back to article 'If you see a stylus, they BLEW it' – Steve Jobs. REMEMBER, Apple?

Analysis firm KGI claims Apple will offer a stylus with its 12.9” iPad. If true, this would represent a volte face for Apple, which has always derided fondleslabs that used any pointing device other than a human finger attached to a human arm. The claims appear in a report leaked to Apple Insider. The KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo …

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so...

Handwriting recognition, and they didn't think to add at least a short biro to the bottom (even if behind a cap).

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Who wants Handwriting Recognition anyway?

Unless you're the sort of person who uses your iPad to remote-control your Stannah Stairlift I really can't see what the market is for handwriting recognition in the modern world. Everyone's tried it in the past, but handwriting itself is a dying art.

How many of us here would genuinely find it easier to write by hand rather than type (or even stab at an on-screen keyboard). There are a few people for sure that would benefit, but it's hardly mass market.

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Re: Who wants Handwriting Recognition anyway?

So you've never had a delivery which you were asked to "sign" for on some sort of electronic pad which converted your signature to a series of straight lines joined at odd angles?

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Re: Who wants Handwriting Recognition anyway?

Surprisingly, a lot of us who can write faster than we can type, and find that writing notes in meetings is a lot easier than typing them. I can also write without looking at the paper and talk at the same time, as a presenter or not.

Converting those notes into typed up notes it very very useful. Its why I have a Samsung Note and not an iPad, when all the rest of my personal IT is Apple.

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TRT
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Re: Who wants Handwriting Recognition anyway?

"Yup. That's handwriting, all right."

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Re: Who wants Handwriting Recognition anyway?

The point is, it shouldn't be necessary. A thumbprint would be a more reliable proof of identity than a signature anyway. As regards the pads on which we occasionally have to sign for goods, they are atrocious and the resulting handwriting rarely bears any resemblance to my actual handwriting. They defeat the purpose if you can't read the signature, since all you get is confirmation that you delivered to someone.

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WTF?

Re: so...

Didn't Logitech do this about 12 years ago? I remember being sent a pen by Logitech as a sampler where you wrote on paper and then plugged one end into a USB port and a Word document opened up with all the text. As I recall it was pretty good - could even do bullet points properly.

Sort of bypasses the need for a FapPad.

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Happy

Re: Who wants Handwriting Recognition anyway?

I just bought my wife a Galaxy Note Pro 12.2", which she uses to take notes in lectures, and then converts the hand writing in to text with the built in app. She says its far more productive for her than typing on a laptop.

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Re: Who wants Handwriting Recognition anyway?

A thumbprint good sir! Harrumph harrumph! Why should we positively prove ourselves to receive a package? I mean next you'd want a bank to enforce positive proof of identity before authorizing a loan check? That wouldn't due at all for the bottom line. Where will this madness end?

On a serious note, I've always wondered why a bank takes a thumbprint to cash a check, BUT doesn't take any finger print at all to grant a loan, just your country's Unique Identifier Number and mother's maiden name and the shoddiest of pay stubs you can print out yourself from Word to show your income.

Regarding packages, Washington Irving has received most of them at my house.

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Re: Who wants Handwriting Recognition anyway?

Apple? Handwriting recognition? Poor Martha.

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Black Helicopters

Re: Who wants Handwriting Recognition anyway?

"The point is, it shouldn't be necessary. A thumbprint would be a more reliable proof of identity than a signature anyway."

So you want everyone to form an orderly queue at all of their local courier depots so that we can have all of our personal and biometric details taken, thereby allowing us to 'thumb' future deliveries?

If you wish to have your biometric data stored on the rusting, insecure customer databases of lots of different companies then that is up to you - but for the sake of the rest of us please stop talking.

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Re: Who wants Handwriting Recognition anyway?

"A thumbprint would be a more reliable proof of identity than a signature anyway."

As well as a perfect excuse for cops to detain you and forcefully print your device to unlock it and get all of your data, totally removing plausible deniability.

Don't give me guff about "nothing to hide" - privacy is privacy. Thus is the main issue with biometrics.

I'm fine with print AND password together.

I'm fine with print AND pin.

I'm fine with print AND voice recognition (terribly easy to sound 100% different than my natural speaking voice).

I'm fine with any two of (A) something you know, (B) something you have and (C) something you choose.

I'm not fine with something that can be forced out of a person without consent - like just a fingerprint. Or DNA. Or retina scan. Or breath - to unlock a personal device. Business device? Have at it.

