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Apple® Pencil [First Generation] (A1603)

Here it is: Our very first review of an Apple® product! Not sure why it took this long, but perhaps we got something worth talking about and we're loving what this product features: the Apple® Pencil! This is the first generation Pencil we'll be looking at.

You'd think that pointers, digital pencils, or even stylus pens, are at the ready when Apple® decided to come up with a bluetooth-powered pencil. While it seemed to be an odd move, it transformed touch-screen work way beyond finger pointing and swiping. Companies like Wacom often sold a screen-less tablet to be plugged in, drivers to be installed and is used like any writing/drawing motion on paper using the computer's cursor. Now that computational work is becoming super portable, with tablets becoming the new laptops included with attached/wireless keyboards, we feel Apple® wanted to push further both digital writing and illustrations. That's right: This appeals to those who handwrite, note takers and digital painters/artists using a portable solution—the iPad—and want to compose their crafts on a device that isn't too bulky, and is speedy enough to get working.

Unboxing the contents straight out: The Apple Pencil felt a bit thick than the traditional pen/pencil (I'm right-handed). In comparison to real-life pens, the feeling is similar between a mix of Pilot's G-2, and Pentel's R.S.V.P. pens, without the grip. It feels solid, and isn't weak enough to break which is a good thing. On the very top of the Pencil is a cap that happens to be a cover for the Lightning plug, to plug in your iPad and pair with it. On the other end is the tip of the Pencil, and the package comes with a second one as a backup to the already-attached one. Manuals containing instructions, in different languages, are included.

Pairing with the iPad is very simple: Use the Lightning end of the Pencil and plug in the tablet, where you normally use for charging. This procedure frightens the heck out of us just doing it, so do it gently and firmly without extreme force; You might wear out the plug. Click the System app, click Bluetooth and it should detect the Apple® Pencil. Connect, and you're good to go!

Along with a welcome screen, shown in the pictures above, if you're eager to use and test out the Pencil, access the built-in Notes app and click on the drawing/writing feature, then start writing. Like a real pen/pencil, the Apple® Pencil has pressure sensitivity (thousands of it). What that means is the harder you press, the harder, and darker, the lines become; Apply the strokes gently and the lines come out lighter. This Pencil has been programmed to work exactly like a real pencil, come writing or drawing time. Depending on the app you write with, or illustrate with, some strokes come out better and/or most realistic than others. Oh, and as you write and draw, you'll find that the iPad doesn't detect your palm during usage. This is called palm rejection, and the beauty of the iPad automatically senses this when the user opts to use the Pencil. Apple® really were thinking ahead with this one.

(This review is geared toward the Pencil and not much with the apps, so search and read reviews on which fit your needs. Some drawing apps come with a small fee in order to use its entire features. From our experience, we do basic drawings using Paint 98, and write digital notes using both Notes and Microsoft OneNote apps. Also, some apps have better palm rejection than others.)

"Okay, Kris, that's cool, but how do you charge the Pencil?" Seems like an odd feeling, having to charge a pencil in order to use it. Hey, this is electronic, so it is what it is. As luck would have it, the package comes with a piece that converts the Pencil's Lightning plug from male to female, allowing the use of an AC adapter to charge your Pencil. Sadly, this Pencil does not have some LED indicator telling us when it's charging or when it's fully charged. If anything, let it charge for about 5 to 10 minutes (it doesn't take long for a full charge). Personally, we wouldn't recommend charging the Pencil using the iPad's plug as this could likely bend the Pencil's plug. According to some users, charging the Pencil using the iPad also caused some battery disruption that made both devices lose its ability to hold charge. Very dangerous scenarios indeed, so our advice is to charge the Pencil the traditional way: Using an AC adapter. All those issues were fixed with the second generation Apple® Pencil, where you just place it on the side of the iPad Pro (12.9 inch) using its magnetic attachment, and is able to pair and charge.

Even though some of the quirks were made easier to deal with on the second generation, such as the Pencil being in its traditional 'hexagonal' shape to prevent rolling off, we're very happy with this first generation. It is peripherals like these that gradually changed our usage of the iPad, which, itself, is an excellent tablet to work with and own. Speaking of iPads, this first generation Pencil is compatible with the following iPad models:

  • iPad (8th generation)
  • iPad (7th generation)
  • iPad (6th generation)
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad Mini (5th generation)
  • iPad Pro (12.9-inch, 1st or 2nd generation)
  • iPad Pro 10.5-inch
  • iPad Pro 9.7-inch

Source: Apple Pencil compatibility page.

Personally, we own the iPad [2018] (6th generation) and the iPad Pro [2016] (9.7-inch), and the Pencil works perfectly on both tablets. Check the generation, year and model number of your iPad to ensure it qualifies the usage of the Pencil. If it does, make sure you're fully updated to the most recent OS.

All in all, we love and enjoy every moment spent with the Pencil. Makes you wish you had this during your school days, writing digital notes and archiving them to study later. As for drawing, again, we're geared to draw just for fun, but its pressure sensitivity rivals other digital pens out there. When it comes to art, remember, it's the talent of the artist who's able to compose excellent paintings, and this Pencil should fit the bill for both the professional and aspiring painters.

We love the Pencil, and highly recommend this for nearly every iPad user out there! Thank you so much, Apple®!

(NOTE: We may not be able to answer everyone's concerns and complaints about electronics like these, but if you have any questions or need some help, you are welcome to contact us!)





  • Excellent quality.
  • Great palm rejection, and different pressures of writing.
  • Compatible with nearly all of the drawing/writing apps for the iPad.
  • Pencil charges very quickly, at around five minutes.
  • Lack of ridges may cause rolling out and dropping of this Pencil (a feature that eventually was carried over to the Second Generation).
100% (A+)
Fan Rating
Item Apple® Pencil [First Generation] (A1603)
Info Designed by Apple in California

For iPad models with Lightning connector and Apple Pencil support.
Pour les modèles d'iPad avec connecteur Lightning et prenant en charge l'Apple Pencil.
Para modelos de iPad con conector Lightning y compatibles con Apple Pencil.
Para modeloes de iPad com conector Lightning compatíveis com Apple Pencil.
ISBN / Bar Code number 8 88462 31367 4 / 602-02080-A
Serial Number G64ZT6LHGWTJ
Electronics Category Computer / Laptop / Tablet accessories
User Manual Language(s) English, Spanish, French, Brazilian (Portuguese), Japanese
Generation First
Port(s) Lightning
Box Contents Apple Pencil, Manual, Lightning male-to-female connector, spare Pencil tip
Item / Product Number A1603 / 602-02080-A
Device Release November 11, 2015
Quoted Reviews --
Other Apple Inc., One Apple Park Qay, Cupertino, CA 95014 USA
© 2019 Apple Inc. All rights reserved. 602-02795-A

MK0C2AM/A Apple Pencil
Designed by Apple in California
Made in China Model A1603

CSA Energy Verified


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