Apple Pencil's 'incredible' design packs 15 semiconductors into small space

Posted:
in iPad
Though the Apple Pencil is simple on the outside, the inner workings of the iPad Pro stylus are a major technological achievement, a new analysis from the silicon experts at Chipworks has found.




Upon dissecting the Apple Pencil, Chipworks discovered 15 semiconductors housed inside the 1-gram accessory, measuring just 176 millimeters long, and 9 millimeters thick.

"This is quite incredible for something so small," the chip analyzers concluded.

Their teardown of the Apple Pencil found that Texas Instruments and STMicroelectronics were responsible for the largest share of parts in the stylus. The device also houses chips from Maxim Integrated Products, Cambridge Silicon Radio, SiTime, Bosch, and Fairchild.

Chipworks also found an Apple-branded part inside the tip of the Pencil. Upon taking it apart, they discovered a driver integrated circuit designed and fabricated by STMicroelectronics.

Chipworks has promised much more in the coming weeks, including details on how the stylus and iPad Pro work together. The Apple Pencil can only be used with the iPad Pro, relying on special technology within the 12.9-inch tablet's display.

An earlier, more basic teardown of the Apple Pencil found that the device's logic board is folded in half to fit inside the writing and drawing tool. In its analysis, iFixit declared the Apple Pencil logic board to be the smallest it has ever seen.




The plastic shell of the Apple Pencil also houses a tube-shaped lithium-ion battery, rated at 3.82 volts and 0.329Wh. The device is rated for 12 hours of battery life, while 15 seconds of charging provides 30 minutes of uptime.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities said late last year that the complex design of the Apple Pencil caused hiccups in assembly when the accessory launched. Supply chain yields are expected to improve as Apple's partners become more accustomed to building a new format device.

As of Tuesday, new Apple Pencil orders from the official Apple online store are still advertised with a 4-to-5-week delay before shipping, suggesting demand continues to outstrip supply.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 39
    icoco3icoco3 Posts: 1,474member
    For those who actually have one...how do you find the weight and balance of the pencil?
    cornchip
  • Reply 2 of 39
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,381member
    icoco3 said:
    For those who actually have one...how do you find the weight and balance of the pencil?
    Perfect.
    icoco3bdkennedy1002cornchip
  • Reply 3 of 39
    icoco3icoco3 Posts: 1,474member
    slurpy said:
    icoco3 said:
    For those who actually have one...how do you find the weight and balance of the pencil?
    Perfect.
    That's good because if that was off, it wouldn't matter how good the tech was, it would bomb.  A nice touch to consider all things when designing it.
  • Reply 4 of 39
    polymniapolymnia Posts: 1,080member
    icoco3 said:
    For those who actually have one...how do you find the weight and balance of the pencil?
    I find weight & balance great.

    I am looking forward to 3rd party grips. I'd prefer something a bit thicker & grippier.

    Maybe the same 3rd party will make some 4th Gen AppleTV Siri Remote grips to help me tell front from back end.
    icoco3
  • Reply 5 of 39
    bobschlobbobschlob Posts: 1,074member
    Wish AI had made that top picture 'click to zoom'. Too small to be appreciated.
    Prof_Peabodycornchipredgeminipa
  • Reply 6 of 39
    Here's where the obsession with weight, thinness and power conservation pays off.
    Prof_Peabodycornchip
  • Reply 7 of 39
    icoco3 said:
    For those who actually have one...how do you find the weight and balance of the pencil?
    The weight and balance are great. The pencil has a nice feel to it. I know some of the people who have used mine would like to see different grips for it but I do not feel it is necessary. Grips would be easy to customize to the user however. The biggest thing for me was to get comfortable putting my palm onto the screen. At some point in the future if they could add texture to the screen to mimic different materials that would be awesome as well. This project is INSANE. I have used several different stylus products and none come close to the Apple Pencil.
    rogifan_oldicoco3cornchipredgeminipa
  • Reply 8 of 39
    tmaytmay Posts: 6,250member
    Here's where the obsession with weight, thinness and power conservation pays off.
    We could speculate of all kinds of niche products that Apple could excel at with the technology just of the Watch and Pencil, but then remember that Apple loves to make margins.
    cornchip
  • Reply 9 of 39
    Love my pencil. iPad Pro and Apple Pencil: one of the best products Apple has released in a long while.
    cornchip
  • Reply 10 of 39
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,236member
    bobschlob said:
    Wish AI had made that top picture 'click to zoom'. Too small to be appreciated.
    Click on the "15 semiconductors" link to go to the Chipworks article and see more photos.
    cornchip
  • Reply 11 of 39
    Can't innovate my ass!
    radarthekatcornchip
  • Reply 12 of 39
    The Pencil feels amazing. I passed it around at work and the animators love it. It makes the iPad Pro. I got sick of waiting so I just bought one on eBay for an extra $50 with free shipping. It was worth it.

