Review: Apple Pencil 2 is a huge step forward but still not perfect

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 39
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,374member
    The three things wrong are price, price and price.

    elijahgwilliamlondon
  • Reply 22 of 39
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 783member
    entropys said:
    The three things wrong are price, price and price.

    I don't disagree that it's expensive, but at the same time, it's far more than a dumb stylus - there's a fair amount of tech and development that went into the pencil, and there's also a more limited market for the pencil, meaning it's harder to recoup the costs.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 23 of 39
    I must say that the old one looks much better, is somewhat heavier and therefore has a better feel to it...
  • Reply 24 of 39
    I really like the new stylus - one of the issues I have is that the double tap gesture is a little trigger happy - for me. I tend to adjust my grip constantly while I write and this often means the inadvertent selection of the the alternative tool. All of a sudden I am erasing material in GoodNotes, for instance.

    Otherwise, apart from being more expensive - I don’t care what you say, $200 is a lot of money. I can feed a family of four for that kind of money every week. I did buy it, but I don’t think I’m getting that kind of value. I wouldn’t have ummed and ahhed so much over, say $150, but $200 is definitely starting to enter WTF territory.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 25 of 39
    pnaddaff said:
    So your issues with the pencil are that it is expensive and falls off the iPad too easily?

    “Far from perfect”??
    No, the problems are it falls off, is more expensive, doesn't include tips in the box, cases can't cover the side, the end discolors easily, and gestures are limited. That amounts to far from perfect.
    That's not true about cases. I have the new Otterbox 360 and it covers the side with the Apple Pencil 2 attached. 
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 26 of 39
    Saying that a newer version of something is what the first version should have been is implying that the newer version was actually possible when the first version was introduced, and even for the same price and profit margin, but for some unknown and presumably malicious reason, those in the position to make decisions have chosen the lesser quality item to be brought to market. This is not how reality works.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 27 of 39
    I’ve recently bought an iPad Pro 64GB 3rd gen (I use cloud storage, 64GB is plenty) and an Apple Pencil 2. I’m still learning the ropes. I’m not an artist, my goal is to save time and lots of it. My main purpose is for note taking, documentation that I need to generate for math, simple engineering diagrams (not CAD level). Proper pen computing could save hours of typesetting while not limiting myself to the formatting mindset of a text editor or some form of word processing. The amount of time I feel I’m wasting typesetting equations, drawing some simple schematic in tools like Visio, plotting, etc. makes me feel unproductive. A means of pen(cil) expression would be a boon. I’ve absolutely no need for a keyboard with this beautiful tablet. If my comment is long it is because I’m hoping someone knows a solution to some of the limitations I am facing. This is my second foray into Apple Pen(cil) computing, I was profoundly disappointed with the fully maxed out Apple Newton I got in the late 90’s. It just was not there yet, the lag was pathetic, and even worse the recognition when left handed. It is one of the few tech products I literally tossed in the bin out of pure frustration. But that’s a long time ago. Unfortunately Apple had made little effort until recently and I looked elsewhere in the meanwhile. Over the years I’ve seen some great active pen solutions on Microsoft platforms and Wacom, but there were lag limitations and early Windows Tablet OS was clunky. But today full fledged Microsoft OneNote and xThink MathJournal (and Calculator) are great tools if you are willing to invest a bit of time learning them. But still modern solutions do not come in a hardware format as portable as an iPad. Although some of the current laptops are getting closer and closer each year (HP Specter x360 is pretty sweet to use, some Chromebooks seem to be heading in the right direction too but I’m not in a position to comment). On a tablet I’ve even seen surprisingly a good and cheap “capacitive” software solution with very minor lag and great palm rejection on the NVIDIA Shield Tablet 1st gen. But ultimately it is not