Only Apple Can Make The Perfect Stylus It Once Spurned

Megalith

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Do you guys think it is possible that the Apple Pencil is really the best stylus ever made, or are bloggers just easily bribed?

So what gives? How did Apple make a stylus that doesn’t feel like every other stylus? The answer is one of the oldest in the book, the line we’ve used to explain Apple’s success for a decade. The products change, but the upshot doesn’t: Apple can make it better because it controls the hardware and the software.
 

heatlesssun

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We'll see. This is the thing that I am most curious about with the iPad Pro. It looks to be pretty much the same kind of electrostatic tech that many companies are making. The tilt shading is interesting but it's not an new idea though Apple looks to have a solid implementation. Microsoft bought the company that makes its pen earlier this year so it also has complete control over it's hardware and software on this front with the Surface line.

Even though the Surface Pro 4 and iPad Pro are very different devices, the battle between them in the eye of public opinion is probably going to be one of the most heated ever between such high profile machines. I think both will be successful because they are so radically different though the comparisons will be non-stop.
 

heatlesssun

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My Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 serves me well. It's a wacom board.

Samsung owns a pretty large share of Wacom so they'll always use Wacom tech in their devices. Wacom has long been the gold standard and had been used in Windows devices forever including the first two Surface Pros. Indeed the pen from your Galaxy Note 10.1 would work fine on a Surface Pro 1 or 2. However their traditional electromagnetic resonance tech requires extra hardware that's separate from a capacitive touch layer and puts the cost of then pen digitizer all in the device.

The electrostatic pens like the Surface Pro 3, iPad Pro and many others these days allow for the same capacitive layer to work with a digital pen without added production costs to the device and production costs are all in the pen. That's why many pen enabled devices don't come with pens and like the Apple Pencil it's an add-on option. While Microsoft included its pen with the Surface Pro line, it didn't with the Surface 3, that's a $50 option.
 

DejaWiz

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FTBUEXF_zpsj8nlopxy.png
 

heatlesssun

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It does get kind of weird sometimes when discussing digital pen tech with people that see no value in it. I'll concede that it is niche. But I've pointed out numerous times that that niche doesn't mind spending good money for a good digital pen experience and they'll buy such devices year after year after year. It's an extremely loyal customer base with money to spend.

And I think that will freak some people out even more. "Why would people spend money year after year on something for which I see no purpose?" Which I think is totally bizarre in a forum like this where a niche group will spend good money on year after year for the latest and greatest GPUs or CPUs when the overwhelming majority of PC uses will never buy even one discrete computing component. Yet, year after year there's new GPUs and CPUs for people to buy and some people buy them again and again.
 
D

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It does get kind of weird sometimes when discussing digital pen tech with people that see no value in it. I'll concede that it is niche. But I've pointed out numerous times that that niche doesn't mind spending good money for a good digital pen experience and they'll buy such devices year after year after year. It's an extremely loyal customer base with money to spend.

And I think that will freak some people out even more. "Why would people spend money year after year on something for which I see no purpose?" Which I think is totally bizarre in a forum like this where a niche group will spend good money on year after year for the latest and greatest GPUs or CPUs when the overwhelming majority of PC uses will never buy even one discrete computing component. Yet, year after year there's new GPUs and CPUs for people to buy and some people buy them again and again.

You didn't get his point.

With that image, he clearly refers to the lack of inspiration and creativity that Apple has been showing for the past years.

Even though they were THE reference in many regards, they are not now: you can see that with the stylus, the screen size of the phones, and so many other details. They are not #1 anymore... heck, they are several years late with the stylus.
 

misfitsfiend

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Look at the picture. Jobs is standing in front of the first EVER iPhone. Years before the iPad came out. I think he was inferring that a stylus was unnecessary on a device with a 3.5 inch screen.

This iPad is the largest ever with the highest resolution ever, so I think an appropriate stylus device is a cool feature. (even tho $100 is ridiculous)
 

heatlesssun

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You didn't get his point.

With that image, he clearly refers to the lack of inspiration and creativity that Apple has been showing for the past years.

