Why Apple wants to bring back the pencil

“Apple’s latest accessory is a return to the written word — not so much a stylus as a digital pen that harks back to the way that humans captured language for centuries before the keyboard made cursive an obsolete art,” Andrea Peterson and Brian Fung report for Bloomberg. “Analysts say the $99 Apple Pencil, announced Wednesday as an add-on to the new supercharged iPad Pro, is part of a wider move by the tech industry to convince consumers that computing doesn’t have to be limited to, well, computers and smartphones. Instead, Apple is focused on giving new, digital capabilities to more traditional platforms.”

“It’s no surprise to see Apple look back in time toward some of our most venerable productivity tools. Apple’s efforts go beyond the pencil, whose origins date back to 16th-century Italy. The company’s new Smart Keyboard for the iPad also represents a departure of sorts — a recognition that newfangled touch interfaces have their limits,” Peterson and Fung report. “By returning to more physical forms of interaction, Apple is not only conceding that tablet users need more flexibility — it’s making an argument that even the most mundane-seeming items can become part of a sophisticated computing environment.”

“That’s perfectly fine — and it’s consistent with Apple’s goal of bringing other, heretofore undigitized routines into the modern age,” Peterson and Fung report. “‘If you think about the Apple Watch in particular,’ said Dan Cryan, an analyst at IHS, ‘and the iPad Pro demo, they were both squarely geared around almost traditional computing tasks as a way of illustrating what that future looks like — traditional computing tasks being taken onto the watch or the tablet.””

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s simple: Finger-driven Multi-Touch first with specialized input devices for specific use cases. If you use an iPad and you want to type a lot, get an Apple Smart Keyboard; if you sketch a lot, get an Apple Pencil. It doesn’t get much simpler that that.

Also, there’s this predictable meme over Steve Jobs’ scorn for styluses as per Apple Pencil. Jobs is on record as eschewing a stylus for a 3.5-inch iPhone, not for a 12.9-inch iPad. Jobs was also on record against the following (to throw competitors off the trail) before he was for them: Cellphones, tablets, e-books, and video and movies on tiny little screens, to mention just a few.

Oh, by the way, in the interest of factually destroying a bad meme: Apple has been filing Apple Pencil-related patent applications since at least as far back as 2008, when Apple’s CEO was most definitely Steve Jobs.

As Justin Bariso, the founder Insight, writes for Inc., “Steve Jobs would have loved this stylus. In fact, he would have loved the entire event [on Spetember 9th]. This is the closest Apple has come to matching the extraordinary vision of the famous founder since his unfortunate passing four years ago.”

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Why artists will flock to iPad Pro and the amazing Apple Pencil – September 11, 2015
Hands-on Apple’s new iPad Pro with Apple Pencil – September 11, 2015
Hands-on with the Apple Pencil for iPad Pro – September 10, 2015
Professional artists cheer the new iPad Pro and Apple Pencil – September 10, 2015
Apple iPads had physical keyboards three and a half years before Microsoft’s Surface tablet debut – September 10, 2015
Wired: Hands-on with Apple’s great, big iPad Pro and Apple Pencil – September 9, 2015
Apple introduces 12.9-inch iPad Pro, Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard – September 9, 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


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