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Updated Apple Pencil charges wirelessly

The iPad accessory gets some new features finally, three years on.

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Updated Apple Pencil. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

The second generation of the Apple Pencil debuted Tuesday at Apple's "There's more in the making" event in Brooklyn. The company has redesigned the product and added a new charging method. 

This is the first update to the Apple Pencil since it was introduced in 2015. For most tasks on a touchscreen, your finger is enough. But if you need more precision or just want to get a bit more creative, a stylus will let you make darker or lighter strokes in a drawing app, depending on how much pressure is applied. 

The updated Apple Pencil, which uses pressure sensitivity and angle detection, adds new gesture controls that allow you to tap the sides of the pencil to switch among tools. Tap twice and you can switch your tool in the Notes app from a pencil to an eraser. The gesture controls are also customizable, allowing you to create shortcuts to difference functions. 

The second-generation Apple Pencil also attaches magnetically to the side of Apple's newest iPad Pro and pairs automatically. And instead of charging via a Lightning connector, it has a new method that allows the pencil to charge wirelessly when docked to the iPad Pro.  

The second generation Apple Pencil is available today on Apple's website for $129, $30 more than the original Pencil. The new Pencil is not compatible with previous generations of the iPad. Apple will continue to sell the original Pencil for its older iPads. 

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Updated 8:40 a.m. PT: This story was updated with pricing for the second generation Apple Pencil. 

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