Even though they were THE reference in many regards, they are not now: you can see that with the stylus, the screen size of the phones, and so many other details. They are not #1 anymore... heck, they are several years late with the stylus.

I got the point perfectly. I've been using convertible digital pen devices continuously for 13 years now. While digital pens were nothing new even 13 years ago, the basic idea of all devices like the Surface Pro, Note Pro and iPad Pro are rooted in the idea of Windows XP for Tablet PC Edition devices that launched in 2002. That was really the commercial birth of convertible devices with digital pens.

Of course those devices had many, many problems and the iPad and Android devices quickly became much more commercially successful. But as quickly as the entertainment/media consumption tablet exploded, it matured and is not faltering, with the iPad being especially hard hit.

When Microsoft launched the Surface line in 2012, they were clearly hedging their bets with both the old idea of the Tablet PC, a device focused on productivity with a digital pen, Surface Pro and the new, a entertainment/media consumption device, Surface RT. Clearly the latter was a disaster. But with the Surface Pro 3, Microsoft created IMHO the best implementation of the 2002 era Tablet PC ever.

The iPad Pro clearly gets it's immediate inspiration from the Surface Pro 3. I'm not saying that Apple copied the Surface Pro 3, the ideas have long been out there. But there's no way Apple was thinking about the Surface Pro when it came out with the iPad Pro.
 

dandirk

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Look at the picture. Jobs is standing in front of the first EVER iPhone. Years before the iPad came out. I think he was inferring that a stylus was unnecessary on a device with a 3.5 inch screen.

This iPad is the largest ever with the highest resolution ever, so I think an appropriate stylus device is a cool feature. (even tho $100 is ridiculous)

Agree, you have to take context into these matters.

At the time of the first iPhone stylus were used by the smaller Palm and Windows devices at the time. Mainly as crutches to fix what we now know/consider to be UI or basic flaws in principle (aka same windows ui on a 3in screen).. Also lets not forget the touch tech wasn't as good back then as well.

In regards to a "cool" feature, sure I guess if you consider the idea of digital drawing input device being used on a paper+ size computing device cool, lets not forget this technology has been around since before the iphone/mobile revolution. This decision just seems like a "duh" one on this device.

While Apple may not be "revolutionary" at this time, one does have to give some credit to cook for taking the pragmatic approach so far. Expanding screen sizes and adding a stylus when Jobs probably wouldn't have done it just purely for ego. These were simple improvements that customers want and make sense for the device(s).

I don't want to be so arrogant to say they can't really "revolutionize" the stylus, I would love to see it happen but I highly doubt it will be anything other than another option they probably should have had a while back. Then again, revolutionary ideas are just that because people don't see them coming.
 

heatlesssun

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At the time of the first iPhone stylus were used by the smaller Palm and Windows devices at the time. Mainly as crutches to fix what we now know/consider to be UI or basic flaws in principle (aka same windows ui on a 3in screen).. Also lets not forget the touch tech wasn't as good back then as well.

Digital pens like the one on the iPad Pro had been available for Windows tablets
and convertibles eight years before the iPad launched. Apple is just launching a tech that's been available for Windows for 13 years.
 

heatlesssun

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Bingo. And we can rewind the clock back to the 50's when digital light pens were being used on CRT's

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_pen

Again, nothing new. This tech has been around long before any of our current favorite devices and platforms. When one considers the size of the iPad, the magnetic connection port for the Smart Keyboard Cover and integrated keys and fabric construction along with a electrostatic pen, the price and targeting of the device as a professional device, it seems beyond logical reasoning that such a combination of things at this time wasn't inspired by the Surface Pro line and more specially the Surface Pro 3.

Again, nothing new overall about any of this stuff but there are times when it's obvious where the immediate inspiration came from.
 

w4ffles

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The electric water heater/dispenser that my parents had 15+ years ago had magnets in the power plug to prevent accidents from tugging on the cord. MagSafe was definitely not a new idea but Apple lauded it as the best thing since sliced bread.
 

dr.kevin

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As an aapl investor, but owner of no apple products (except 20gb ipod gen 4), I have to say their marketing is pretty damn good.

Journalists pimp their products, customers pimp their products.

