Apple Had To 'Rethink' Entire Architecture Of Pencil Just To Add This New Feature: It Was 'One Of The Most Difficult Things'


In a rare interview, Apple Inc. AAPL designers provided insights into what went behind the scenes when introducing new features for Apple Pencil, and the thinnest product by the company ever, the iPad Pro.

What Happened: The new Apple Pencil Pro, which was introduced alongside the latest iPad Pro with an M4 processor, has a unique design feature that was not explicitly highlighted by Apple.

When used for handwriting, the Apple Pencil Pro casts a shadow resembling a fountain pen, and when used for painting, the shadow resembles a paintbrush. Steve Lemay, who oversees human/machine interaction at Apple, explained that the “digital shadow” was not just for aesthetic purposes.

It was designed to help users remember which tool they had selected, creating the sensation of holding a real pencil and convincing the user that they are working on a sheet of paper, reported AppleInsider citing French technology site Numerama.

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Lemay also revealed that adding haptic feedback to the new Pencil “was one of the most difficult things,” requiring the Apple Design Studio  to “rethink the entire architecture [of the Apple Pencil].”

Similarly, making the iPad Pro, the thinnest Apple product ever, was also difficult. Molly Anderson, one of the designers, stated that portability is at the core of the iPad experience.

“In 2010, our design intention with the first iPad was to create a sheet of magical glass, a sheet of digital paper [and we] have never been so close to this original idea,” Anderson said.

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Why It Matters: Earlier this month, Apple unveiled its newest iPad models: the iPad Pro, now equipped with the powerful M4 chip and OLED displays, and the iPad Air, which features the M2 chip. These releases represent the first updates to the iPad lineup since October 2022.

The launch also witnessed the introduction of Apple Pencil Pro which comes with several unique features, including a barrel roll, a squeeze feature, haptic feedback, and Find My support. It is priced at $129, the same as the second-generation Apple Pencil, and is available for financing through the Apple Card.

The newest addition to the Apple Pencil lineup is compatible with the M4 13-inch iPad Pro, M4 11-inch iPad Pro, M2 13-inch iPad Air, and M2 11-inch iPad Air.

In March earlier this year, it was also reported that Apple’s first-generation mixed-reality headset, Vision Pro could soon support the Apple Pencil, allowing air drawing to become a reality.

Photo Courtesy: Shutterstock

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Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of Benzinga Neuro and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.

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