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 …

  1. John Robson Silver badge

    so...

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

    1. Jolyon Ralph

      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.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        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?

        1. Otto is a bear.

          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.

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: Who wants Handwriting Recognition anyway?

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

          2. druck
            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.

        2. Ruairi Newman 1

          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.

          1. knightred

            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.

          2. Archaon
            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.

          3. revelated

            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.

      2. MrDamage

        Re: Who wants Handwriting Recognition anyway?

        Apple? Handwriting recognition? Poor Martha.

    2. macjules Silver badge
      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.

  2. JDX Gold badge

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

    1. Simon Rockman

      Yes, the finger was 'progress' from the Newton

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Yes, holding it was 'regression' from the Newton

    2. big_D Silver badge

      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.

      1. sorry, what?

        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?!

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          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.

        2. Katie Saucey

          @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!

        3. Picky

          Re: Bundling other people's ideas again

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

  3. XioNYC
    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'...

  4. Amorous Cowherder
    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!

    1. Justicesays

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

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

      1. Allaun Silverfox

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

        But first, Would you like to extend your warranty?

    2. JDX Gold badge

      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.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        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.

        1. Fluffy Bunny
          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.

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            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.

        2. fruitoftheloon

          @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.

        3. Professor Clifton Shallot

          @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.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

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

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

      2. Naughtyhorse

        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

      3. John Bailey

        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?

    2. cfischer69

      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.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      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.

    4. Fluffy Bunny
      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.

    5. big_D Silver badge

      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.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      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.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "To keep the cost down"?

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

  7. The New Turtle
    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?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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).

    2. 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...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. Mike Bell

      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.

      1. Simon Rockman

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

      2. Naughtyhorse

        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

    2. Pet Peeve

      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.

      1. Tom 35 Silver badge

        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.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        Wacom is behind the digitizers used in some Samsung and MS Surface (not the 3) tablets. Wacom has a huge patent portfolio, and may not be easy to implement many devices without hitting one, I guess.

        But AFAIK none of this has tilt sensibility - which is someone professional artists often need. Also, supported sensitivity levels are usually higher in pro devices (and Wacom pro device let the user also change tool changing the actual "pen", which may have also the physical feeling of the real tool).

        The very good thing with Wacom digitizer is their stylus is passive - it doesn't require batteries to work, and I by far prefer this kind. One device less to charge, and as long the tablet works, the stylus work as well.

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          @LDS

          It's not 'passive', it just doesn't have a battery.

          There is an inductive loop in the pen which picks up power from the tablet. I disassembled my daughters Graphire4 pen (the nib pressure sensor tends to stick if you leave it pressing on a surface for an extended time), and there's a significant board with chips on inside.

      3. David 18
        Coat

        ..., and have a big fat meaty THING on the end that in every stlyus I've seen, is 5 minutes from falling off....

        Isn't that usually the user?

    3. BongoJoe

      "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."

      That's an interesting thought but one I would disagree with. I had a Sony Ericsson P800 (I think) which came in My Little Pony Shade of Blue. That had a thin stylus (bit of plastic) and it was great for texting as the handwriting recognition was far faster than my typing one fat fingered.

      Even with the swooshy keyboard on the modern smartphones I could write faster and with more accuracy on that Sony Ericsson.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        I also had the P800, in the same shade of blue (though I never though of ponies at the time). And I agreed with Jobs, that any phone which couldn't be operated without a stylus sucked.

        The P800, despite a resistive screen (well it was 2003), could be operated with just a finger. At least for all the basic stuff, once you got into the menus or keyboard you needed a fingernail and a steady hand. There was also a little clip-on numberpad, which simply had pins in the back to touch the screen.

        I loved that phone. Incidentally, I gave it to a friend when his broke, and I'd dumped smartphones for a work RAZR V3. My trusty P800 stopped working just before Christmas last year, and he's finally had to buy a new phone.

        Where Jobs got it wrong was to say that fingers are better than a stylus for detail work. The UI should be as easy as possible, and only need a finger. But typing this on the onscreen keyboard of my iPad is way slower than I could do with a stylus. That's the one feature from my old HP Vista convertible tablet that I miss.