Apple always seems late to the game, but they always do the old shit better. Seems to be their M.O. Take existing tech, make it better, and convince the sheep they need it.
 

KazeoHin

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It looks pretty much EXACTLY like the Acer Active Stylus...

Acer-Aspire-Active-Stylus-Offered-for-Switch-10-and-11-Tablets-463527-2.jpg


And that was seated firmly in the 'pretty good' territory of capacitive stylus use.
 

heatlesssun

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It looks pretty much EXACTLY like the Acer Active Stylus...

That's a Synaptics pen, used by Dell, HP, Acer and some others I'm sure. It's not considered very good by Windows tablet standards overall. The Apple Pencil had better be significantly better than these and I'm sure that it is. Though the Apple Pencil seems to use a tremendous amount of power or has an extremely small battery. The AAAA battery in current Surface pens generally lasts for months even with heavy use.

However that does make some sense with electrostatic pens. The stronger the signal coming from the pen, the fewer issues there are like vectoring, inadvertent marks, better detection distance to enhance palm rejection, etc.
 

Trimlock

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Apple's original point was a Stylus with the iPhone, I don't ever recall them doubting stylus on the iPad.
 

spugnor

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Doesn't matter. The apple fanboys and fangirls are always eager as hell to line up for more koolaid. They will buy anything with an apple logo on it and swear up and down that it's the best thing ever.

I simply smile and let them continue spending like lemmings on devices that usually aren't as good as competing devices and at a higher price point.

Apple products fit a niche. Let the people that fit into that niche continue to do so, and the rest of us who can actually research and determine what the best device is for us can continue to do our thing.
 

heatlesssun

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A lot of folks to this day think that digital pens are useless. In the age of the keyboards and mice and now touch, many think they are an anachronism and that better input methods exist. Sure for entering text at high speed, keyboards are far superior to pens. But for free form input, recording and sketching out ideas, taking notes with lots of symbols and expressions that are difficult to type, drawing and art, they still have a place. And in digital form, ink can do things that's just not possible with traditional pen or pencil and paper.

When I started a thread in the Apple forum back in January based on these rumors, I pretty much felt that a digital pen had to be coming to the iPad. While pens may be niche, people will pay good money for devices with a good digital pen experience and have for years now. And they are pretty loyal customers. It's exactly the kind of customer that fits perfectly for Apple. People who'll spend good money year after year. Given the state of tablet sales and particularly the iPad. I know it's still the #1 tablet in sales but those sales have been going in the wrong direction for a while now. The pen was just an obvious thing to do for a customer base that Apple won't mind being able to cater too.
 

heatlesssun

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LOL! Watching the Cowboys/Giants game. Looks like Al Michaels got the beat down by someone. He, like a lot of announcers have called the Surface Pro iPads like he did last week. I've now counted four times where he's said Surface Pro.
 

misfitsfiend

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Doesn't matter. The apple fanboys and fangirls are always eager as hell to line up for more koolaid. They will buy anything with an apple logo on it and swear up and down that it's the best thing ever.

I simply smile and let them continue spending like lemmings on devices that usually aren't as good as competing devices and at a higher price point.

Apple products fit a niche. Let the people that fit into that niche continue to do so, and the rest of us who can actually research and determine what the best device is for us can continue to do our thing.

just like the smug Android users are so quick to point out specs and other bullshit that has zero effect on 90% of the average user's everyday phone experience.

I'm still using my iPhone 5 i purchased new from 2012. Sure, I've cracked a couple screens and the battery isn't anywhere near as good as it was, but it's still plenty fast, has a great camera, and has yet to let me down.

Last year i found a 2013 11" Macbook Air off CL last year for $550. I'm in engineering school, so I've gotta use MATLAB and SolidWorks, and a couple other programs frequently. I was looking for a Lenovo or Asus but didn't wanna carry around a 5-7lb laptop in addition to my 30lbs worth of books. I was weary of the Macbook Air because of its small screen, (and I also wanted to do some gaming) but picked it because of its super small footprint, and it was still cheaper than a Surface Pro by at least $200. Oh, and it runs everything amazingly. I loaded Windows 10 and SolidWorks up this semester thinking it would be stupid slow. Quite the contrary, actually. It is extremely reliable and has yet to crash or slow down. It has crashed exactly zero times since I've owned it.

