12 Reasons Apple Pencil Is Expensive (But Probably Worth It)

By Tim Chesonis •  Updated: 05/22/20 •  13 min read

I’ve heard that the Apple Pencil is by far, the best digital instrument one can use on the iPad, but the 2nd generation Apple Pencil is expensive, at $129. So the real questions is, is it really worth it?

$129 may sound like a lot of money to spend on a pencil, until you use the 2nd generation Apple Pencil. After using it for a day or two, I’m confident you’ll find it to be worth every penny. If unparalleled quality and craftsmanship are important to you, then yes, the Apple Pencil is worth purchasing.

So much thought and consideration went into the Apple Pencil.  Countless creatives and everyday users were interviewed by Apple to determine what they wanted from an Apple Pencil.  They asked them what they did not like about the 1st generation Apple Pencil, and what they hoped that the next Apple Pencil should have. Most of what follows in this article, is a direct result of Apple listening to its customer base. You will find 12 reasons why the 2nd generation Apple Pencil is so expensive, but probably worth buying.

The Apple Pencil 2 Was Built With Love & Craftsmanship

Though it’s made out of plastic, it doesn’t feel like it is.  It weighs in at just under ¾ of an ounce, but what does that really mean?  It’s not top-heavy like the 1st generation Apple Pencil.

The 2nd generation of the Apple Pencil is designed for the iPad Pro (3rd and 4th generation of the 12.9” display, or the 1st and 2nd generation of the 11” display).  It’s a “Pro” Pencil, designed for use with the iPad Pro.  This Apple Pencil is shorter and feels balanced, perfect in the hand.

If you venture into an Apple Store to try out the new Apple Pencil, be prepared to walk out with one.  It’s that good.  After reading this article, I’m confident that you will at least say, “I want one”.

The look and feel of the Apple Pencil is second to none.  To appreciate the quality craftsmanship, I encourage you to hold it in your hand and close your eyes.  The first thing you will notice is that it has a notch on one side, something that distinguishes it from its round predecessor.  It has a very nice flat finish, and it’s not too long.  It’s just right.  Because of the slightly indented side, after a minute or two, you’ll find yourself unintentionally playing with in your hand.  The more you play with it, the more you’ll like it.

The tip of the pencil is not too sharp, but sharp enough to distinguish one pixel from another.  The point is that it won’t stab you if you place it in your front shirt pocket, and unlike real pens and pencils, it won’t leave a mark or blead ink on your clothing.

With your eyes still closed, notice how there is no ‘cap’ that comes off at the end of the pencil.  There is nothing to drop or loose.  It’s just one piece, just like a real #2 pencil.  Solid.

The Apple Pencil 2 Has a Flat Design

One of the biggest problems with the 1st generation Apple Pencil was that it would easily roll away . . . eventually onto the floor, potentially damaging the tip so the Apple Pencil.  That’s not a small thing.

With this in mind, Apple designed their second Apple Pencil with a notch that extends nearly the entire length of the pencil.  The advantage of this notch?  It won’t roll away.  At most, it will roll an inch before the notch prevents it from rolling away.

Granted, the notch distinguishes the 2nd generation Apple Pencil from its predecessor, but it also distinguishes it from the competition.  Apple didn’t have to increase the width of the pencil for the notch to be effective.  Such a simple solution, and all without having to turn it into something completely different.  It’s as if the Apple Pencil has matured, learning from the mistakes of the past, delivering a well thought out design for practical use.

The Apple Pencil was Designed by Apple for Apple

Every digital pencil on the market today views the Apple Pencil as the standard to beat, but there is very little chance of that happening.  Why?  Because the Apple Pencil is designed by Apple for its own devices.  

What iOS is to the iPhone, so is the Apple Pencil to the iPad Pro.  It was designed exclusively for use with the iPad Pro.  The Apple Pencil won’t work on any other tablet, even though it connects via Bluetooth.

What this means is that there will never be a digital pencil-like instrument that works better than one offered by Apple itself.

