“I thought Steve Jobs hated the stylus.”
Indeed, the late Apple CEO declared that the stylus was a terrible idea during the 2007 keynote for the first iPhone. And for the iPhone, a stylus would have been a terrible idea.
And yet, Apple came out with a stylus called the Apple Pencil during its 2015 fall keynote event last week.
But it’s not for the iPhone. It’s exclusively for the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and it’s a key to Apple’s plan to revitalize its iPad business.
During last week’s event, Apple CEO Tim Cook introduced the iPad Pro by playing up the iPad’s capabilities as a creation tool.
“In just 5 years, iPad has transformed the way we create,” he said.
One of the things Cook is referring to is art, whether it be drawing, sketching, designing, or doodling. But had it not been for the smart stylus and eventually it’s own Apple Pencil stylus, the iPad Pro would have largely remained a consumption device, and few people would have reason to buy it.
And that’s bad for iPad sales because any old iPad can stream movies and run social media apps. I know people who still use the original iPad and iPad 2 because that’s all they do. An iPad can easily last you three or four years.
The smart stylus was the spark
Fingers are great for tapping and swiping on screens, but anyone who’s tried to drawing on the iPad knows that fingers are too chubby for iPad drawing with any accuracy.
It was the smart stylus that made the iPad a viable creation platform. With tips as thin as ballpoint pens, the Apple Pencil has the best accuracy we’ve seen on iPads. And it can sense pressure, which allows you to draw thicker and thinner lines depending on how hard you press on the screen.
You just can’t do that with your fingers or a regular stylus.
Apple also featured palm rejection, which lets you rest your drawing hand on the screen instead of hovering it above. It was a big deal because hovering your hand above the screen for drawing is unnatural for many people and gets pretty tiring, and resting your hand on the screen would cause random lines to appear.
If you want it done right…
Even though a lot of third-parties tried making styli for the iPad, none of them were that great. An iPad and a generic stylus became an excellent mobile platform to create something, but it didn’t feel like Apple was taking that seriously because it didn’t make the very tool that people use to create on the iPad.
I’ll bet many haven’t even heard of a smart stylus, but now that Apple’s made one, we all know they exist and are more aware of the kinds of things we can create on an iPad.
Apple didn’t make the Apple Pencil because everyone else was making one. It made the Apple Pencil because it wants you to think that “creating” is one of the iPad Pro’s primary functions, that the iPad Pro is designed to be used for creating more than it was for consuming.
To many of us who like to create, that’s worth the upgrade.
Check out what you can with the Apple Pencil, and see for yourself with it’s a good idea Apple finally came out with a stylus:
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