My roommate has a Lenovo Y510P which I originally wanted. His "always on" USB port stopped working, it runs hot as hell, and Lenovo won't do anything about it. If something goes wrong with mine, I have two Apple stores within 15 miles where I can drop it off.

I'm a PC gamer first and foremost, so I'll never use a Mac for desktop use, but their laptops and phones have provided an excellent experience so far. I'm definitely holding out for the iPhone 7 though.
 

MrGuvernment

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I owned a Sony Clie way back when, flip screen, touch screen with a stylus.. even Sony was doing it way back then...

its a stylus...and with a price tag of $100? really..

41NZNP3QG7L.jpg
 

travanx

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just like the smug Android users are so quick to point out specs and other bullshit that has zero effect on 90% of the average user's everyday phone experience.

I'm still using my iPhone 5 i purchased new from 2012. Sure, I've cracked a couple screens and the battery isn't anywhere near as good as it was, but it's still plenty fast, has a great camera, and has yet to let me down.

Last year i found a 2013 11" Macbook Air off CL last year for $550. I'm in engineering school, so I've gotta use MATLAB and SolidWorks, and a couple other programs frequently. I was looking for a Lenovo or Asus but didn't wanna carry around a 5-7lb laptop in addition to my 30lbs worth of books. I was weary of the Macbook Air because of its small screen, (and I also wanted to do some gaming) but picked it because of its super small footprint, and it was still cheaper than a Surface Pro by at least $200. Oh, and it runs everything amazingly. I loaded Windows 10 and SolidWorks up this semester thinking it would be stupid slow. Quite the contrary, actually. It is extremely reliable and has yet to crash or slow down. It has crashed exactly zero times since I've owned it.

My roommate has a Lenovo Y510P which I originally wanted. His "always on" USB port stopped working, it runs hot as hell, and Lenovo won't do anything about it. If something goes wrong with mine, I have two Apple stores within 15 miles where I can drop it off.

I'm a PC gamer first and foremost, so I'll never use a Mac for desktop use, but their laptops and phones have provided an excellent experience so far. I'm definitely holding out for the iPhone 7 though.

As a engineering small business owner this is the first time hearing an engineer wanting an Apple product for production work. Even my business partner who has everything Apple bought a PC laptop for work.

Plenty of Architects have been using Autocad with their Macs and those are the ones I hear having the most problems.

Apple seems good purely just for competition. Not a fan, but can't hate them for what they have done. Was really hoping to see something more interesting than a stylus though. Can't wait to see what they do to compete with the Surface Pro. iOS apps seem buggy lately, since i get to figure things out on other people's phone. =( Surprised my Android phone has less issues with the same apps. Sounds backwards to me.

Would have been more funny to see Cook taken to jail while on stage for insider trading, but no rules apply to them I guess.
 

schizrade

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Everything old is new.

Go grab a top shelf Wacom and toss your Apple stylus in the trash bin after you get done using it.
 

choppedliver

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My pressure sensitive Wacom is pretty damn awesome. I've never had any complaints with it.

Apple pencil. I'm sure it's great
but 'best ever' most likely because now Apple has one.

This reminds me of turbo finned, inertially dampened , super high dense gold plated , uranium-free, hdmi cables for the 'purest digital signal'.

A really damn good stylus / drawing tablet hasn't been a problem ( until now apparently )
 

heatlesssun

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A really damn good stylus / drawing tablet hasn't been a problem ( until now apparently )

I know that a lot of Apple fans like to point out how Apple often just steps into a market and takes over because they create a superior product. There is some truth to that, Apple is often very good on the execution side and making something clean, elegant and simple. They will probably achieve some success with the iPad Pro among artists and designers looking for a drawing tablet solution that simple and straight forward.