Under no circumstances will I support a world where only my fingerprint allows the government to steal (read: plant) evidence from my personal device and send me up state as a traitor simply because I browsed some forum where they were talking about the MH370 conspiracy.

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JDX
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It's almost like the world of technology changes over time.

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Yes, the finger was 'progress' from the Newton

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Yes, holding it was 'regression' from the Newton

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Changes over time? I've been using styluses on screens and digitizers since the early 80s...

We used to use them for picking out trends in seismic surveys for oil exploration. Much more accurate than a finger (1200dpi prints being digitized with a finger doesn't get good resolution) and faster than a mouse.

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Bundling other people's ideas again

In the late 50s, 60s and 70s, The Light Pen. OK, the way it sensed where it was on the screen was tied to the raster scan on the CRT display, but the principle is much the same by the sound of it.

In the 70s and 80s. Digitizing tablet. The pen worked with a special tablet rather than the screen, though it had simple pressure sensor capability.

Something must have happened in the 90s. Not sure what.

In the 00s. The Wii Remote. OK, this uses infrared rather than "optical light" but it does include haptic feedback and various sensors.

More recently. There are a number of Android (and other OS) devices that use styluses with pressure sensors etc.

I know technological advancement is generally incremental, but can't someone stop Apple patenting combinations of other people's ideas all the time?!

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Re: Bundling other people's ideas again @sorry

You missed out a piece of technology. Google "Wacom", and particularly their product "Cintiq".

Graphic tablets and evolutions of them have never gone away. They've just been targeted at the people who really appreciate them, people like graphic designers and illustrators.

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@sorry, what? Re: Bundling other people's ideas again

"In the 70s and 80s. Digitizing tablet. The pen worked with a special tablet rather than the screen, though it had simple pressure sensor capability."

I used to love my Koala Pad!

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Re: Bundling other people's ideas again

In the 90's it was the Wacom Cintiq screen/tablet - still around.

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Facepalm

Press the "Revert" Button

Jobs has clearly brainwashed this generation of employees into not investigating the company's history. Had they done so, they'd've inevitably come across Newton. All they have to do is retreive the legacy code from the vaults, add drivers for telephony, and a cr^H^Happ store, and they'd be stylin' while stylusn'...

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Happy

A good idea, some of us were not born with dainty little pinkies but chipolata digits and while modern technology works for us, intricate adjustments on a touch screen is not one of them!

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The fingers you are swiping with are too fat...

To obtain an official Apple stylus accessory, please mash the screen with your palm now.

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JDX
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re:some of us were not born with dainty little pinkies but chipolata digits

I think all of us were BORN with dainty fingers. They just didn't stay that way.

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Re: re:some of us were not born with dainty little pinkies but chipolata digits

A stylus allows accuracy.

Finger input allows nuance, by interpreting multiple points of contact.

Some phones that relied on styli did so because their software wasn't well thought through - rough translations of mouse-driven desktop UIs.

A lot of interaction on a modern phone consists of selecting items from a list, or pushing a nice big button... the accuracy of a stylus isn't required, so why faff around finding a stylus?

Accuracy. As someone who draws, I have never found a phone to be a perfect replacement for a notepad. (I haven't yet used a Galaxy Note for long enough to judge it. )

There is a market for pen-driven tablets, especially markets that have been traditionally served by OSX Macs. See the Modbook (a pricey cut n' shut Macbook with a Wacom digitiser), or the Wacom Hybrid tablet.

Adobe, whose software works well with styli on OSX, have started to play in this space on iOS - their 'Project Mighty' is now called Adobe Ink, a hardware stylus and associated software.

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Paris Hilton

Re: re:some of us were not born with dainty little pinkies but chipolata digits

"the accuracy of a stylus isn't required, so why faff around finding a stylus?"

It would be more accurate to say, the smaller, simpler crApple devices could be restricted to do everything with a fat finger (or two). But it really was limiting, wasn't it. Be honest with yourselves fanbois.

As users went on to tablets, the restrictions became more obvious and less defensible. User needs for increasingly more complex software are making the restrictions completely unacceptable. For instance, try using a word processor without a keyboard and with a single finger. Pretty hard to select exactly the right place to put the cursor, isn't it. Graphics software, anyone? Completely impractical.

So, it is good of Apple to reverse the bad decision of yesterday's sociopath. But they should at least be honest about it.