        I've had a tablet since 2007. I've tried voice recognition, onscreen keyboards, portable keyboards, Palm's Graffiti, horrible stylii on resistive screens, even more horrible stylii on capacitative screens and brilliant Wacom digitiser stylii. And Wacom win hands down for writing or drawing.

        My next tablet might be Android. So far Samsung's Note ones are a bit too pricy. As Lenovo's Yoga ones are lovely to hold. But if there's an iPad with a proper stylus, I'm sold.

  9. cfischer69

    Capacitive styli suck. Active digitizers are the way to go despite adding weight. Samsung followed by Microsoft have the best kit for styli today.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Uh.. there's a troll icon for a reason. Two posts... same article, respond to two people with the same post twice. WTF?

  10. theOtherJT

    Best pointing device? Perhaps, but only if what you're pointing at is quite large.

    Best writing device? Absolutely not. There's a reason we all stopped finger painting and moved on to using pens as soon as we were out of nursery.

  11. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Stop

    The *real* reason ...

    early adopter fanbois ? Got your first iPad in 2010 ? How old were you ? 45, 50 maybe ? So you're now 50,55 ? Eyes a tiny bit weaker ? Fingers a tiny bit fatter ?

    Not to worry, Apple will see you into the grave.

    When I mentioned website accessibility in 2000, it was of no interest to anyone. But now those people are 15 years older ...

    Might help disabled users into the bargain.

    1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

      Re: The *real* reason ...

      > The *real* reason

      No, the real, real reason is Apple have decided that luxury pens are their next target after luxury watches. Expect to see Mont Blanc branded Apple styluses for $500 at the cheap end of the range.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great news

    I haven't used a pen and paper at work for almost 2 years now.

    The flexibility of apps such as EverNote, Papyrus etc give me more than just pen/paper. I can't lose my notepad and all it's content and if I lose my iPad/Samsung device it's all backed up in the cloud so I can restore it (and with Evernote it's already on my PC by the time I get back to my desk from a meeting).

    I started trying an iPad 4 with a Jot Pro stylus. Not bad, but you keep writing with your sleeve/fist. I then tested a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition I quickly put my iPad away. The active stylus is amazing.

    Later on, whilst testing an iPad Air/Air2 and Mini 3 I tried the active Jot Script stylus. I'm surprised that made it to market! It's horrible. It's a real shame as I miss some of the apps on my iOS device but I'm now back to a Samsung Note Pro 12.2 and not looking back. (my cell is an iPhone 6 Plus so I'm not married to any ecosystem here).

    If Apple can bring the same functionality that Samsung do in a native stylus then I can see it being a big winner. I know there'll be a lot of folks asking for it around me for sure.....

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Great news

      "If Apple can bring the same functionality that Samsung do in a native stylus then I can see it being a big winner. I know there'll be a lot of folks asking for it around me for sure....."

      "Only available with the latest iPad, not compatible with previous versions". Any one want to bet?

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Great news

        It can't be compatible with previous versions. Unless Apple can magically add an extra element to the touch screen via software update. In which case they've invented Star Trek style teleportation, and won't just be the first trillion dollar company, but the first quadrillion dollar one very shortly thereafter...

    2. Avatar of They Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Great news

      Whaaaaaaa? Where do you work, seriously. I have never worked at a company where post-it notes are not needed. Hand written notes are not day to day.

      Granted I also have never worked at a company that consider a tablet as business capable or been in a meeting where they haven't had to reach for the chargers of those iPads, (Thus running out of battery and then referring back to hand written notes. That bit always makes me smile)

      Or worked for a place that is as security lax to allow evernote and cloud based file stores freely.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Great news

        good for you! i work in a drug-design company and do alot of handwriting formulaes and drawing and it would be pain in ass to do that with a mouse.. draw a basic formula for aspirin with a mouse. i do it in a couple of second with my Note. how much did you need? ipad sucks... totally. im very disappointed in air2 and how incomptible it is. With Note we can share our notes and actually symc them and use a SPen as a pen should work. so good luck apple! focuse on kindergardens where people use fingers...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Great news

      "If Apple can bring the same functionality that Samsung do in a native stylus then I can see it being a big winner."

      Well given the dates on the patents and the absence of products (or court cases) in the interim, I think the likelihood of Apple actually delivering something not based on someone else's IP as highly unlikely.

  13. Richard Ball

    "to keep the cost down, the stylus will be an extra."

