Which Apple Pencil does iPad Air 3 support?
Best answer: Apple's new 10.5-inch iPad Air supports the first-generation Apple Pencil.Get the Apple Pencil: Apple Pencil (First generation) (opens in new tab) ($100 at Amazon)Get the iPad Air: iPad Air 3 (opens in new tab) ($499 at Amazon)
The new iPad Air (2019) uses the original Apple Pencil
With its brand new iPad Air, Apple has included support for the original Apple Pencil. The first-generation Pencil features a Lightning connector on top, underneath a removable (and frankly, highly-loseable) cap. Just plug the connector on the Pencil into the iPad Air's Lightning port, then tap "Pair" when prompted to do so on your iPad, and you're good to go. From then on, the Pencil will be connected to the iPad via Bluetooth.
The Lighting connector is also how you'll charge the Apple Pencil. You can plug it into your iPad Air when you're not using it so that the Pencil can charge. The Pencil also comes with a Lightning adapter, which has two Lightning ports, one which is plugged into by a Lightning cable, and the other which you use to plug in your Apple Pencil. This way, the Pencil can charge without having to stick out of your iPad Air.
What about the Apple Pencil (second generation)?
So far, Apple has made only one set of devices that work with the second-generation Pencil, the 2018 iPad Pro models. Both the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro have flat sides that accommodate a magnetic attachment point for carrying the second-generation Apple Pencil, this magnetic point also has a built-in inductive charger for the Pencil.
Including this hardware on the new iPad Air would have driven up costs for Apple, and, subsequently, the price of the new iPad for customers.
The original Apple Pencil is still a capable stylus.
While it might not have the magnetic attachment or inductive charging capabilities of the second-generation Pencil, the first-generation Apple Pencil is about as capable when it comes to writing and drawing.
Apple's new mid-range tablet with support for Apple Pencil.
The third-generation iPad Air features the laminated 10.5-inch display of the 2017 iPad Pro and is powered by Apple's custom A12 system on a chip, which also powers the latest generation of iPhones. It supports the Apple Pencil, and features a smart connector to use with the Smart Keyboard Cover.
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Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.
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