“Reinventing an object billions of people across the world know and use every day is no mean feat. The humble pencil has been around for thousands of years, with its origins in the discovery of graphite deposits in Borrowdale in Cumberland circa 1564,” Rhiannon Williams reports for The Telegraph. ”
The 19th century’s industrial revolution witnessed the foundation of some of the world’s best-known pencil companies, including Faber-Castell and Steadtler, helping people to express their innermost thoughts on paper. Then again, if anyone is qualified to reimagine the ways in which we communicate, it’s Jony Ive.”
“Ive and his secretive team of designers hidden away in Apple’s Californian headquarters have created the company’s first tablet stylus, the Apple Pencil. It’s a companion accessory to the supersized iPad Pro, a giant 12.9-inch iPad which goes on sale this week,” Williams reports. “‘We hoped if you are used to spending a lot of time using paintbrushes, pencils and pens, this will feel like a more natural extension of that experience – that it will feel familiar,’ he says, carefully. ‘To achieve that degree of very simple, natural behaviour, was a significant technological challenge.'”
Apple Pencil is “a delicate white plastic device with a removable rubber sensor-filled tip for detecting the amount of pressure you’re applying to the screen and varying the weight of the line it draws accordingly, including a bold, hard mark when pressing hard on the direct tip, and a faint, fanned effect when brushed on its side, just as a physical pencil would,” Williams reports. “Ive hopes those using the Pencil for the first time are surprised by this, as ‘every other stylus you’ve used is a pretty poor representation of the analogue world.. Many of us in the design team have worked together for 20 plus years. We’ve always drawn in our sketchbooks, and for the first time – despite flirting with some alternatives a couple of years ago – I’m seeing people starting to use the iPad and Apple Pencil. Our personal experience has been that there are definitely affordances and opportunities now that you have a much more natural and intuitive environment to make marks, there are clearly things you can do sketching and writing on the iPad which you could never dream of doing in the analogue world.'”
Williams reports, “In an age when other companies are bending over backwards to reinvent the wheel, Jony Ive has reinvented the pencil.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Earlier today, in response to a mixed iPad Pro review by a keyboard-centric kind of guy, Walt Mossberg, we wrote:
Apple’s Smart Keyboard is an interesting conundrum. Obviously, Apple eschewed physical keyboards with iOS and Muti-Touch. Is it possible that when asked to design a physical keyboard for iPad after all these years, Jony Ive & Co. looked at the project with disdain and therefore subconsciously did not put full effort into its design?
Notice that the Apple Pencil is universally lauded, while the Apple Smart Keyboard earns barely a “meh.” Well, just look at who designed them: Designers. Who’d better to put maximum effort into perfecting a drawing implement while looking at designing “yet another keyboard” as a chore? It’s not difficult to imagine Apple’s top designers being excited to work on Apple Pencil while passing the “boring” keyboard down the line to lesser ranked team members.