    Yes, this way it is cheaper and people give you less money.

  14. chemnerd

    Stylus on Apple devices?

    Never say Never. The late Steve Jobs and the still living Elon Musk should have learned that. I am thinking about Elon's comment on fuel cell cars.

    1. Sarah Balfour

      Re: Stylus on Apple devices?

      Is Elon Musk the nutjob who's obsessed with finding a cure for death…? Okay, perhaps 'nutjob' is a tad unfair, but I swear I recall reading an interview where he said he planned on living forever, and that he couldn't understand why anyone would want to die.

      Perhaps that's why his girlfriends keep getting younger and younger, he's looking for the 'gene of youth'.

      On second thoughts, perhaps nutjob isn't too harsh, isn't his ex-wife dragging him through the courts for being a complete controlling cunt who occasionally lets his fists do the talking in his mouth doesn't get the message across…?

      Reckon he won't ever get to 'forever'…

  15. kmac499

    Feeling Smug

    Feeling Smug whilst handling my 18 month old Samsung Note 8" with integral small stylus and a second full size wacom job in the folding sleeve. Works a treat and great for sketching and handwiting.

  16. chivo243 Silver badge

    Fickle Finger of Fate

    Really? Steve's gone, and now some of his jokes aren't as funny. Strange how that works out.

  17. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    Optical stylus

    So they mean rework an optical mouse into the shape of a pen. Got it.

    1. John Bailey

      Re: Optical stylus

      "So they mean rework an optical mouse into the shape of a pen. Got it."

      So did Genius it seems..

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2pfkJQ1vgU

      And many others are no doubt also copying Apple.

  18. sisk Silver badge

    So not so much 'stylus' as 'smart pen' then. Kinda a misleading headline on this one as the two serve totally different purposes. And believe it or not Apple's offering is likely to be less expensive than current smart pens. The ones you can get now cost far more than an iPad and basically just create a text document (or text-to-speech document for the fancy ones) of whatever you write.

  19. Sven Coenye
    Coat

    So this is what they're up to

    "Method and Apparatus for Acquiring and Organizing Ink Information in Pen-aware Computer Systems”

    I guess they figured out where HP is still making money...

    Now, how much writing can you do with the stylus before it runs out of ink? Will one need different stylii for different colors? Or can a single stylus switch colors (didn't see a patent for that)? Will it be rechargeable via iTunes, or will a trip to the Apple Store be required?

  20. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Stylus

    Stylus by itself is not a problem (am writing this using one, after all) but a stylus needing a battery - it sure is.

  21. Bad Beaver
    WTF?

    Whipped out the Newton the other day

    I dusted off one of my MP2100s the other day, popped in some fresh AAs and FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER had to acutally do some maintenance – namely install a patch for the 2010 bug (Thank you Eckhart Köppen!). A process which I completed by downloading the pkg file to my phone and consequently pushing it to the Newton via Bluetooth (yes, indeed) as I had all but forgotten how to properly set up the WLAN. Not that it would not work without the patch but a working calendar is a good thing.

    Onwards to the real point: I instantly remembered why I loved working with this device back in the day, with some very importand aspects being

    • the interface: it is 100% pen-based

    • you can write on the resistive touchscreen without worries about where to put your hand

    So unless Apple changes the whole iPad interface the whole thing just smells of fail. A pen can never be an afterthought. Which is why you see so few people using one with their iPads for the task of actual writing. If it wasn't for the horror of Android, I would have picked up a Samsung Note of some sort by now.

    But go ahead, Apple – surprise me. It's been a while!

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Whipped out the Newton the other day

      >So unless Apple changes the whole iPad interface the whole thing just smells of fail.

      Uh? Why?

      My laptop has several interfaces (main OS plus UIs in applications), some supporting more than one form of Human Input. I might use a mouse to launch a game, and then use a joystck. I might use the keyboard to launch an application in which then use the mouse.

      I don't see why iOS would have to be completely reworked for a stylus to work well in some apps.

      If you look at OSX, they have integrated 'iOS-like' gestures such as pinch to zoom whilst retaining menus and keyboard short-cuts.

      >• you can write on the resistive touchscreen without worries about where to put your hand

      This can be faked in software. iPads already selectively ignore some finger input near the edge of the screen, when it suspects that it merely the hand that is supporting it. My laptop can be made to ignore its touchpad whilst I'm typing.

