Mainstream media blows it, takes Steve Jobs stylus comment out of context

“On Tuesday, September 8, Apple unveiled an all new iPad, the iPad Pro. It sports a gorgeous 12.9″ display, and works in concert with the amazing new Apple Pencil,” Mark Reschke writes for T-GAAP. “iPad Pro combined with Apple Pencil will be a graphic artist’s dream. However, the media seems obsessed by one comment made by the late Steve Jobs in 2007.”

“In January of 2007, Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone. The iPhone had no physical keyboard, just a 3.5″ multi-touch display. It was, at the time, a radical approach. During the unveiling Jobs explained how users would interact with the device,” Reschke writes. “A stylus was out of the question.”

“What the media has omitted is that Steve Jobs comments regarding a stylus was in context of a 3.5″ iPhone display,” Reschke writes. “For the media to imply a nearly 8 year old Jobs’ comment — that was referring to how to use a 3.5″ iPhone interface — is also a comment Jobs also made about the new 12.9″ state-of-the-art iPad Pro, largely geared to the creative market, is not only sensationalism for the sake of controversy, it is outright lazy and deceptive journalism.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back in August:

The stylus will become more important with the “iPad Pro,” with its larger display for enterprise and education. Before anybody goes quoting the guy below, an iPad is not an iPhone:

“Who wants a stylus? You have to get ’em and put ’em away and you lose them. Yuck! Nobody wants a stylus, so let’s not use a stylus.” – Steve Jobs, January 9, 2007

The best stylus for the iPad – May 7, 2015
Apple files another patent application for sensor-laden active stylus – April 16, 2015
Analyst: Apple likely to launch simple stylus with 12.9-inch iPad Pro; advanced 3D stylus due later – January 18, 2015
Apple granted another smart pen patent for capturing digital copies of notes and drawings – December 30, 2014
Apple files their 10th ‘Smart Pen’ patent of the year – December 6, 2014
iPen: Apple patent applications reveal advanced modular smart-pen – February 2, 2014
iPen? Apple secretly files three dynamic smart-pen patents in Europe – February 28, 2013
Apple patent application reveals advanced ‘active stylus’ for iOS devices – December 31, 2012
Apple patent application reveals more about their optical iPen and graphics program – May 24, 2012
Apple patent app details smart, heated ‘iPen’ stylus for iPad and iPhone – July 7, 2011
Apple patent application details new type of stylus for iPad – February 3, 2011

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Jeff L.” for the heads up.]


    1. Navigating through a device is an *essential* part of the device’s user interface. So that is exactly the opposite of what Steve was trying to say.

      Steve’s point was that *requiring* a stylus to operate the interface (or making it even essential to the interface) is against common sense.

      We all have fingers. We exceedingly rarely lose them. (Hell, back when I had a Palm Pilot I must have lost a dozen of those styli.) We should make fingers our primary touch interaction medium to the device. We should not require a stylus or significantly degrade the usefulness of a device if we don’t use a stylus.

      The iPad Pro is still such a device. The *primary* touch input device is still the user’s finger. Even if the user employs an Apple Pen, the user can still use his/her finger(s) as the primary input to the device — and do so interchangably with the Apple Pen.

      *ADDING* the Apple Pen is an *option* that will, under certain circumstances* allow additional options for modes and methods of input into the iPad Pro.

      None of this goes against Steve’s position that he presented when announcing the original iPhone. None of it.

  1. what do you expect from the mass media, except a mass of dung?!

    if you can’t even calculate the most basic facts:
    1. 2007-01 vs 20015-09
    2. iPhone vs iPad
    3. 3.5” vs 12.9”
    4. pocket vs office
    5. call device vs creative device

    we can suppose those reactionary “news” agents of exaggerations or non-facts, wouldn’t even know the which side their periods come from, back or front. change jobs!

    think before you click (publish those stupid lazy irresponsible “journalistic” articles)

      1. example of stupid journalism – ignorant, not factual:
        headline “Apple unveils the height of hypocrisy”
        “Not all that long ago, Apple was mocking Samsung for the S Pen stylus.” huh?! 1st, iSteve meant it for iPhone not iPad 2nd, if you’re so clever ZitMan, what have you invented lately or succeeded with?
        by Mike Zitz for Fredericksburg