an active pen and more importantly the screen was just too small for proper note taking. So it was of limited use for me beyond My Script Calculator and the pen keyboard. And then the second gen tablet came out without an included pen. Samsung has something but I feel it is awkward, slowly supported and their version of Android just confuses me. Believe it or not, I prefer the flexibility of Android over iOS (I know, I’m a heretic saying that here) but that is definitely not true of Samsung’s version of Android. The second gen iPad Pro was tempting but the storage and charging of the original Pencil looked just awful to me (very un-Apple, it does not follow their modus operandi of making things better than the competition which already had better solutions at the time). Then came the third gen with a much smaller footprint, still a great screen size all while having a proper charging and a trivial pairing solution. The hardware aspect is there except having to own a case that exposes the metal sides to scratches, mine issue is very similar to the reviewer’s gripe. To me the storage of the Pencil is not an issue, I just buy a case with a small stretchable pouch where I can slide the pencil in. What finally convinced me to get this generation are some of the great reviews I saw on note taking from medical students. A lot of what they need to write is not easily achieved with traditional text editing and they seem to need a proper pen solution as much as I do. But in retrospect I’m finding my demands to exceed theirs and the iPad is coming short (although I am definitely keeping it). On the note taking side I’ve found the iPad Pro meets my requirements for meeting notes or simple thought exploration. I bought the bundle of MyScript Nebo and MyScript Calculator on the App store. It automatically recognizes hand writing, does math typesetting, I can draw simple hand diagrams that automatically get formatted, I can search handwritten text, it works well in multiple languages (English and French work well in my case), etc. But I haven’t found a nice way to convert handwritten tables, plot a graph, solve for a simple variable, or go beyond basic shapes in the diagrams. And despite my best attempt I can’t seem to embed an object into another object (such as math equation into a diagram). It also needs a lasso mode and simple actions like object deletion without going through drop down menus. Exporting to other formats could be more friendly. I also found their tech support to be a bit curt. The price of the app bundle is amazing and just for the meeting note taking with this tool makes the iPad worth it to me. But I don’t see MyScript having enough resources to revamp their tool to the next level, it even feels like they are reducing their portfolio of apps (music anyone?). Beyond note taking in meetings what I need is something like the full blown MS OneNote app with the full glory of its handwriting recognition, math equation solving, plotting, etc. I’m an Office 365 subscriber, I don’t want a gimped free app, last I tried Ink-to-Text does not work and have found no evidence that it now does. Has this changed? I don’t know how easy it would be for them to have this (do the need some Ink libraries that don’t exist on iPad?), or if the issue is the dichotomy between Office on screen 10.1 inch smaller or bigger which breaks down on the iPad 12.9 but I need such an app to meet most of the current shortcomings and clearly I’m willing to pay. Basically I want a pro documentation App for an iPad Pro device. There are places where Apple falls short with the Pencil. The Notes app is a toy for the Pencil. Perhaps because Notes long precedes the Pencil in existence but the Pencil support feels like a third wheel. Apple’s quality app absence would be fine if there were better third party tools. Sure there is Evernote, Notability, etc. but they seem to be better designed Notes and still fall short of Nebo which is still not enough. Grafio 3 would be a good first step for diagrams but it needs an overhaul for Pencil, and then some. If it is the high cost of development then Apple could amortize a proper app within the exorbitant price of the Pencil 2, but that does not strike me as the Apple way. It does seem that Apple has some form of basic writing recognition but it does not look ready yet (for example when Notes fishes out an automatic title for your new document it is amateur hour for recognition). I’ve no indication that this will improve, so I’m not holding my breath on that. Then the double tap to switch between erase and writing was nice at first glance but I think this was done by someone that did not use the product they made in all of its intended contexts. For note taking purposes it