    2. The Sprocket

      Re: Whipped out the Newton the other day

      That sounds familiar.

      I have one of my 2100's tethered to an AC adaptor on my desk and it is still used everyday. It still works great as my daytimer and holder of various passwords and such (GeekSafe).

      But if Apple WAS to move forward with pen technology, being a Creative Director, I'd love to be able to do the equivalent of linear sketches on the thing to email as JPEGs to my production staff, suppliers, etc. That would be very helpful. Now if they can get that into my hands before the horrendously expensive ModBook Pro arrives, kudos to Apple! (LOL)

      Yeah -- I really love the MessagePad 2100. I also have a brand new one in a cupboard 'just in case'.

  22. All names Taken
    Alien

    ERM...

    so the Apple wants a stylus. So what?

  23. Graham Triggs

    Hardly surprising...

    Different devices have different demands....

    iPhone - whilst the small screen size might theoretically suit a stylus, the device itself is too small to house one that's comfortable to use, and for the general use of a phone, a stylus would be incredibly cumbersome.

    iPad - arguments for and against, but in most cases the stylus would be unused

    large iPad - you've got the room to house a large, comfortable stylus, and whilst the large screen would tolerate fat fingers poking at it, the more professional slant of what it would be used for lends itself to stylus use (e.g. if I was using it to access photo processing software, I would definitely want to use a stylus).

  24. Ian Joyner

    Apple regularly challenges and breaks the rules - including its own sometimes.

    They were first to introduce 5.25" floppies instead of cassette tapes. When IBM PCs adopted 5.25s, Apple went to 4.5" 800k hard-covered disks. The IBM brigade were horrified - 4.5s "weren't real floppies".

    Apple then were first to drop 4.5s. Then they dropped CDs and DVDs. You just download content directly and more cheaply from the net.

    Apple has adopted many technologies only to drop them. They are not precious and religious as many in the computing industry are.

    This latest story - IF TRUE - would just be another example of that.

    1. hitmouse

      "They are not precious and religious as many in the computing industry are."

      BWAAHAHAHAHAHA

      Did you hear Steven Jobs' preciously pious reaction when Microsoft released this technology 14 years ago?

  25. William Boyle

    So, if I don't have hands to gesture with?

    A stylus attached to a prosthetic arm would allow someone without hands the ability to use these devices. Good for Apple! Jobs was brilliant, but short sighted in many ways. I knew him back in the early 80's. I always liked Woz better. At least he had/has a sense of humor!

  26. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Fascinating how things always evolve back towards the Dynabook

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynabook

    A pad-like device with display, pen and keyboard as well as wireless connectivity, from 1972 when people still had powerful visions of the future.

    1. Ian Joyner

      Re: Fascinating how things always evolve back towards the Dynabook

      Dynabook was the brainchild of Alan Kay at Xerox PARC. Kay was a student of Bob Barton - designer of the B5000. When Xerox did not want to take PARC's work anywhere, Kay and many others (Larry Tesler) etc joined up with Steve Jobs and Jef Raskin at Apple who were doing similar things.

      The iPad eventually fulfilled Kay's vision. Many of Kay's writings are online and are all interesting reads.

      1. Christian Berger Silver badge

        Re: Fascinating how things always evolve back towards the Dynabook

        "The iPad eventually fulfilled Kay's vision. Many of Kay's writings are online and are all interesting reads."

        No, not really. The Dynabook was meant to be an education and work device. The iPad is an "App-Player" you cannot even draw on, let alone have an environment that is conductive to learning. Anything good enough to allow for experimentation would, in effect, be a programming language, and the Apple Store has explicit rules against that.

        1. Ian Joyner

          Re: Fascinating how things always evolve back towards the Dynabook

          >>Anything good enough to allow for experimentation would, in effect, be a programming language, and the Apple Store has explicit rules against that.<<

          Absolutely not. There are lots of ways of learning that don't require a programming language.

          If you want to do programming - do it on a Mac.

  27. iOS6 user

    I bought my first iPhone 2 because it was only device DesignedForMe(tm). Literally all what I've changed in settings was wallpaper picture. Few years after the same was with iPad 2.

