Apple Pencil for the Non-Artist

Some iPad owners I know are not completely sold on the idea of getting the Apple Pencil. When we have a discussion about it, they usually say that they don’t need it because they are not drawing artists.

This is an interesting argument that seems to be a common perception. In fact, when you search Twitter or Instagram under the hashtags #iPad_Pro or #iPad, you would find countless beautiful drawings by iPad artist users.

There is no argument really that the iPad with the Pencil is a good combination for artists. However, I would also argue that the benefits of the Pencil go far beyond art and drawing.

The other interesting point here is that Steve Jobs has famously stood against using any stylus on the iPhone or the iPad. As much as I respect Steve Jobs, however, I would argue that the Apple Pencil has now become an essential part of the iPad experience though the issue is still debatable regarding the iPhone.

So, should you get an Apple Pencil?

In a nutshell, getting the Apple Pencil would make your workflow more empowering and versatile. It would also get you closer to a true paperless lifestyle, saving many trees in the process!

Imagine holding all your papers/documents in one powerful and easy to carry device. Any time you need to read/review a paper or write something, you could do it on the device.

Let’s say that you have an upcoming meeting, where relevant reference reports and documents were emailed to you. You would then import these into a dedicated folder in an app like GoodNotes, and then proceed to read the documents, highlight important points and write notes in the margins.

At the meeting, while your colleagues come with a paper notebook and stacks of papers, you go into the room with only the iPad in your hand (and perhaps a cup of cappuccino on the other!). On the device, you’ve got all the reference documents prepared and annotated, and the meeting notebook ready with the agenda items and notes of points you wish to raise and discuss.

As the meeting is proceeding, you are taking notes with the Apple Pencil; hand writing, highlighting, changing colors, copying and pasting handwritten notes, and even emailing the notes to your colleagues for reference.

If you are an educator, you could be requiring your students to submit their assignments in PDF format, where you could easily import them into GoodNotes. You would then grade them by hand using the Apple Pencil, and send back the graded papers.

When you are back from work, as you sit with your spouse planning for the next family holiday, you have the family digital notebook ready on the iPad and brainstorming ideas using the Apple Pencil. You then open Apple Maps to checkout locations you plan to visit. You could circle important stops and take short notes, then save that into the shared trip folder on iCloud.

And so on and on. The possibilities are virtually unlimited. The iPad with the Apple Pencil could then truly become your ultimate digital note taking machine, enabling you to move around with agility and less papers to worry about.

Cost and other options

Perhaps you are nodding in agreement while reading through the scenarios above, but the cost of the Apple Pencil is still an issue stopping you from getting one.

I would agree that the Apple Pencil is not a cheap tool. I have indeed had my own internal debate upon buying my first iPad Pro. When I eventually bought the Pencil two months after getting the iPad, I never looked back. If we consider the whole duration of using the Pencil with the iPad, I believe it is a worthwhile investment.

One could ask what makes the Apple Pencil better than the growing number of alternative stylus models available in the market. The biggest advantages the Pencil has over these alternatives are:

  • Better optimization for the iPad.
  • Pressure sensitivity.
  • Easier charging (especially the Pencil 2 for the 2018 iPad Pros).
  • Design is beautiful and goes well with the iPad.
  • Overall build quality.

To conclude, the Apple Pencil is a very useful, even essential, part of the iPad experience. Drawing has always been a clear case scenario, but you don’t have to be an artist for it to have a positive impact on your life.

With added abilities like digital note-taking and PDF annotation, you would be further empowered to achieve your goals and reach your potential.

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