Apple released the new iPad Air and iPad mini earlier this week. One major selling point of the new devices is that they come with Apple Pencil support. However, what many potential buyers might not be aware of is that the new iPads don’t support the Apple Pencil 2, which is the latest-generation model.
Setback for iPad Air 3 and iPad mini 5 owners
One would expect that a company like Apple would add the latest features to its devices. Most of the other features the new iPads come with are acceptable, but support for the first-generation Apple Pencil is something users would not have wanted.
Apple introduced the second-generation Apple Pencil in the fall, offering plenty of new features that the first-generation model doesn’t have. The new Pencil has gesture support and can magnetically attach to the iPad Pro’s edge. It can even charge wirelessly. The first-generation Apple Pencil, on the other hand, comes with a Lightning connector users have to plug into the iPad’s Lightning port.
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Thus, if you are thinking about buying the Apple Pencil 2 specifically to use it with the new iPad Air or iPad mini, then you should know that it would be a waste of money. Apple’s Pencils are not cross-compatible. The original Pencil supports a separate set of iPads, including the newest ones, and the second variant supports only the latest iPad Pros. In short, all non-Pro iPad models, including the newest iPad Air and mini, only support the original Apple Pencil.
Cult of Mac’s Ed Hardy has a good suggestion to clear up the confusion over which Apple Pencil variants support which iPad models. The author suggests the Apple Pencil 2 should have been called the Apple Pencil Pro to clear up all the confusion, and he is probably right.
Why the new iPad Air and mini don’t support the Apple Pencil 2
Many buyers might say Apple cheated them because they were under the impression that the iPad Air 3 and iPad mini 5 would support the second-generation Apple Pencil. In Apple’s defense, we can see why support wasn’t added to the newest models.
For example, not adding second-generation Apple Pencil support is a cost consideration. The Apple Pencil 2 uses inductive charger technology, which can be seen on the side of the 2018 iPad Pro models. Daring Fireball claims this technology was too expensive to be included in the new iPad Air 3 and iPad mini 5.
Apple’s new iPad Air starts at $499, while the new iPad mini has a base price of $399. In comparison, the iPad Pro starts at $799. Apple may have decided against supporting the Apple Pencil 2 in the latest device to maintain the feature differentiation between these price points.
Good for students and those with the original Apple Pencil
Another reason for not adding support for the Apple Pencil 2 is the design changes. To attach the inductive charger to the iPad, the edge of the tablet needs to be flat. However, the new iPad Air and mini have rounded edges. Thus, Apple may have decided against changing the design to save on costs again.
The new iPad mini is almost identical to the fourth-generation model, while the new iPad Air is similar to the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, which came out in 2017. Thus, Apple saved money by not opting for a major redesign of the new devices.
Although the absence of support for the Apple Pencil 2 is bad news for potential new buyers, for those with first-gen Apple Pencils, it allows them to extend the life of the stylus with the latest iPads. Additionally, the iPad Air 3 and iPad mini 5 are well-suited for students. Along with last year’s 9.7-inch iPad, which was focused on schools, the Logitech Crayon was also released. The Logitech Crayon is a more affordable stylus and targets the education market. It costs just $70, while Apple’s original Pencil is priced at $99 and the Apple Pencil 2 is $129.
The iPad Air 3 and iPad mini 5 support the Crayon, making them a better option for students. If the new iPads supported the Apple Pencil 2, they wouldn’t have supported the Logitech Crayon, according to Cult of Mac.