Last night, I read a post by Larry Port on the Legal Productivity blog about things that he dislikes about the Apple Pencil. He had two complaints about charging the Apple Pencil: (1) it looks silly when the Pencil is connected to the side of an iPad and (2) there is no place to put the cap while you are charging. I respect Larry on issues of legal technology; he is the CEO and founder of Rocket Matter, one of the leading online services for law practice management. Nevertheless, I disagree with Larry on that first complaint, and I have a tip regarding the second one.
Charging on the side
One of the ways that you can charge an Apple Pencil is you remove the cap on the back and then connect it to the Lightning port on the iPad Pro. If your iPad is in the landscape position, that means that the Pencil will be sticking out of the side of the iPad Pro. Larry thinks that Apple should have done it another way because that is inelegant, but I disagree. I think it is brilliant that you can charge the Pencil using just the iPad Pro that is surely right next to the Pencil, without having to find a charging cord or adapter. Would I want the Pencil sticking out of the iPad all of the time? Of course not, but you don't have to worry about that because it takes very little time to charge the Pencil.
If you are using the Apple Pencil and you get an alert on the iPad Pro that the battery is running low, you can connect the Pencil to the iPad Pro for only 15 seconds and get another 30 minutes of battery life, which for me is virtually always enough extra power to finish the task at hand. Later, when I am not using my iPad, I can plug in the Pencil for a little longer to get back up to a full charge. (It takes about 10 minutes to go from nothing to a 50% charge, and almost 20 minutes to go from nothing to a 100% charge.) Because the Pencil holds a charge for about 12 hours, I can go for days or weeks before I have to worry about charging the Pencil again.
You don't need to use an iPad Pro's Lightning port to charge an Apple Pencil — it comes with an adapter to use a Lightning cord — but that's the way that I always do it. In my opinion, the convenience of being able to quickly recharge the Pencil without fumbling for a cord or adapter far outweighs the temporary unsightliness of having the Pencil connected to the side of the iPad for a few seconds or minutes.
A place for the cap
Regarding Larry's second point about the cap, here is a tip: attach the cap to the magnets on the side of the iPad while the Pencil is charging. The sides of the iPad have numerous magnets designed to attach to the Apple Smart Cover and Smart Case — five on each of the long sides, and two on each of the short sides. Those magnets are more than strong enough to hold the cap. So whenever I charge my Pencil, I just put my cap on the magnet which is slightly above the Lightning port where my Pencil is plugged in.
Even if my iPad is propped up (e.g., using the Apple Smart Cover folded in a triangle), the magnet is strong enough to stop the cap from falling off. Best of all, I always know exactly where my cap is when it is time to return it to the back of the Pencil.
Get a clip
Larry did voice one complaint that I agree with: there is no easy place to store the Apple Pencil. And unfortunately for Larry, he wrote his post shortly after he had lost his Pencil at a restaurant earlier that day. (I hope he recovered it!) My solution, which I wrote about back in December, is to add a clip to the Apple Pencil such as the Fisher Chrome Clip. For just a few bucks, you can make it easy to clip an Apple Pencil in your shirt pocket, or in a side pocket in a briefcase or purse.