    I've done upgrade to iOS 7 in first few hours just after release. When after upgrade I found that first time ever I must spend few hours tweaking base settings and still many things not been working enough good I've downgraded everything to iOS 6 and still today I'm using this version.

    Two days after release iOS 7 Apple blocked downgrading to iOS 6.

    iOS is more and more DesignedForEveryone(tm) which is not more DesignedForMe(tm).

    If Apple will not understand that they cannot replace opinion someone with good taste and understanding of simplicity by sophisticated market research done by hundredths or thousands people they will be doomed. So far they are on good path to fail completely trashing all Jobs legacy.

  28. Neil Cardy

    Wacom Bamboo Stylus fineline

    I have been using this for a few months with an iPad mini and it has been an effective replacement for pen and notebook when making notes. Not all apps support it yet, but Bamboo Paper is a straightforward piece of software to use and can save notes and diagrams as PDFs for email. It has a fine tip and lets you change the colour of the pen or pencil.

  29. iOS6 user

    I'm still using iOS 6

    I bought my first iPhone 2 because it was only device DesignedForMe(tm). Literally all what I've changed in settings was wallpaper picture. Few years after the same was with iPad 2.

    I've done upgrade to iOS 7 in first few hours just after release. When after upgrade I found that first time ever I must spend few hours tweaking base settings and still many things not been working enough good I've downgraded everything to iOS 6 and still today I'm using this version.

    Two days after release iOS 7 Apple blocked downgrading to iOS 6.

    iOS is more and more DesignedForEveryone(tm) which is not more DesignedForMe(tm).

    If Apple will not understand that they cannot replace opinion someone with good taste and understanding of simplicity by sophisticated market research done by hundredths or thousands people they will be doomed. So far they are on good path to fail completely trashing all Jobs legacy.

  30. David Lawton

    Steve is correct, if i had to have a stylus to use my iPhone or iPad i would be pee'd off. This is talking about a very specific usage, handwriting or sketching/drawing , not checking twitter, browsing photos, or browsing the web.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Steve is correct"

      He's dead. And he wasn't your friend.

  31. wikkity

    a human finger attached to a human arm

    So thats were I'm going wrong. Could explain why they leave sticky smelly trails after a few days of been snipped off.

  32. Rob 44

    Hmm.

    I got the note 3 for a couple of reasons.

    1 Large screen good for gaming.

    2 A stylus.

    The weird thing is, in the time I've owned it I've barely used the stylus. Handwriting is tedious AMD I can't type much faster than I can write. So far the only use I've found for the stylus is letting my 3 year old play props pigs paint pot.

    I guess if you're a graphic designer or illustrator it would be useful. I would say this is definitely a niche product that will only appeal to certain people.

    What does bother me however is that no doubt apple will sound the trumpets and somehow claim they developed and made the worlds first stylus. Just like they did with multi touch sensitive screens.

  33. Stretch

    I wanted a stylus. Cancer was too good for him. Someone should have come up with something slower and more painful.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Already available by 3rd party

    There is already a new smartpen, the Neo Smartpen N2, available for Apple. It will probably be cheaper than an Apple "accessory".

    http://www.neosmartpen.com/

  35. Phil W

    Detached

    "any pointing device other than a human finger attached to a human arm"

    This would seem to imply that using a human finger which is not attached to human hand is specifically disallowed, as is a non-human finger attached to a human hand. That must have been one hell of a focus group.

  36. tempemeaty

    Interesting but I hope Apple hasn't lost the plot

    Having to keep a stylus with the device is an additional material realm burden and takes away from the experience. If a technology is sufficiently advance such things shouldn't be needed to enter data. Only exception I would consider a stylus for is the fact that fine point pressure and angle control is needed for artistic endeavors on the device like emulated paint brush and pencil work.

  37. Hans 1 Silver badge
    WTF?

    Stylus ?

    The whole point here is that to use the iphone you do not NEED a stylus, you could use one if you wanted. It is much easier to draw with a stylus, for example, than with your finger.

    There are plenty of stylus models for iOS devices.

    http://www.theverge.com/2012/4/10/2925937/best-stylus-ipad-review

    I assume the ipad they will be bringing out will have a stylus, however, it will accept your finger input as well - and that is the whole point. Back then, a stylus was the only thing you could use on other devices, well, maybe you could manage with your fingernail, but that was hard.

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