed iPad mini. both devices offer upgraded specs, improved screens, and reasonable price points. They also include support for the company’s stylus, the Apple Pencil. But this might not mean what you think.
Last year, Apple released two new iPad Pros. To coincide with the tablets, the company also refreshed the Pencil with a new design and feature set. Oddly enough, the company didn’t decide to give it a new name like Apple Pencil 2 or Apple Pencil Pro. It just stuck with Apple Pencil, the same name as the first-gen model.
This can cause some confusion. After all, beyond the point of the new Pencil’s release, it can easily be assumed future iPads which advertise Pencil support work with the latest generation. However, this isn’t the case, at least not with Apple’s latest tablets.
As noted in the company’s press release and website, the new iPad Air and mini only support the original Apple Pencil which retails for $99. The second-generation Pencil, costing $129, will not work with the devices. So if you plan to use a stylus with the Air or mini, you’ll be stuck with the older model which originally went on sale in 2015.
This is extremely dumb. Not only can you not use Apple’s latest Pencil with the latest iPads, the names between the old and new one are so confusing it can easily trick anyone if they don’t know what they’re doing. It’s extremely easy to spend $129 on a stylus with your iPad Air or iPad mini purchase only to find out they don’t work together, and the fact that Apple allows this to occur is just bewildering.
You may be wondering whether Apple could add support for the new Pencil in the future to the Air and mini, but the answer is undoubtedly no. There are certain hardware requirements for the iPad and second-gen Pencil to work together. And since the latest models specifically support the first-gen stylus, there’s no way the tablets secretly have the required hardware built into their systems.
So yeah, Apple’s being dumb in this case. But we’re used to seeing these types of ridiculous catches from the company. It’s just Apple being Apple.
Just make sure you only spend $99 on your Apple Pencil, not $129.