Danish Kapoor
Danish Kapoor

The new Apple Pencil is the cherry on top of how confusing the iPad is in 2023

This week marks one year since the publication in TechGIndia from an article titled “It’s getting harder to understand where the iPad is going.” In it we talked about how confusing the iPad family was within Apple, the various nonsense that was in it and how diffuse this bet was: while it is very easy to understand where the iPhone, the Apple Watch or the AirPods are going, the iPad is unpredictable.

None of that has changed. On the contrary: it has been consolidated, and Apple has added a final detail to finish adding complexity to what surrounds the iPad. A third Apple Pencil, now with a USB-C connector.


Let’s go in parts.

The new Apple Pencil is a patch for a problem that could have been avoided. Apple kept Lightning on at least one of its iPads until 2022, four years after USB-C arrived on the first. Why so late? It seemed clear then that the future was heading towards USB-C, and so it has been. Extending the transition for four years only brought problems.

Problems such as that second generation Pencil, much better designed (especially for its charge) than the first, has not worked for the iPads that have come after it, only for some. That has forced us to keep alive the first Apple Pencil, the one that has produced so much visual horror. If the commitment to USB-C on the iPad had been overwhelming, this would not have happened.

The new Apple Pencil arrives a year late. The iPad 2022 has spent a year telling its users who wanted a pencil to draw, annotate or sign that they had to use the first generation, and to charge it an adapter, since their connectors did not match.

Assuming that it is a necessary patch to correct the bad decisions of the past, it makes no sense that this peripheral took a year to arrive.

Buying an Apple Pencil should be the easiest thing in the world, but it is complex. If there is an accessory called for simplicity, it is the Apple Pencil. It sounds reasonable that there should only be one. If anything, two: a cheaper one for those who want to make more basic use, such as annotations, and another more advanced one for illustrators and artists who require more precision and extra functions.

But there are three. And what will tell the buyer which one he is interested in will more often be the compatibility, exclusive, than the functions of one or the other.

Apple pencil 1st gen.

apple pencil 2nd gen.

apple pencil usb-c

pressure sensor

magnetic coupling

magnetic charging and pairing

floating pointer

double tap to change tools

free engraving





iPad with Lightning from 2015 onwards.

All iPads with USB-C except the iPad 10th generation.

All USB-C iPads.





This brings us to the previous point: if Apple had really opted for USB-C on the iPad without staggering the transition over so many years, this would not happen.

The past cannot be modified, but its consequences can be corrected. How? Perhaps starting by simplifying the entire iPad family, which seems like the catalog resulting from wanting to please too many people. It is not about reducing the catalog just for the sake of it. The market and Apple have changed, and it makes no sense in 2023 to try to return to the times of one iPhone and one iPad per year.

Now, the current family has certain overlaps. These are all the iPads that Apple sells right nowand the prices they cover in their different configurations (storage and connectivity).

28 different prices for more than 30 models, and not counting the different color options. It is not that it is bad to have a great variety for the client, it is that It is increasingly difficult for the client to understand which one fits them.

If that were the only problem, or that and the Pencil problem, it wouldn’t be a big deal either. But iPadOS has become a chronic disappointment for those who want to do more with their iPad than consume multimedia content, annotate documents or illustrate, even professionally exclusively from the iPad.

For everything else, The iPad has not been able to establish itself as a real alternative to the Mac, because everything it can do, despite the improvements in recent years, is still one step below. Or several.

Safari was catapulted as a desktop browser, we saw Final Cut, Logic and company arrive; and an extended monitor mode was implemented beyond the simple mirroring. But it’s still behind a Mac for everything that doesn’t require direct on-screen tracing.

Final Cut has compromises that are difficult to overcome for the professional who uses it. For example, having to leave the application open taking up the entire screen during rendering. An example of what happens in the rest of the environments: it complies, it can be useful, but It is difficult to understand why spend that money when a Mac (and even more so since Apple Silicon) is going to perform much betterry does not have the restrictions of iPadOS.

An example for certain price thresholds: the 12.9″ iPad Pro with 2 TB, M2 chip and cellular connectivity costs 3,024 euros. For less than 100 euros more we can get a Mac Studio with M2 Max chip (12-core CPU and 30-core GPU), with 32 GB of unified memory and the same 2 TB of storage. And macOS instead of iPadOS. Of course you have to add the screen and we are talking about a desktop versus a tablet, but the difference is clear .

And that’s how life goes for the iPad. Adding more and more models, more prices, even more Apple Pencil; but not adding really interesting new features to iPadOS or proposing more uses where it makes sense as a device, beyond those mentioned.

Featured image | Mukul Joshi on Unsplash.

Danish Kapoor