On November 11, 2015, Apple introduced the Apple Pencil. This new tool allows users to work with precision, and makes tasks on the iPad Pro effortless. On the outside, it looks like a disposable plastic pen, however, the Apple Pencil is crammed full of tiny technology.
The Apple Pencil is operated in the same way that you would draw or write with a common pencil. This revolutionary feature gives users a variety of tools in a single gadget. The Apple Pencil is distinguished by its responsiveness, as the pencil’s latency is reduced to an almost imperceptible level. The delay is almost impossible to detect, between the moment when the user begins drawing, and the moment the result can be seen on the screen.
The heart of the device is a tiny circuit board weighing in at only one gram. Built onto this board are several components, including an ST Microelectronics STML151UCY6 Ultra-low-power 32-bit RISC ARM-based Cortex-M3 microcontroller unit. At the business end of the pencil there is another tiny circuit board, on which there are three diminutive contacts that are used to mechanically determine how hard the pencil is being pressed.
The versatility and precision of the Apple Pencil make it an ideal tool for artists who prefer to work with traditional mediums.
The iPad Pro senses when the user puts their finger on the Apple Pencil. At this moment, the system scans the signal and submits it to the software. The system scans the movements 240 times per second, which means that the image appears on the screen in a few milliseconds. It also takes into account the pressure the user exercises on the tip, measuring a range of forces applied. The variety of creative effects is literally limitless. If the user presses harder, the lines he or she draws will be thicker. The user can also use a very gentle touch for wispy hairlines.
There are two tilt sensors located in the tip of the pencil. These sensors calculate the relative position of your hand as your draw, then the exact orientation and angle of the Apple Pencil is detected by the Multi-Touch display. Shading effects can be created just by tilting the tool, just like a common pencil or charcoal.
Conveniently, users can rest their hands on the iPad Pro screen while they use the Apple Pencil, as the computer is designed with palm rejection technology. Users will not have to worry about how to position their arm, and can focus on drawing with the utmost precision.
Apple Pencil is perfect to use with built-in apps to find new dimensions of productivity and creativity. It also works with iPad apps from the App Store.
According to Apple, the fully charged battery runtime of the Apple Pencil is up to twelve hours of editing, sketching, scribbling, annotating, drawing, or painting, according to testing conducted by Apple. The Lightning connector lets the user charge the pencil by plugging it into the iPad Pro. The connector features an elongated design, so that charging is possible even when the computer is inside its silicone case. If the battery runs out while using the Apple Pencil, users can charge the pencil from their iPad Pro for fifteen seconds and get half an hour of use. The battery begins charging the moment the charging indicator for the Apple Pencil appears in the Notification Center battery widget.
- CPU: ST Microelectronics STM32L151UCY6. MCU running at 32 MHz.
- System on chip: Ultra-low-power 32-bit RISC ARM-based Cortex-M3.
- Input: Lightning connector, Bluetooth 4.1connection to iPad Pro: Cambridge Silicon Radio (Qualcomm) CSR1012A05 Bluetooth.
- Memory: 64 KB of flash memory.
- Accelerometer: Bosch Sensortech BMA280 3‐Axis Accelerometer.
- Battery: Rechargeable 3.82 V, 0.329 Wh lithium-ion battery. The battery is recyclable. This minuscule battery holds just 5 percent of the charge of the battery found inside the latest iPhone, and can power the pen for up to twelve hours.
- Other features: Antenna that is used to communicate with the iPad Pro. The antenna is housed at the top of the device, below the Lightning connector). Pressure and angle sensors near the tip, which is replaceable. Apple sells it in packs of four).
- Dimensions: 6.92 inches (length) – measured from tip to cap; 0.35 inch (diameter).
- Weight: 0.73 ounce.
Note that in order to get into the Apple Pencil a Dremel power, tool had to be used to cut the outer casing and expose the metallic innards. Apart from the nib or cap covering the Lightning connector, there’s nothing to repair or fix on the pencil which is clearly not a user-repairable device.
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