        OMG – this guy Zitz finds everything Apple wrong:
        – for example Apple TV Siri voice remote will, he predicts, “along with your belly bloating bigger as you sit on the couch, your arms will wither away.”?! But Mr Zitz (who might have zitz in your brain): Apple is not 1st with voice control remote – have you bitched to Google/Msft/Roku about this? TV laziness has nothing to do with Apple and if you do watch TV get up your lazy ass, that’s all – no one asked you to watch 24/7.
        – he also bitches @ iPhone 6S’ Live Photo “This looked poetically great in the demo, but my photos will end up showing people fidgeting, squirming, scratching and picking their nose.”?!
        – his bitching on AppleWatch “can now be paired with apps called Air and Sense4Baby…This almost gives the Apple Watch redeeming social value. Almost.”

      2. sorry, do not know why MDN put my general comment as reply under yours ; )

        as for poison, why do you take it personal? it’s a critique on journalism being so cheap nowadays. want soft replies, this is not the site for it. plus there’s ample censorship everywhere else. allow some freedom of expression and not taboos somewhere, please.

  2. Makes sense.

    As a former Palm Pilot user, the stylys was a pain. I had a bunch of replacements for when I lost one, or got broken.

    Writing was not as confortable. You had to learn graffitti to do it, and the keyboard to use with the stylus was (to me) worse than writing.

    Don’t take me wrong. There were different times, and the Palm Pilot was awesome. But dropping the stylus was a big step for a palm-sized device (like the iPhone)

    Nobody can claim it’s easier to paint or write over paper with your fingers than with a pen or pencil. You get more accuracy. But you need the right size of device to do so. The iPad (and even more, the iPad Pro) are perfect for a stylus AND the fingers.

    Write over a legal notepad, it’s perfect. Write over a Post-It, it’s not that great.

    Nothing wrong about the pen.

    1. The evolution of personal technology devices is interesting. Do you know that Palm Pilots were created by Apple employees that originally worked on the Newton project, but left Apple when Steve killed that product? Unfortunately, without Apple’s leadership, they failed to create an elegant-enough product to last the test of time. Apple eventually brought back the Newton in the form of the iPhone. But without a stylus or handwriting recognition. (Are there any apps that provide OCR? I would think so).

  3. A stylus is used for “navigation”. Reall? Do you examples of this singular use of a stylus?

    When it comes to interpreting the Book of Jobs it is apparent that to contradict the Great Prophet a new sect is needed. These are the Spinneri who refrain from literal interpretations of the Great Prophet and prefer a more liberal and nuanced interptretation.

    1. Actually, yes, you had to use a stylus to navigate the menu tree on my old Treo. And it’s not that Jobs was never wrong. He was wrong LOTS of times (the hockey-puck mouse; thinking the iPhone didn’t need apps, that everything could be done through a browser; the one-button mouse).

      Apple fans aren’t clinging to everything Jobs said, as if his utterances were a religious tome. But some in the press are. That’s the point.

  4. When I saw this in action, I saw more of Steve Jobs than anything else, as if they made it as a tribute in honor of him. With his love for calligraphy, this pencil sure does an incredible job of allowing you to beautifully capture designs with pixel-level precision and precise shades. When Steve Jobs was talking about the stylus, he was referring to a dumb stylus that does nothing for you, in phones that had styluses before iPhone, it was nearly the only way to effectively use those devices, and it added no benefit over a finger. Apple nailed it and Steve Jobs would have agreed with it given the advancements and capabilities.

  5. So funny watching fanbois backpedaling. This is clearly a ripoff of the surface tablet. Wouldn’t expect anything less from Tim “apple Ballmer” Cook, pissing away Apple’s legacy on overpriced garbage. This is an insult to everything Steve Jobs stood for. If this is innovation in Cook’s Apple, hopefully the board wisens up and fires him and Ive before it is too late.

    1. Joe

      The problem you have is like the journalists this article is written about, you generalise and associate points to the wrong people. Yes some fanbois may have said pen/styus/pencil isnt the way to go, but fanbois aren’t Jobs. Then you pretend to be a Jobs supporter. Face it you are just as bad a Fanbois as the ones you hate.

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