iFixit tears down the Apple Pencil

iFixit has posted a teardown of the new Apple Pencil. The report notes the basic specs of the Pencil, noting a new Apple model number of A1603, and draws comparisons to the Microsoft Surface Pen and 53’s “iPad Pencil,” the latter of which oddly bears the same Pencil name and continues to be sold by Apple in its retail stores. The Apple Pencil box includes a spare tip along with a Lightning-to-Lightning adapter to allow users to charge their Pencils using any available Lightning cable instead of connecting the device to the bottom of their iPad. A Lightning Connector cap keeps that end covered when not in use, snapping into place with magnets, although it’s small enough to be easily lost when not attached to the Pencil.
Disassembling the Pencil was challenging, iFixit notes, with the nib coming off easily enough to reveal parts supporting the emitters in the tip that are used to determine the Pencil’s angle and orientation relative to the iPad Pro display to adjust strokes accordingly. The Lightning Connector on the other end omits the “eraser” tip found on 53’s Pencil — noting that it’s an odd omission for a device with a name like “pencil.” Even with the removal of the Lightning Connector, no obvious points of entry were found on the Pencil, requiring iFixit to cut through the outer plastic casing of the Pencil and then cut and pry at the inner metal cylinder to get at the device’s innards. Once inside, inspection revealed a tiny 3.82 V 0.329 Wh rechargeable lithium-ion battery, with the report drawing a comparison to Microsoft’s Surface Pen, which uses a user-replacement AAAA battery rated at between 0.4 and 0.9 Wh. The small logic board, folded in half to maximum usage of space, reveals an ultra-lower power 32-bit RISC ARM-based Cortex-M3 MCU by ST Microelectronics, along with several other chips which include a Cambridge Silicon Radio (Qualcomm) CSR1012A05 Bluetooth Smart IC to handle wireless communication with the iPad Pro. In conclusion, iFixit noted that the Apple Pencil is extremely difficult to repair beyond simply replacing the pen nib and cap, as you can’t get access to the internal components without basically destroying the device. Notably, the battery is also impossible to replace, which means Apple Pencil will have a limited lifespan once its battery wears down.


Jesse Hollington was a Senior Editor at iLounge. He's written about Apple technology for nearly a decade and had been covering the industry since the early days of iLounge. In his role at iLounge, he provided daily news coverage, wrote and edited features and reviews, and was responsible for the overall quality of the site's content.