Jony Ive: Don't Call the Apple Pencil a Stylus

Pencil

According to Jony Ive, the Apple Pencil is not meant to be used as or considered a stylus. Apple's Chief Design Officer, was interviewed by Wallpaper, and offered his thoughts on the new input device. According to Ive, a stylus is a technological term and the purpose of the Apple Pencil is sketching and markup than navigating the user interface.

Pencil

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Ive said "I like the name Pencil much more than stylus because stylus seems a product that’s about technology. Pencil, to me, seems very analog in its association. But what is challenging is that it will become many things. There’s an incredible painting app and very powerful drawing apps. For some people it will be a graphic instrument and to others it will be a fountain pen. One of the technologies within the Pencil means that as well as detecting pressure, we are also detecting the angle of the pencil. All of which is particularly relevant for being able to create a very natural experience. As an object it needed to be relatively neutral as it can take on the identity of a pencil or ink pen or paint brush or charcoal."

Pencil

Ive also discussed the interface, saying "It’s a curious thing. It was fundamentally important originally not to develop a user interface that required another instrument. It was important that we develop the UI based upon multi-touch, based on our fingers. The reasons are obvious. I think it is equally obvious that you’re just not as dexterous as you are with a pen or a pencil for certain things."

So even though Steve Jobs derided the stylus when he introduced the multi-touch interface, the Apple Pencil deserves a place in Apple's product line. It doesn't replace the interface. Instead, the Pencil offers artists, note takers and other users another way to create and edit content, while also using the oldest stylus in the world, our finger, to navigate the user interface.

 

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Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.