iPad Pro 2021 tipped to launch with Apple Pencil 3 — video shows off new look

iPad Pro 2021 and Apple Pencil 3
(Image credit: Apple)

The iPad Pro 2021 is coming and an Apple Pencil 3rd generation model may be joining it. That's the latest buzz spilling out of a new leak that points to the Spring Loaded Apple event on April 20 as a likely place for both to debut. And we just got footage of the Apple Pencil 3 that helps us know which iPad it's for.

The leak comes courtesy of Weibo user UnclePan, which posted a photo of a leaked AirPods 3 design (which looks a lot like the AirPods Pro) — and in that caption referred to an Apple Pencil 3 coming soon. Not only does this user reportedly have a good record of leaks, but this does back up recent reports. 

Twitter account @ileakeer just shared video of the Apple Pencil 3, which shows the glossy body and flat side. As we explain below, this kinda proves that the Apple Pencil 3 is coming for the iPad Pro, as that's the only iPad with a flat charging surface for it. 

We wish all the other iPads had that magnetic charging edge, but a whole-line redesign doesn't seem to be in the cards.

Last month, a new-look Apple Pencil, with a glossy (not matte) barrel leaked, and it had a detachable tip, that looked much larger than the tips of the current Apple Pencils. 

As for what new features an Apple Pencil 3 would offer, rumors date back to 2020, when haptic feedback and a Touch Bar-like display were revealed in patents. Other patents suggested Apple was investigating functional tip modules,  for new sensors. 

Examples could include a light sensor system built into the tip of the Apple Pencil, that could recognize the color of an object, so you could use that color in an app. Which sounds like the future to us. 

As it stands right now, Apple still sells the original Apple Pencil, which is supported by the iPad, iPad Air and iPad mini, as well as the Apple Pencil (2nd Generation), which is for the iPad Pro. Apple needs both because the 2nd Gen charges via magnetically attaching itself to the iPad Pro's side, and the other iPads don't have such a surface for charging the Apple Pencils.

While a new Apple Pencil 3 made for the iPad Pro makes a lot of sense, the original leaked photo made us wonder what iPad it was for — as it hid the flat side. Now that we know better, it's fairly easy to figure out this will replace the Apple Pencil 2nd Gen. 

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.