It wasn’t announced onstage at WWDC yesterday, but Apple’s new Pencil Case might be the most quintessential Apple product to date. It’s a leather sheath for the company’s iPad stylus that comes in four colors. It costs $29, and is described by the company using the usual string of flattering adjectives. “Beautifully crafted,” says the product page, channeling Jony Ive. “A graceful statement [...] cleanly and precisely designed.”
It is a pencil case that holds a single, $99 pencil. Very, very Apple.
In the spectrum of odd products the company has made, the Pencil case probably falls somewhere between the iPod Sock and last year’s $300 coffee-table book. It embodies some of Apple’s better traits, like attention to detail and high-quality craftsmanship, but the overall impression is one of fastidiousness and self-indulgence. It’ll protect your iPad Pencil from scrapes and scratches, I guess, but iPad owners are probably more concerned about losing the damn thing in the first place.
Which is why the Pencil case looks even more unnecessary when compared to its companion piece — a leather iPad Pro sleeve and built-in Pencil holder. This seems like a genuinely useful product, because a) people need cases for their tablets, and b) it keeps the iPad and Pencil together. You get the same pleasing colors and leather craftwork, but also some actual functionality. Although at $129, it seems you can’t dodge the Apple price tag.