I think as a convertible tablet/laptop solution, outside of Apple laptop buyers I don't see much there. The iPad Pro even with it's big screen and now split screen multitasking just doesn't go far enough to fix the problems that mobile OS devices have in replacing laptops. Perhaps it works for people that never needed a laptop really in the first place, but the economics outside of Apple's traditional base don't work. $1000 for a simpler device that the cheaper device you can get already?

So for those looking for pencil, I think it will do very well. For those that are looking for a convertible tablet/laptop solution? Far too much competition at competitive prices that work well today for the iPad Pro to have a big impact there for now.
 

choppedliver

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Some art departments that are already Apple will definitely buy it, because it's a great product, and they really aren't concerned about price.

Some people will buy just because it's Apple, therefore, better.

I'm sure some people will buy it on it's actual, realistic, merits, because it's as least as good as other solutions, (from what I've read. No hand on opinion )and they aren't concerned about any price difference.

Regardless, Apple is going to make a killing.
 

heatlesssun

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Regardless, Apple is going to make a killing.

I'm sure at least initially this is going to do very well. Remember though, the main business purpose of this device is to sure up the iPad line that's been contracting significantly for while now. And I think a big part of that contraction is that mobile OS devices haven't been particularly good at being laptop replacements.

The support of a digital pen gives this an instant base that as you point out won't care about the cost and will buy them repeatedly for a good pen(cil) experience. The broader and less certain situation I think is how well this will do in the broader market of those looking for tablet/laptop hybrids and convertibles. While this still a pretty small market it seems to be seeing very healthy growth, unlike pure media consumption devices. And the prices are much higher. To see sustained growth the iPad Pro is going to have to gain some traction with this crowd. At this price and feature set this devices doesn't make a lot of sense in the business space where Apple isn't strong anyway. For students it could have some draw, but again, there are lots of alternatives that are cheaper.

I understand that Apple usually doesn't have a problem with pricing. But I do think that pricing has been a part of the iPad's drop off. There's just a lot of cheaper devices out there.
 

Jim Kim

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53 Pencil drops in price to $49. A stylus that works on most ipads and iphones and not just the ipad pro, saving you another $799.
 

pxc

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Apple's marketing department is just shameless. The iPad Pro + Pencil is just a decently made implementation of functionality that's been around for at least 9 years on portable PCs, and not even up to the standards of a decent graphics tablet + stylus older than that.
 

david_

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But you can't store the stylus on the Ipad and charging it is hilarious. Nice job Apple.
 

heatlesssun

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Apple's marketing department is just shameless. The iPad Pro + Pencil is just a decently made implementation of functionality that's been around for at least 9 years on portable PCs, and not even up to the standards of a decent graphics tablet + stylus older than that.

That's not the part that's particularly bad as this tech has been around for so long has seen a number of implementations. It's the number specifics of this device that are so close to one and only one that's been getting a lot of attention lately that's the shameless part. And not that Apple copied the ideas per se, but they were certainly inspired by this at this time to produce this particular product.
 

raz-0

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Do you guys think it is possible that the Apple Pencil is really the best stylus ever made, or are bloggers just easily bribed?

So what gives? How did Apple make a stylus that doesn’t feel like every other stylus? The answer is one of the oldest in the book, the line we’ve used to explain Apple’s success for a decade. The products change, but the upshot doesn’t: Apple can make it better because it controls the hardware and the software.


I this instance, I think the answer is yes, they could, and the reason they can may not because they control the hardware and software.

I think the real reason is they have an army of IP lawyers, and R&D budget, and the will to try. Wacom has been the 800lb gorilla in that arena with a virtual monopoly on an interface that didn't have an easy improvement step to be made waiting around the corner.

Patents are expiring, and other developing technologies provided a chance for some of the killer features of the wacom offerings to be challenged. FUnny shaped lithium polymer batteries, low power bluetooth, low latency capacitive touch sensors, etc. It's too expensive for the cheap chinese knockoff digitizers to weigh in on heavily. Wacom is too invested in it's aging tech (and if you pay attention to their new products, throwing gutter ball after gutter ball with the new stuff). It was ripe for apple to do what they do well. Take something that exists and refine the shit out of it by leveraging their particular set of engineering skills, their supply chain, and their bank account.
 
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