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@Dave 120: Re: re:some of us were not born with dainty little pinkies but chipolata digits

Dave,

Autodesk Sketchbook (on my Note II) is blinkin' awesome...

Regards,

j.

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Re: The fingers you are swiping with are too fat...

But first, Would you like to extend your warranty?

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@Dave 126

"I haven't yet used a Galaxy Note for long enough to judge it."

I've got a Note phone and a Note Pro tablet - the phone is a bit too small to really use the stylus on, although my girlfriend has come up with some decent impromptu sketches and it is handy if you are doing something where your hand might obscure useful information.

The tablet is a different matter - there's enough screen real estate to have a decent sized handwriting area (recognition is the best I have ever seen but as a former Newton owner I may be easier than average to impress) and drawing and sketching on something that's more like A4 size feels a lot more natural.

There's a tiny amount of lag - little enough that you stop noticing quite quickly but it is there - and obviously plastic on coated glass is almost friction free and so feels quite different from paper. (I might actually consider one of the lower-quality screen protectors to mitigate this).

For something completely portable it's in the 'good enough' bracket IMO.

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Re: re:some of us were not born with dainty little pinkies but chipolata digits

@fruitoftheloon & Professor Clifton Shallot

Thanks for the tips!

@Fluffy Bunny

>But it really was limiting, wasn't it. Be honest with yourselves fanbois.

Fanboi? I've never owned an iPhone. My Android phones have been a similar size, so I tend to use them one-handed - a stylus isn't suitable. It might have been limiting for the original iPhone to not have a stylus, but then it had limited processing power, battery and resolution. Some people will say that it was limiting for the iPhone not to have a physical keyboard, a Blackberry style trackball, or a gamepad - it's depends upon the task in hand and the application UI.

If you read the rest of my post, you'll see that I was supporting the idea of tablets with stylii - even more so now that they have high resolution screens and the distance from the pixels to the top of the glass has been reduced. Not everyone will have a use for the stylus though - those people who primarily use their tablet for content consumption and checking train timetables will gain little.

I tend to use CAD software more than Photoshop - so I use 'snaps' and dimensions rather than rely on pin-point cursor accuracy, even when using a mouse. However, I know professional 3D modellers who use graphics tablets because they find them more comfortable.

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Anonymous Coward

Color me surprised

Well, your average (and even not so average) capacitive panel is hopelessly low res. I was looking at my daughter fighting a colouring app on a tablet a while back and it was not even funny.

So if Apple is going to go back at some point and address its faithful core audience of old (the art professionals) it will have to find a way to work around this hopelessly low resolution. Using a camera in the pen and improving the pen position to what the camera sees is one way to do it. If the tablet has "no image" to adjust (starting from blank), then you can do a gradual adjustment starting with the drawing from capacitive sensor data until the sensor sees it correctly

There is massive prior art for that. The earliest (of all) stylus style contraptions from 30+ years ago for the vector displays used in radars, NORAD stations, etc used a similar technique albeit in a much more primitive incarnation. They reported to the controlling workstation when they saw the light from the scanning dot appear on the stylus sensor to the same effect. I would not be surprised if there was a design which used some form of initial coordinate sensors (a minicomputer age predessor of the capacitive input) to avoid having the vector dot walk the whole screen.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Color me surprised

David Hockney has managed to do some good pictures on the iPad. It's all about the user not the technology.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's all about the user not the technology.

No-one talks about my daughter like that! OUTSIDE!!

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Re: Color me surprised

Capacitive styli suck. Active digitizers are the way to go. The downside is added weight. Samsung followed by Microsoft have the best kit for styli today.

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Re: Color me surprised

"So if Apple is going to go back at some point and address its faithful core audience of old (the art professionals)"

Yes, that's the point I came here to make too. I was quite amazed that the first iPad didn't have at least the option of a proper Apple stylus considering their contacts/users in the graphic design industry.

Someone further down mentioned David Hockney doing some decent art on an iPad. That may be so, but I bet he could do a lot more with a stylus rather than the artificial limits of a fat finger in the same way he can create different styles of physical art by choosing a pencil instead of a 1" brush.

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Re: David Hockney has managed to do some good pictures

When? where?

All of his work I have ever seen consisted of utterly flat representations of hunky lads diving into swimming pools rendered utterly flat by the socal sunlight, and somewhat rushed by the artists desire to be doing something other than painting aforesaid lad, or badly mosaic-ed polaroids.

all of which eminently doable with a fondleslab and a small ball pein hammer.

