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Code sleuth discovers reference to Apple Pencil charging via USB-C

A USB-C Apple Pencil could be on the way

Apple could be preparing for an Apple Pencil 3 with USB-C, but it is difficult to determine exactly what a code reference is suggesting in iOS 17.1 beta 2.

The 10.9-inch iPad was released with a USB-C port and convoluted support for the first-generation Apple Pencil. Rumors began pointing to a new Apple Pencil model solving the awkward charging situation and have begun to solidify.

Code discovered by Steve Moser of MacRumors suggests Apple could be working on an Apple Pencil 3 with USB-C. However, the code could also be a shorthand reference to the existing Lightning-based Pencil with USB-C dongle.

Apple ran into a design conundrum with the 10.9-inch iPad that wouldn't allow it to support the magnetic second-generation Apple Pencil, so it relied on dongles. Those who own the 10.9-inch iPad and want to use an Apple Pencil need a charging dongle built specifically for adapting the Lightning-based Apple Pencil to the USB-C port.

It seems Apple may have a solution for that by eliminating the dongle entirely, if the Apple Pencil 3 can charge via USB-C.

A separate rumor suggests Apple Pencil 3 could have interchangeable magnetic tips. Very few verifiable sources have discussed a new Apple Pencil, so it may still be early days for the product's development.

Since the code appeared in iOS 17.1 beta 2, it may just be a reference to existing hardware rather than a fumble from Apple. If a new Apple Pencil is incoming, it will likely be announced alongside new iPads, which likely won't arrive until spring 2024.