Apple's March event has come and gone, and while we got a new education-themed stylus from Logitech with Pencil technology, we have yet to see a new Apple Pencil. But 2018 is far from over yet, and WWDC could bring new iPads Pro — and Pencils, too. (Or is that Pencil 2?)

The Apple Pencil is one of my favorite accessories that Apple has ever made, and it's practically a requirement if you own an iPad Pro. But it's not without flaws: I've added my own pen clip to the Pencil's body and, until I picked up the 10.5-inch Logitech case with carrying loop, used Waterfield's Atelier Gear Case to keep my Pencil from disappearing into my bag.

2017's ProMotion tech did give the original Apple Pencil some new life thanks to the 120Hz screen refresh providing for faster draw times, but it's past time for the next generation of Apple Pencil to hit the scene.

Apple Pencil Jr

Sure, we got the low-cost Logitech Crayon as part of Apple's March education event, but at present Apple plans only to make the stylus available to education customers and in bulk — no individual purchase available. In addition, the stylus is designed solely for the 9.7-inch 2018 iPad; those who want a cheaper pressure-free stylus for their iPad Pro are out of luck.

Or are they? I wonder if Apple might not take the lessons of the Crayon to heart and offer an Apple Pencil "Jr" at WWDC this year for general consumers. It might not be possible, but it'd be a nice perk if it were.

There are also those (hi, Rene) who have speculated about a potential low-cost Pencil also working with the iPhone, but I'm not hoping for much on that front. The Pencil on the iPhone is a luxury, and a mostly-unnecessary one at that. Affordable Apple Pencils, on the other hand, sell iPads — and quickly.

Fix that slippery glass feel

The default Apple Pencil nib is pretty great for sketching, but it's slipperier than I'd like for some drawing and most writing. I wrote a bit about this when talking about the possibility of different screen coatings for the iPad:

At its core, this is a scientific problem. Rubber or hard plastic on glass is going to produce a different feel than a nib on paper, and though companies can tweak their nibs slightly to improve the experience with greater drag, it's a hotfix: What might be the perfect amount of drag for one person may prove too sticky or frustrating to work with for another.

At the very least, Apple could experiment with offering different nib options for the Pencil, both for friction, and for design: thicker rounder nibs for blotting, calligraphy-style nibs to truly practice penmanship, and other options for interacting with the screen.

But what I really want is a Pencil with haptic feedback. Again, from my article last year:

The iPad Pro screen has long proven difficult to build a properly-functioning Taptic Engine into because of its size. But what if, instead of adding it to the iPad, Apple were to build a tiny Taptic Engine for the Apple Pencil itself?

For Pencil, microscopic rumbles as you draw could help simulate the feel of paper, or canvas, or other surfaces in a way altering the screen itself couldn't, and because the Taptic Engine is software-controlled, you'd be able to tweak it to your personal preferences on your iPad.

There are, of course, technical challenges: The Pencil's battery life would most certainly take a hit with a Taptic Engine onboard, and Apple would have to do a fair amount of development to squeeze correctly-sized internals into the Pencil's circular body.

But were the company to solve this issue, it could not only help artists and writers have a better experience on the iPad Pro — the technology could be a huge boon for developing accessories for accessibility, too.

The Pencil is now over two years old: A redesign with some haptic technology may well be just what the doctor ordered.

Better pairing

The first Apple Pencil came before the advent of Apple's W1 and W2 auto-pair chips, and I'd be shocked if the next Pencil didn't feature this technology. They're small enough chips that one of them should be easy enough to incorporate into the Pencil's body, and it would provide increases to both battery life and connectivity in the process.

Also, adding a W-chip could open up the possibility for "Find My Pencil", even without adding a speaker to the device. (Especially if there are haptics involved.)

Keep the Pencil's easy charging — but maybe make the cap smarter

I know, I know: People used to Wacom tablets miss having an eraser on the end of their Pencil. I feel for them, but I'm not giving up my ability to charge the Pencil at any time just to have an eraser. Instead, maybe there's a way to make that tiny little cap end a bit smarter — perhaps adding on a capacitive nib, for instance?

Or, heck, maybe we ditch Lightning charging altogether and use Qi charging and the Smart Connector: Drop the Apple Pencil onto an AirPower pad, "dip" it into a portable Qi charger inkwell, or maybe even a Qi-style accessory bag.

Take a page from Astropad's multitouch gestures

If a physical capacitive eraser's out of the cards, Apple could take a cue from Astropad Studio's brilliant Magic Gestures and create multitouch interactions when the Pencil is present to switch tools or bring up shortcuts. This may also address the vocal minority out there who wants function buttons on the Pencil's body (no thank you).

Better storage

Apple's current iPad cases are rubbish when it comes to properly storing the Apple Pencil, and it's taken a number of third-party Pencil accessories to fill that gap. No, this isn't an improvement to the Apple Pencil itself, but any event where Apple announces new iPads and Pencils might also see some new accessories — and I'm hoping beyond hope that we'll see cases that don't ignore the power of the Pencil.

(And hey, if nothing else, Apple could always add magnets to the Apple Pencil to let us attach it directly to our iPad.)

What do you want to see from a new Apple Pencil?

Let me know in the comments.

Updated March 27, 2018: Added WWDC rumors.

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