Inexpensive Easily Accessible Replacement Heads

The Apple Pencil tip is designed to last forever. But there may come a time when you find an embedded object within the plastic tip of the Apple Pencil itself.  Or, perhaps there will come a time when you inadvertently dropped the Apple Pencil, causing damage to the tip of the pencil.  Under such circumstances, you will need to replace the tip, and fortunately, Apple makes this very easy to do. 

When you purchase the Apple Pencil, it comes with an extra tip in the box, should you find yourself in such a predicament.  So check the white box it came in, (you do still have it, right?). Now, If, for some reason, you can’t find the box that had the replacement tip that came with your Apple pencil, you can purchase a set of Apple Pencil tips at the Apple Store for only $19, or you can purchase them online from Apple’s website.

If the tip of your Apple Pencil is damaged in any way, do not try to compensate by using the un-dented side of the tip as you write or draw.  Replace it.

To replace the tip, use your index finger and thumb to unscrew the tip counterclockwise.  Just be very careful not to damage or bend the protruding metal piece from the Apple Pencil when removing the tip.  With the new replacement tip, gently thread it in turning it clockwise this time.  Don’t over-tighten it, just finger tight.

Now that I’ve shown you how easy it is to replace the tip, I want you to notice how easy that was to do.  Other competitors, like the “Logitec Crayon Digital Pencil”, do not offer replacement tips.  Then again, that “crayon” is really designed for students, (think grade-school).

The Apple Pencil 2 Offers Wireless Pairing

As already mentioned, the Apple Pencil utilizes Bluetooth to connect to the iPad.  No longer do you have to remove the cap from the Apple Pencil and stick it into the lightning cable port on the iPad to pair it.  Who on earth came up with that idea anyway?  I can tell you one thing for sure, it never would have gotten Steve Jobs’ approval, that’s for sure.  In any event, like every other Bluetooth device on the planet, you simply pair it by launching the Settings app, and selecting Apple Pencil from the available devices and tap CONNECT.  Once connected, however, there really is no need to unpair it. 

Double-Tap the Apple Pencil 2 to Change Tools

A new feature found on the 2nd gen Apple Pencil is the ability to “change tools” by simply double-tapping the lower section of the pencil itself without changing position.  This will allow you to quickly switch back to the tool you used last.

The 2nd generation Apple Pencil even allows you to change the settings for the double-tap.  Just launch the Settings app on your iPad and tap Apple Pencil.  Once open, you have 4 options:

  1. You can switch between the active tool and the eraser.
  2. You can switch between the active tool and the last tool you used.
  3. You can tap to show the color palette.
  4. You can tap to turn it OFF.

It is important to note that the double-tap feature only works in supported apps, but those apps are growing by the day.

The Apple Pencil 2 Offers Pixel-Perfect Precision

How they do this, I don’t know, but it’s amazing.  The Apple Pencil actually has the ability to distinguish one pixel from another, (even though you may not be able to see it).  The accuracy is spectacular, allowing you to draw exactly what you want.

The Apple Pencil 2 Offers Tilt and Pressure Sensitivity

The Apple Pencil was designed to work and function exactly like a regular pencil would.  The harder you press, the darker the impression.  The softer you press, the lighter the impression left.

Often times, you will find artists who tilt their pencil to ‘shade’ an object.  Again the harder you press, the greater the impact it will have.  If you gently ‘shade’ the object in question, it will have a lighter effect.

The Apple Pencil 2 Offers Imperceptible Lag

The original Apple Pencil had a lag of 0.20 seconds, (20 milliseconds), whereas the 2nd gen Apple Pencil has a latency of 0.009 (9 milliseconds).  That’s a 55% decrease in latency!  What makes the difference?  Believe it or not, iPadOS on the iPad Pro makes the difference.  With the iPad Pro, the refresh rate is 120 hz, whereas with every other iPad, the refresh rate is only 60 hz.  When using an Apple Pencil on an iPad Pro, you will not be able to distinguish any lag time, period.

The Apple Pencil 2 Attaches Magnetically

When you place the Apple Pencil on top of the iPad, it hugs it like a best friend. No longer do you need to connect it to a lightning cable, or God forbid, stick it into the side of the iPad to charge it, (again, who came up with this idea!?)