works if your goal is to check out the feature, but not if you are using it in practice. I often myself pausing after erasing something and when I later resume I invariably forget what mode I was in and often start writing with erase mode on. Frustrating having to restart. Outside of artistry I think the scratch erase method and text insertion found in Nebo is much better (double tap is a needless extra step for erasing notes). And scratch out concept works in every environment with any brand pen with no special hardware, unlike double tap. I’d even prefer having to flip the pen to erase over the double tap approach as I know which mode I’m in without diverting any attention elsewhere (IF I were to remember). Scratch out is my favorite and actually beats physical pen(cil) and paper. Otherwise the Apple Pencil 2 itself is extremely responsive, palm rejection is flawless where I’ve tried it, and the processor speed means no lag in most apps. I’d like Pencil 2 to be hexagonal like a typical pencil but I suspect that the issue is only one side would be best for the charge port, a hex would complicate connecting it. Having one flat edge eliminated the problem while similarly giving an explicit location for the double tap. But the uncomfortable feeling that is slowly sinking into me is that only Microsoft has a large enough user base to justify a powerful Pro pen documentation tool that has all the bells and whistles with few limitations. And it took them more than decade to get this (mostly) right. How important is this to Apple? Even on their Pencil totem pole it seems third in importance to photo editing, artistry which are always mentioned (i.e. what some people too narrowly call “creative work”). My only hope is that there is an Apple desire to make a dent in the growing Chromebook presence in the classroom to achieve this, I can see that market being big enough. But they would need to achieve this before Google does it. And even then I think Microsoft already has two tier pricing for Office on Chromebooks on larger screens (10.1), so that removes one of my perceived barrier to OneNote. In short I don’t think the limitations on the iPad Pro are technical, perhaps just something not worth pursuing? With Google seemingly yielding to Apple on tablets I’m dearly wanting for Apple to come through here (again I don’t care for Samsung’s subpar software work here, there is a point where it doesn’t matter how incredibly beautiful the physical device is). Outside of Pro documentation usage I want Pencil to come to more apps. I’d love to do my favorite crosswords with Pencil, make me forget I am using a tablet. I think there is more chance of that happening. Finally on a device as large as an iPad pro 12.9 without a keyboard or mouse make the pencil is very useful even in simple scenarios, the long device has far more reach than any of my fingers. The fact that it does not include tips ? That was a good thing for me. I went and bought a “like new” unboxed Pencil 2 on eBay for I price I could agree to and I’m not missing anything. Works like a charm and I don’t see myself needing a replacement tip anytime soon. Let me buy tips separately and share some with someone else if need be. The missing tips probably affect the “creatives” much more. This Pencil should not cost more than a high end Wacom pen (and for my use more than an N trig). Outside of Pencil usage the iPad 12.9 is an absolutely beautiful device. Textbook reading is just simply amazing (even without a Pencil), the only thing that I could see beat it is an e-reader device with an equally large screen, with full color e-Ink and similar resolution, a powerful processor and a better battery life. The iPad exists now, I don’t think the other device is even contemplated by anyone. Qualcomm Mirasol gave me hope for a while but that is long dead. That alone makes the 12.9 iPad a gem, this device will last me a very long time. Again if anyone has a good suggestion for a documentation handwriting app with fast recognition, math typesetting, powerful diagramming, table making, handwriting search, etc. please chime in. Something beyond Nebo’s concept. I’ve real use for this, I’ll be extremely happy to learn I missed something or to learn I’ve got it wrong.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 28 of 39
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 1,859member
    The person who feels it’s useless might mean it’s useless to them. It’s semi useless to me as well because of the thing Apple sill hasn’t addressed with this new version: the tip. Against a smooth glass screen, it’s far too slippery. There’s no tooth. No friction. And, NO, I am NOT going to put a textured screen protector on to work around this problem.

