Does Apple Pencil Work With Iphone 13

Apple tree Pencil with iPad drawing
(Image credit: iMore)

I’ve wanted Apple Pencil back up on iPhone — specifically iPhones with larger than v-inch displays — for a long time. My groundwork is in art and design and the idea of having a tiny drawing pad delights me. Information technology’s my favorite thing about Samsung’s Galaxy Annotation 8 series. It’south not my favorite implementation (come across below), merely the thought of being able to doodle anywhere, any fourth dimension I have my phone in paw is beyond compelling. Same for markup, notes, all of it.

So far, though, Apple tree’s kept Pencil exclusive to iPad. (And, similarly, 3D Touch to iPhone.) Why?

Tale of two technologies

A while ago I wrote about the dissimilar requirements for 3D Touch-based pressure sensitivity and Apple Pencil-based pressure sensitivity:

With 3D Touch on on the iPhone, an array of capacitive sensors integrated into the LED backlight system measure microscopic changes in the distance between the assortment and the cover glass—the kind of changes created by pressure from your finger.That’s combined with data from the accelerometer, which knows how your iPhone is moving through space, and with information from the capacitive multitouch sensor, which knows where your finger is on the horizontal and vertical planes. That way, Apple’south algorithm can provide for the precise, linear, and continuous tracking of pressure level events.

And considering Apple is likely moving away from LCD/LED to OLED in iPhone 8, and will need to implement a different force detection system:

Rumor has it Apple will use a film sensor instead. It’s reportedly more expensive but takes upwardly less infinite, is even more precise, and could theoretically allow for multiple simultaneous points of pressure detection.

Both implementations are different than how Apple Pencil currently works. From my original iPad Pro review:

When the iPad Pro display senses the Apple Pencil, it boosts the scanning charge per unit to 240 Hz. That makes for splendid responsiveness. The multitouch applied science in the console also detects things similar the tilt in the Pencil so it can do things like switching from line rendering to shading. What’s more, the iPad Pro receives data from the Pencil over Bluetooth, including force per unit area levels, which lets it dynamically conform things like opacity and/or size.Apple has besides provided frameworks for coalescing and predicting touch events, allowing apps to fine-melody everything from palm rejection to Pencil tracking. The result is digital input that tracks what y’all’re doing with remarkably little latency and remarkably loftier accuracy.

Multitouch is really 3D. It radiates from the display and tin sense capacitance fifty-fifty if not in direct contact. Other vendors have used this to add features like hover state or to provide some measure of back up with thin gloves. Apple has used it to map the hand, effigy out its position, and more than accurately register touch events and reject unintentional contact.

With Apple Pencil, that’due south combined with the pressure and other information coming off the tip and body of the Pencil itself to produce a remarkably real-world feeling from a digital tool. One much better, in my many years of feel, than the kind achieved with previous generation digitizer-layer technologies like those used by Wacom/Samsung and Microsoft.

Putting the two technologies together adds both complexity and cost. It has to be washed in such a way that neither interferes with or compromises each other, nor raises the bill of appurtenances college than Apple’s toll points (with desired margins) would allow.

Putting Pencil in the palm of your hand

In gild to support Apple tree Pencil on iPhone, a few things would demand to happen. Commencement, iPhone would need to be able to ramp upwardly screen refresh to reduce latency. Apple’due south ProMotion technology, which debuted back in June with the 2nd generation iPads Pro, should be able to handle that.

From my 10.5-inch iPad Pro review:

Apple’s brand name for up to 120 Hz adaptive refresh rate, it lets the display ramp up to 120 fps for tasks like drawing with Apple Pencil, and then you lot become ultra-low latency — xx milliseconds.

ProMotion would also significantly better the iPhone’s display experience, including clearer scrolling and video playback down to “cinematic” 24 fps. When and if Apple adds ProMotion to iPhone, it would have to be uniform with 3D Touch and fit within Apple’s cost construction, and then that handles that.

Size matters

The only other potential issue when thinking well-nigh Apple Pencil on iPhone is size. Apple Pencil was designed to be a full-sized tool. It wasn’t shrunk down so it could be stuffed inside a phone. That makes it annoying to cary — where’s my Pencil?! — but incredible to use. And since an iPad isn’t a pocket device anyway, it’s not much more than piece of work to pull out a Pencil along with it.

iPhone, though, is often kept in a pocket. That’due south what makes the shrunk downward stylus pens on Milky way Notation so user-friendly to carry, if less enjoyable to use.

Apple could simply add support for the current or next-generation Apple Pencil to iPhone and require people to either stuff it into a pocket as well, or comport it in a pocketbook. Apple could also come upwardly with something purpose-built for iPhone and the way iPhone is used.

Better on the bigger phone

Yes, Steve Jobs one time said “yuck” nearly stylus pens and claimed the finger was the best input method. And Jobs was correct — at that time. Resistive stylus pens were… yucky. But fourth dimension marches on and engineering improves. Apple Pencil isn’t a resistive stylus. Information technology may not be “better” than your finger, simply it’south an amazing complement and extension to your finger.

Apple has no dubiety tested Pencil technology on iPhone. Apple tree tests everything. Nonetheless, Apple hasn’t released an iPhone with Pencil support, nor has the visitor brought Pencil to iPad mini. That means we accept our sketchbook (~13-inch) and notebook (~x-inch), but no field notebook (~half dozen-inches).

Looking at Apple’s current product line and projecting forward, it feels similar iPad mini’south best days are behind it while iPhone’s potential is still increasing. Apple Pencil back up would only accelerate that.

So, here’s hoping Apple tree starts doing more than than merely testing Pencil on iPhone — and starts shipping.

Rene Ritchie is ane of the most respected Apple tree analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a calendar month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over twenty million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former manager of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He’s authored several books and appeared on numerous telly and radio segments to discuss Apple tree and the engineering industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.


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