Not only does it attach to your iPad for a convenient place to reside, but it also charges this way!  This is such a better idea than sticking it out the side of the iPad.

Apple Offers Free Engraving

If you were to purchase the Apple Pencil as a gift for a loved one, why not take advantage of the free engraving that Apple offers?  Mind you, to take advantage of this offer, you will need to order online because Apple Stores do not offer engraving on-site.  Also, if you do get it engraved, you are limited to 15 characters, (includes spaces).

There are two reasons why you might NOT want to take advantage of this free offer.

You Want to Resell it

If you are the type of person who likes to sell one Apple device for another one, for example, the 1st generation Apple Pencil, so that you can purchase the 2nd generation Apple Pencil, then you will not want to get it engraved because engraving the Apple Pencil with your name will devalue it when you want to sell it.

If you plan on keeping it or won’t be selling it, then engrave away!

You Don’t Want to Wait

A major reason to NOT to get your Apple Pencil engraved is because it can take up to 2 weeks for delivery if you choose to have it engraved.

You can Add AppleCare+ to Your Apple Pencil 2

Though there are other “insurance” offers by competitors that will replace (or worse yet, fix), their digital pencil, AppleCare+ goes a step further.  To begin, Apple’s approach to customer support is very different from other companies.  While other companies will try NOT to fix or replace an item, even if it is ensured, Apple’s focus is on the customer experience.  If the item is outside of the 1-year limited warranty and needs to be replaced, they will replace it, provided that the customer purchased AppleCare+ at the time of purchase.

AppleCare+ only costs $29, and protect the device for two years from the date of purchase.

Now, if you purchase an iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil at the same time, and you opt to get AppleCare+ for your iPad, (do it, it’s a no-brainer), the Apple Pencil will be covered by AppleCare+ too.  This is because accessories are covered by AppleCare+, if purchased at the same time that AppleCare+ is purchased for the iPad Pro.

Who Should Get the Apple Pencil?

It’s not for little kids

The Apple Pencil is a professional tool.  As such, it should be used by professionals, (or aspiring professionals).  Let me explain.  In the same way that I would not purchase a brand new 2020 Lamborghini Huracán Evo for a 16-year-old boy, I would not purchase an Apple Pencil for a 6-year-old.  Why?  Because it’s overkill.  Just like the 2020 Lamborghini Huracán Evo was designed for professional drivers, the Apple Pencil was designed for professional use.

Now, that is not to say that you have to be a professional artist, (or an artist at all for that matter), in order to use an Apple Pencil.  I would argue, however, that one should at least appreciate the Apple Pencil as a high-quality digital pencil.  Does a 4-year-old know the difference between the Apple Pencil and the Logitech Crayon?  No. This is why Logitech made the Crayon.  It’s the same reason why Chevrolet made the Spark.

The Apple Pencil is Not Just for Artists

The Apple Pencil is a professional instrument, but it is not just for professionals.  It can be used by everyone from audio engineers and video producers, to the person who would just rather navigate their iPad using an Apple Pencil over the finger.

I’ll say it one more time.  The Apple Pencil is not just for artists.  If you find it useful, then use it.  I’m confident you will love it.

Closing Thoughts

What the mouse is to the computer, the Apple Pencil is to the iPad.  It allows for precision.  It is easy to use, even natural.  Above all, it is fun to use it, and will leave you smiling after the first few days of use. 

If, for any reason, you decide that it does not meet your expectations, you can always return the Apple Pencil within 14 days of your purchase date, and Apple will give a complete refund, no questions asked.  However, that certainly has not been my experience, and I am confident that once you use it, you too, will find it a joy to use.

Tim Chesonis

Tim has been helping people with computers needs for several years, and he loves to help people succeed. He brings a wealth of wisdom and insight from an entrepreneur's perspective and enjoys freelance writing. In fact, when he's not writing an article, you might find him binge-watching Suits or formatting his computer . . . again, just for fun. To learn more about Tim, click here.