    Yes, there are people who do use these styluses without that complaint. Good for them. For me, however, I can barely use mine. I never got used to it because it just feels wrong. My Wacom stylus and tablet both provide friction between them. The Wacom styluses have interchangeable tips with different material. My favorite is the felt tip type which I have on two styluses. They feel natural. The sad part about them is that they’re on a blind tablet. I have to look at a screen and not the stylus. The iPad Pro and Apple Pencil was supposed to be the dream solution of letting me use a stylus ON the work space directly, without buying some Windows or Linux Wacom tablet screen mutation I didn’t otherwise need or want. But, the Apple Pencil was anything but a dream solution.

    All I have used it for, after growing intolerant of the various inconsistently-implemented drawing/painting apps (the Pencil behaves differently in all of them), is to sign my name on PDFs, and those I have saved at this point and only need to drag and drop.

    The $100 expenditure was a waste for me.

    Oh yeah, have they fixed the way the Pencil quickly discharges its battery while not in use?
    williamlondon
  • Reply 29 of 39
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 783member

    atomic101 said:
    Apple Pencil 2 is night and day better than the original, likely what Apple should have shipped the first time 
    Every time I see this comment anywhere I point out how absurd it is -- products don't spring forth out of clam shells, fully-formed. They require iterations to get better. Is today's Mac what the first Macintosh should have been? Is today's Porsche what the first Porsche should have been? Etc. It doesn't work that way. Products evolve and get better over time. I have the first Pencil and it does exactly what it's supposed to do, and I haven't lost the cap, destroyed the tips, etc. It does its job. And now, the Pencil 2 does that job better. As it should.
    Except we’re not talking decades or generations between Apple pencils as in your examples. The phrase is not absurd given its context. The first pencil, especially with its inelegant charging solution, shows signs of a rushed product or lack of forthought. Surely, this is the product Apple should have come closer to realizing on its first attempt. They’re not amateurs in the industry, after all. 
    It doesn't matter what the time frame is. The Pencil has been out for *over three years*...things improve over years. The iPad 2 was better than the iPad 1, as is expected. Does that mean they shouldn't have released the iPad 1 for another year? No, that's absurd. 

    Same here. Waiting three years for this Pencil would have been stupid. 

    I have the Pencil, it's not inelegant because it uses the same cables I already own. I can plug it right into my Mac once every so often. It was neither rushed nor lacking. It was great, and its marvel at the time was its *completely superior* resolution, low/no-lag, palm-detection, and good pressure sensitivity. Those were the *primary use cases* that mattered. The primary things to nail, and nail it they did. Now it's being refined via iterative development, and they've moved to other facets of use. 

    You know, as Apple has always done. Remember the original iPhone? It couldn't even do copy & paste, and had no video whatsoever. Should they have waited until the iPhone 3? Nope. Iterative product development is how Apple rolls.

    Here's an article on this from almost 10 years ago:

    https://www.macworld.com/article/1151235/macs/apple-rolls.html
    How can you call either the ‘digital lollipop’ or digging around to find a separate, tic-tac sized adapter that’s lost in your desk drawer an ‘elegant’ solution? What we have now is elegant. The original design worked, but it was hardly elegant. 

  • Reply 30 of 39
    To start, Apple has bumped up the price of the Pencil, but decided not to include additional tips in the box. We can partially see the logic here as many didn't even know they were there in the first place and haphazardly tossed them out at the onset. Still, for die-hard users who need to replace the tip, it is a bit of a kick in the shin after having to pony up money for a new version to use with the new iPad Pro.
    I can remember the exact same claim of it being thrown away with the EarPods when they stopped having the carrying case in the box. The point in both cases they are accessory, and the people know what they are buying separately, and I assume more people did use those than assumed, and a downgrade on that accessory purchase is a really bad sign of the company.

    The fact that this Apple Pencil raised price is not that big a deal, what is the big problem is that someone could buy the 12.9" iPad Pro keyboard and pencil for just over $1000, now because the whole bundle went up, and there are specifically not backwards compatible at all (one with the 2017 or 16 iPad Pro cannot take advantage of this ones features), that bundle is now about $1300. The we updated it for a cost, philosophy is quite a way discourage new buyers of an iPad Pro, and sure you don't while no one needs the keyboard and pencil, at this point, that's a large part of what people are buying the iPad Pro for. (Pencil gen 1 support on the non Pro might be lightening this).

    This is just a thought, and Apple will never follow suit, but including the Apple Pencil when they choose to raise the price, would be a way to still increase profit, but make buyers not feel ripped off.
    elijahg
  • Reply 31 of 39
    macguimacgui Posts: 963member
    My biggest problem with the Apple Pencil 2 is that it does not do much outside of drawing and notetaking. I feel like you should be able to do a lot more than that. The pencil does not interact with apps like Safari and many other Apple apps. 
    The next Pencil will be made of recycled aluminium. You'll be able to use it as shuriken, jabbing people in the jugular, and to better throw it up into the ceiling when not engaging ninjas.

    You know, all the things you do with regular No. 2 pencils when not drawing or taking notes.
    elijahgwatto_cobra
  • Reply 32 of 39
    macguimacgui Posts: 963member
    I would like to have seen the Pencil v2 sold at the same price as the v1 because I know Apple could do it and still make a profit on it, and because they've done similar in the past.

    I would like to have seen Apple include one spare tip, as a nice gesture, if the original wears somewhat quickly, because Apple could do it and still make a profit on it. 

