Cracking Open: Apple PencilBill Detwiler breaks out his tools and cracks open the Apple Pencil, showing you the amazingly tiny tech inside the iPad Pro's handheld input device.
This pencil is made of wood, graphite, a little bit of metal and a little synthetic rubber. You can buy a whole box of them for a few dollars. This pencil on the other hand, costs $99 dollars, and I have no idea what's inside it. Let's find out. I'm Bill Detwiler, and this is Cracking Open. [MUSIC] Released alongside the iPad Pro, the Apple Pencil lets you draw, take notes, mark up documents. Annotate photos. And do basically anything you can do with a traditional pencil. It's also an excellent precision input device for the iPad Pro. And it makes it easy to select small menu items or to make fine adjustments to ant controls. The pencil connects to the iPad Pro via Bluetooth and charges via a lightning connection. It's hidden under a magnetic tab. Now according to Apple a full charge will last about 12 hours. Now thanks to a series of internal sensors, the pencil can detect how hard the tip is pressed against the tablet, and the tips angle as you move across the screen. This allows you to make light lines. Make thick lines, and to shade the areas you are working Now, included with the pencil is a spare tip, as well as a lightning to lightning adapter, that lets you charge the pencil with a regular iPad, or iPhone charger. Now, with all the specs out of the way, let's get cracking'. Before cracking open our pencil, the first thing we wanna do is remove the magnetic tap that covers the lightning connector. And then we're gonna unscrew the tip. Now, at first, we tried to use a heat gun to remove the interior components, by loosening the adhesive, and then pulling them out the back of th pin. When that didn't work, we moved on to a rotary cutting tool, to actually cut through the plastic, and expose the interior component. All right. So, finally, once we are through cutting the plastic shell, we can try and remove it here. And if we lift it off very gently, and pry it off. There's still adhesive in here. You can hear it kind of separate. Boom. There you go. And we can lift that off, and we can actually see the metal cylinder that's inside the plastic cylinder. [NOISE] [BLANK_AUDIO] [NOISE] So after cutting, And a little bit of prying, we were able to remove both the plastic shell and the inner metal shell. And expose the internal components of the Apple pencil. We have the sensors associated with the tip. These will be the pressure and the angle sensors. And we also have the main circuit board here. The battery up here, and then the Bluetooth probably, antenna, and then the lightning connector here on the end. So, what did we learn from cracking open the Apple pencil? Well, for starters this thing is not meant to be taken apart, which is a real shame, because other styluses like the Pencil from 53 can be disassembled. And that brings me to my second observation. If the pencil wasn't designed to be repaired, why use screws inside the thing? Six of them. Maybe Apple just loves screws. As for the brains of the pencil, there's a 32-bit RISK, ARM-based Cortex M3 MCU from STMicro. A blue tooth chip from Cambridge Silicone Radio which is now part of Qualcomm, and at least five other chips with unknown markings. Now powering all this is a tiny three point eight two volt zero point three two nine watt hour battery. Now there's also an antennae, and the pressure and angle sensors near the tip. Despite being one of the more destructive tear downs I've done lately, it was also a lot of fun. Now, for more information on the iPad Pro and the Apple pencil including real world tests from an artist and a video editor, check out Scott Stein's full CNet review. I'm Bill Dettweiler, thanks for watching. [MUSIC]