The Apple Pencil, Cupertino’s downright magnificent stylus for its recently launched iPad Pro, is in short supply — ridiculously short supply, considering the November launch of the 12.9-inch tablet came many months after its initial unveiling. Given the popularity and impressive function of the Pencil, it’s no surprise to find that scalpers have waded in and are now offering the $99 accessory for four times its retail price on eBay.
Pencils, then, are indeed going for as much as $400 on the online auctioning website — a significant hike on Apple’s $99 asking price. Folks with the cash but with little patience may be tempted to cough up instead of holding out for an Apple-delivered Pencil; the accessory is listed as shipping in four to five weeks at Apple’s website, while the iPad Pro itself should be with new customers in just one to seven days.
It’s a real surprise that CEO Tim Cook, with his expertise in Apple’s supply chains, allowed this to happen. It’s nevertheless hugely disappointing, too, that scalpers are profiting from the error, even if this kind of issue has been repeated year after year with similarly delayed Apple products.
I’d hoped, a few days ago, that Pencil and Smart Keyboard orders might clear up in time, much like heavily delayed orders for the Apple Watch did a few months ago. Back then, overly-cautious shipping times meant many customers didn’t have to wait for the new smart watch for as long as they initially expected. Since both the Pencil and Smart Keyboard have been billed by early reviewers as being essential to unlocking the true potential of the iPad Pro, a great many customers are desperate to try both out. Though of course, if you purchased your iPad Pro with a degree of uncertainty as to whether you’re actually going to keep the thing, it’s likely Apple’s return period will come to an end before you have chance to receive and test the Pencil and Smart Keyboard.
Of course, there’s always eBay. But would you really pay $400 for a $99 accessory? I wouldn’t, either.