Why the Apple Pencil Makes Sense

Sep 10

Why the Apple Pencil Makes Sense

During the recent Apple Keynote, Apple unveiled a new stylus called the Apple Pencil, specifically designed to work with the Apple iPad Pro. As pointed out immediately all over twitter:

Why Now?

What if anything, has changed between Steve Jobs’ quote from 2010 talking about the first iPad and today? In my opinion, a lot. And I believe that if Steve Jobs were alive today, he would agree with that assessment and admit the differences. As I see it there are three key differences between the Apple Pencil and the type of stylus Steve Jobs was referring to in 2010.

You don’t need a pencil to make the iPad work

The iPad and iPhones are great devices to use with your just your finger. Apps are easy to interact with. The on-screen touch keyboard is easy enough to us (although occasionally annoying) for typing. You don’t need a stylus to do pretty much everything the casual user does using an iPad. But there is one group of people who can really benefit from a stylus.

Creatives will love the Apple Pencil

One of the annoying thing designers (and more specifically illustrators) have to do is use a virtual pen in their creative tools. A lot of designers get around this by buying a Wacom® tablet and drawing which shows up in their Illustrator / Photoshop files. The reason this is a weird paradigm is because you are watching a screen in front of you, while drawing on a tablet next to you. The visual representation of what you draw isn’t where you are drawing. After some time, most get used to this and become quite good at using a Wacom tablet, but using a iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil, they can see their drawing efforts immediately using the pencil. This combined with Adobe and others creating Vector drawing apps for the iPad will make hand-drawn illustrations easier for users.

Also, another key difference is similar to Apple’s recent software forays (Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro X), the Apple Pencil can be geared towards “prosumers”. People who want to do illustration using a stylus, but not pay for all the hardware / software that goes into doing so. Casual artists, designers, illustrators can use this to their heart is content.

Business users may love it too

Another key audience who may love the Apple Pencil / iPad Pro combination are business users who are used to a Microsoft tablet or Surface. Our CEO Paul, uses a Lenovo Yoga with a Stylus for taking hand-written notes. He bought this laptop almost exclusively for that purpose. He already has an iPad and has tried different pens for it to serve as a Lenovo replacement for note-taking (with no luck to date). This is the type of combination that could get him to switch entirely into the Apple ecosystem.