Apple Pencil Pro made me care about gyroscopes for the first time since that fake beer-drinking app

Apple Pencil Pro
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Apple Pencil 3 — Or should we say Apple Pencil Pro?

I’m going to be honest, I’ve always seen gyroscopes in consumer tech as a little bit of a gimmick. Though they have perfectly good uses in robotics and machinery, for every one of those, there are five apps that get you to swish something around on screen for the low low price of $0.99. I distinctly remember pretending to drink beer on a mobile device about a decade ago and can’t help but feel like that cash would have been better spent on… literally anything else now. However, if implemented right, the Apple Pencil Pro’s new gyroscope function could just be the standout feature of the iPad Pro M4’s best new accessory — when paired with another key new idea. 

The right feedback

Before getting onto the gyroscope features, the new haptic engine is worth mentioning. Allowing the Pencil to give unique feedback to confirm uses and register double-tap functions, it will pulse when you swap brushes or start squeezing. This is a small but necessary improvement that means you don’t have to physically look at the brush bar on the best drawing apps for iPad to see if it has registered your movements. 

If you are an artist, this can ensure a quicker workflow where you are less afraid of accidentally drawing over the wrong parts with the wrong tool. This is only one part of what makes me so excited to try out the Apple Pencil Pro. 

Do a barrel roll

The new barrel roll gyroscope feature allows you to move the Apple Pencil Pro around for a more defined and precise control of brushes and pens. If you want more of a smudged effect, you could place it closer to its side as you draw. If you want something sharper and more angular, you can draw from above. Like the aforementioned haptic function, this could work well to make a workflow much smoother. Though the Apple Pencil 2 is a great device, one of the biggest learning curves when I got mine just under half a year ago was how distinctly different it feels from having an actual pencil in your hand. The weight and feel of it is almost perfect but the lines it makes on procreate are a little different to those I would expect. This combination of effects could make the new one so much more intuitive. 

However, this isn’t the only place I see a lot of potential in the gyroscopic functions of the Apple Pencil Pro. Apple Vision Pro, the company’s incredibly impressive spatial headset can map out screens in your physical space. It is designed to keep digital items placed where you have originally put them, which makes it great for games, work, and TV. However, this could pave the way for a digital easel in the future, allowing for life-size digital painting. 

Though you could get an actual easel, you would have to regularly replace supplies and need the physical room to store it. This new function, like artists moving to the digital realm of the iPad before it, could make room for so many more ways for creative people to express their art. Instead of creating a 2D painting you admire from a certain angle, an Apple Pencil could allow for 3D sculpting in your very own space, giving users the ability to make grand works of art that sprawl around an entire room. Though this is maybe a bit more of a pipe dream, given Apple Pencil 2 has limited support for games, but spatial games like stitch. could also be fantastic in Apple Vision Pro, and the gyroscopic features could make for intuitive game controls in the right environment. After all, every artist needs a little downtime sometimes. 

Though the Apple Pencil Pro’s squeeze feature is interesting and the Find My capabilities seem very practical, the gyroscope function is where I think digital artists will be the most creative with Apple’s new tech, and I can’t wait to try it for myself. 

We're covering the Apple iPad event as it happens. Follow the Let Loose event LIVE here. Or check out our roundups for all the latest on the new OLED iPad ProiPad Air, and the new Apple Pencil

James Bentley

James is a staff writer and general Jack of all trades at iMore. With news, features, reviews, and guides under his belt, he has always liked Apple for its unique branding and distinctive style. Originally buying a Macbook for music and video production, he has since gone on to join the Apple ecosystem with as many devices as he can fit on his person. 

With a degree in Law and Media and being a little too young to move onto the next step of his law career, James started writing from his bedroom about games, movies, tech, and anything else he could think of. Within months, this turned into a fully-fledged career as a freelance journalist. Before joining iMore, he was a staff writer at Gfinity and saw himself published at sites like TechRadar, NME, and Eurogamer. 

As his extensive portfolio implies, James was predominantly a games journalist before joining iMore and brings with him a unique perspective on Apple itself. When not working, he is trying to catch up with the movies and albums of the year, as well as finally finishing the Yakuza series. If you like Midwest emo music or pretentious indie games that will make you cry, he’ll talk your ear off.