    edited January 2016 cornchip
  • Reply 13 of 39
    Can we please have at least a technical article without mentioning of any "anal-yst" please? Thank you. 

    I have grown so sensitive to the junk that is being spread by them, I just can't bear to read any word of them anymore. 
    edited January 2016
  • Reply 14 of 39
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,088member
    polymnia said:
    icoco3 said:
    For those who actually have one...how do you find the weight and balance of the pencil?
    I find weight & balance great.

    I am looking forward to 3rd party grips. I'd prefer something a bit thicker & grippier.

    Maybe the same 3rd party will make some 4th Gen AppleTV Siri Remote grips to help me tell front from back end.
    I would think that could be solved by just fitting a rubber tube one the pencil right?  Like an automotive fuel line hose, or surgical tubing, etc.. ?
  • Reply 15 of 39
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,088member
    What's pathetic are the pencil-haters (especially the ScamScum fanboys) that compare the Note's stylus to be on-par with the Pencil.  They are still harping on it about the Pencil being just a "gimmick".  Ignorant a$$hats.
    cornchipbobschlob
  • Reply 16 of 39
    sflocal said:
    polymnia said:
    I find weight & balance great.

    I am looking forward to 3rd party grips. I'd prefer something a bit thicker & grippier.

    Maybe the same 3rd party will make some 4th Gen AppleTV Siri Remote grips to help me tell front from back end.
    I would think that could be solved by just fitting a rubber tube one the pencil right?  Like an automotive fuel line hose, or surgical tubing, etc.. ?
    Or one of the many, many grips already sold for ... pencils and pens.  

    It's the same size isn't it?


    icoco3
  • Reply 17 of 39
    I'm still waiting to receive mine... :(
  • Reply 18 of 39
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,411member
    I have iPad Pro and Pencil for over a month now. I love the Pencil. Perfect weight. Good balance. The weight is not distributed evenly so the Pencil doesn't just roll off. 

    I just wish iPad Pro uses a magnet to hold the pencil. There is some magnetic attraction on the side where you dock the keyboard but it doesn't hold it. 

    I do wonder how the Pencil manage to work so well and how it interacts with iPad Pro seems like a mystery. If you put paper over iPad Pro, it still registers just fine. Even with three papers on display, it will still work. I just don't understand how it exactly interacts.

    That may explain why Pencil is quite a complex stylus. 






    edited January 2016 icoco3
  • Reply 19 of 39
    tmay said:
    Here's where the obsession with weight, thinness and power conservation pays off.
    We could speculate of all kinds of niche products that Apple could excel at with the technology just of the Watch and Pencil, but then remember that Apple loves to make margins.
    A non sequitur. 
  • Reply 20 of 39
    vrfvrf Posts: 13member
    icoco3 said:
    For those who actually have one...how do you find the weight and balance of the pencil?
    I find the feel of the Pencil pretty good. At first, it seems a tad heavy for a drawing tool, but you get used to it. But overall, no issues with weight and balance.

    However, the battery drain is pretty terrible. If you use it regularly, it seems to run out of juice much faster than it should. Annoying, and I hate how it charges.
    SpamSandwich
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