    I don't expect it from Apple, because they're Apple. For the last several years Apple has taken to giving you just what you need to get up and running, and less, if possible, such as not providing a wall charger for the Aluminium Watch. But I think they backtracked that. So far, no, on including a spare Pencil tip or two.

    These are far from unreasonable expectations, but Apple has changed business models somewhat.



    elijahg
  • Reply 33 of 39
    davgreg said:
    Only Apple would have the cojones to make a cheap plastic pencil that expensive and generally useless.

    I have one of the originals and it sits in the bottom of a laptop bag unused. A good stylus/pencil would be appreciated  and neither the one I own or the new one seem to be worth the trouble or expense.


    So you bought the original Pencil swayed by the ads you saw and not based on whether or not you had a use-case it satisfied?

    williamlondoncornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 34 of 39
    razmataz said:
    I’ve recently bought an iPad Pro 64GB 3rd gen (I use cloud storage, 64GB is plenty) and an Apple Pencil 2.
    <SNIP>
     I’ve real use for this, I’ll be extremely happy to learn I missed something or to learn I’ve got it wrong.


    No one would have read what you have typed here.

    Try using paragraphs. It really helps if you have a lot to say, as is the case here.

    edited December 6 williamlondoncornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 35 of 39
    mike54mike54 Posts: 268member
    It seems that you are not expected to charge the pencil when you have a case that covers the sides.

    One flat side is not designed for rolling resistance which is why it still rolls easily, its designed solely for mating the pencil with the iPad.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 36 of 39
    I do not understand why the first gen pencil is not compatible that is my only gripe.  People invest in apple and apple should respect that for their customers.
    elijahg
  • Reply 37 of 39
    foljsfoljs Posts: 307member
    davgreg said:
    Only Apple would have the cojones to make a cheap plastic pencil that expensive and generally useless.

    I have one of the originals and it sits in the bottom of a laptop bag unused. A good stylus/pencil would be appreciated  and neither the one I own or the new one seem to be worth the trouble or expense.
    Useless for you. All the creative illustrators, digital painters, etc I know say it's the best and most useful stylus. And ditto for everybody regularly taking digital notes.

    Now why you, who don't seem to do either, would buy one, I'd ascribe it to idiocy and move on.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 38 of 39
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 3,253member
    Would Steve buy one ?



  • Reply 39 of 39
    dysamoria said:
    The person who feels it’s useless might mean it’s useless to them. It’s semi useless to me as well because of the thing Apple sill hasn’t addressed with this new version: the tip. Against a smooth glass screen, it’s far too slippery. There’s no tooth. No friction. And, NO, I am NOT going to put a textured screen protector on to work around this problem.

    Yes, there are people who do use these styluses without that complaint. Good for them. For me, however, I can barely use mine. I never got used to it because it just feels wrong. My Wacom stylus and tablet both provide friction between them. The Wacom styluses have interchangeable tips with different material. My favorite is the felt tip type which I have on two styluses. They feel natural. The sad part about them is that they’re on a blind tablet. I have to look at a screen and not the stylus. The iPad Pro and Apple Pencil was supposed to be the dream solution of letting me use a stylus ON the work space directly, without buying some Windows or Linux Wacom tablet screen mutation I didn’t otherwise need or want. But, the Apple Pencil was anything but a dream solution.

    All I have used it for, after growing intolerant of the various inconsistently-implemented drawing/painting apps (the Pencil behaves differently in all of them), is to sign my name on PDFs, and those I have saved at this point and only need to drag and drop.

    The $100 expenditure was a waste for me.

    Oh yeah, have they fixed the way the Pencil quickly discharges its battery while not in use?
    So you want the feeling of the Wacom pencil, without the texture of the Wacom pads. It's called physics, Wacom uses all matte surfaces on their pads and screens, that's why they feel great to draw on them. They crate different frictions between all their material options. I use the iPad with the pen for sketching on work daily and I put a matte screen protector on it. The drawing experience is much better, but you loose a bit of the sharpness of the screen. Sometimes you have to compromise to get the exact experience you want. If Apple started making matte glass iPad people would start complaining about the screen scratching while using the pen, which guess what? It ALWAYS happens with the Wacom products.
    watto_cobra
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