Playmobil or it never happened

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Re: Color me surprised

"David Hockney has managed to do some good pictures on the iPad. It's all about the user not the technology."

Yes sweetie..

The operative word being MANAGED..

No doubt he could do something absolutely stunning with some charcoal and a light coloured rock..

Its all about the user after all, not the technology.

Right?

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Paris Hilton

Re: Color me surprised

"avoid having the vector dot walk the whole screen."

A simple grid of rows & colums would allow the processor to calculate it's position:

1. crude estimate from capacitive sensors

2. scan screen for grid

3. calculate pixel-exact position through interpolation.

The real problem is that this is a well-researched and product-filled field. crApple have had to go to extremes to find an approach that isn't effectively covered by existing patents.

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Re: Color me surprised

We had digitizers (A0) and on-screen styluses connected to VAX minis back in the early 80s, I had a summer job digitizing seismic surveys, 1200dpi plots on an A0 table. The research division was playing with 3D on terminals and using an on-screen stylus.

The resolution of the Wacom and N-Trig digitizers seems to be very good and much more accurate than dabbing a screen with your finger.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Color me surprised

Suprised? Really? Apple is all about copying and u-turns these days. Just like Microsoft, they are both aping Google.

July 2010 - Apple CEO mocks larger phones, saying "no one is going to buy that".

October 2014 - Apple releases 4.7 inch and 5.6 inch iPhone, playing catch up to larger phones.

October 2010 - When asked about iPad mini, Apple replies that 7 inch tablets are useless and "Dead on arrival".

November 2012 - Apple releases iPad mini, playing catch up to other 7 inch tablets.

September 2012 - Apple releases iPhone 5, without NFC because it is not a viable technology. Many other phones are equipped with NFC.

October 2014 - Apple releases iPhone 6 with NFC (although limited to pay, no file sharing) and a Google Wallet clone. Playing catch up.

September 2012 - Apple VP says wireless charging is too complicated to give to users.

October 2015 prediction - Apple will release new iPhone with wireless charging.

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Anonymous Coward

"To keep the cost down"?

more like an opportunity to charge exorbitant rates for the optional extra.

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Coat

Stable door & bolted horse. There was a chap in Geneva airport on Saturday happily working away on his iPad with a stylus, or maybe he didn't get the memo?

Now, where did I leave my pen?

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Anonymous Coward

If the tip was fat and round, it wasn't a proper stylus (which should have a fine, tapered tip). It's just one of those devices that can affect a capacitive touchscreen like your finger. Out of necessity, they're always fat with a round tip (otherwise, they don't set off the touchscreen).

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J 3

Indeed. My wife has been using her iPad with a stylus for 3 or 4 years now. I pretty much never see her finger touch the screen...

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Anonymous Coward

The quote was in reference to the opinion that if your phone needed a stylus then the user interface design was poor and not fit for mobile use.

It is however quite a different use case for a tablet which isn't used on the move in quite the same way. It is perfectly reasonable to have a tablet with a stylus for drawing work.

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Indeed. If the following were true

"Apple, which has always derided fondleslabs that used any pointing device other than a human finger attached to a human arm"

then they wouldn't be selling stuff like this on their online store.

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Two of those are designed for writing on paper and the third is categorised under "toys and hobbies"

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Wow, surprised this isn't a Jasper article, it's certainly as clueless and inflammatory as one.

The Jobs quote was specifically about the first gen iphone (2007, the ipad didn't even exist yet). But you don't have to believe me, just look right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YY3MSaUqMg

Frankly, I share his hatred for styluses on small devices. On a tablet, they're fine, provided the tablet is made with them in mind as an optional addon. You can get ipad styluses now, but WOW do they stuck - they stick to the screen, have no touch sensitivity, and have a big fat meaty THING on the end that in every stlyus I've seen, is 5 minutes from falling off.

An active stylus with touch sensitivity would be HUGE. They could eat Wacom's entire casual user base (and probably some pros too) with a 12 inch tablet and a good stylus, with handoff features that allow it to be used as a computer input device too.

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Nope

"They could eat Wacom's entire casual user base"

An iPad pro that is going to cost an arm and a leg will not be eating anything casual.

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not only but also

Indeed. If the following were true

"Apple, which has always derided fondleslabs that used any pointing device other than a human finger attached to a human arm"

if that were that case they would have patented the finger and we'd all be typing with bloody stumps

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