You write better than I ever did 🙂
Handwriting is easy. Reading it… now there’s a skill.
… that could last an eternity longer than trad paper… in the Cloud as well.
Or be gone in a couple of years thanks to bitrot. I have papers from my childhood, but a lot of my writing during my teens are still on Apple ][ floopy disks, effectively unreadable. Similarly modern Pages won’t read Pages documents produced by the first version.
“Or be gone in a couple of years thanks to bitrot. ”
Please, give us a plausible scenario of how this will happen, especially since the storage medium is now completely irrelevant since it’s also saved to the cloud? Enough with the ridiculous sensationalism. Also, you’ve had many, many, many years to move your papers from floppy disks to something else, but you chose not to.
The cloud won’t necessarily save you from bitrot, nor will backups, because oftentimes the damage is invisible until it’s too late. In which case you’ve backed up and uploaded a damaged or corrupt copy of your media and lost it partially and/or forever.
The importance of preserving one’s work should be commensurate with the care one takes in doing so. Blaming losses on “bitrot” is a pathetic excuse.
Effectively unreadable? As long as the disks haven’t bit-rotten, they’re very easily readable.
That is an amazing document. Amazing for looking so ordinary. It is a huge technical challenge to replicate something as simple as pencil on paper.
Horace, in all sincerity I consider this “post” a work of art. Brilliant. Thank you. A revolutionary product and a fitting response.
Wow, I can’t tell that apart from an actual pencil writing on a piece of paper.
Time to throw away my trusty notepad/pen for meetings, jotting down ideas, etc.
Does it give me the ability to retroactively edit and re-typeset my handwriting? That would be something new.
Pity. apple had the tech to convert handwriting to text in the 90’s, with the newton. Jobs killed the product but one would hope they had kept the handwriting recognition code and could implement it again in IOS. Evidently not.
This is why you shouldn’t ever throw away old code, kids: you never know when it might turn out to be useful.
There already *ARE* handwriting keyboards in there. Turn on the Chinese keyboard. OS X has had it for a long time too.
Notice how his patience with the idea starts to fade about two-thirds into the work, judging from the handwriting…
I thought that was quite intentional—a nuance impossible to articulate with a typeface.
You’ll note that’s when he talks about handwriting changing from traditional “flowing hand” to imitating print. He handwriting changes accordingly — a nice touch.
Halfway down, he became concerned that he was going to run out of room, so he changed the writing style accordingly. Then, at the end, when he knew he only had a few more words to write and plenty of space to do it in, he changed back to the first style.
In other words just like a real person writing on a piece of paper.
I was not concerned with running out of room.
If I recall… 🙂 …I think his had was just getting tired.
Geeze, I can’t even type. His “hand”.
My hand was not getting tired.
Or maybe, just maybe, he’s making a subtle point by switching from cursive to manuscript during the time he’s writing about how writing started to mimic typing, which nearly brought the death of cursive and makes his point about bringing cursive back to the masses more poignant.
My patience with the task was not changing, as far as I could tell.
Magical, and moving. Thank you Steve Jobs, and Thank you Horace
You are an Apple Fan boy 🙂 . What is the difference between a Apple pencil and the new Surface pen. Give us an unbiased opinion without looking at the brand
Pressure sensitivity, angle detection, responsiveness. All very important for stylus use, especially for an artist.
@iObserver:disqus I’ve read this a few times, but I don’t think it’s quite right. I’m not an artist. My handwriting completely sucks, in fact. But you know how you can make it suck even more? Take away pressure sensitivity, angle detection or responsiveness. Take away two to make it even worse. Take away all three and… well, I’d say it’s an unreadable mess but it kinda started that way. But it’s worse.
So I think a better way of phrasing it might be if you care about the quality of output at all, you unknowingly care about these things. And if you’re an artist, you can probably name what’s missing.
Obviously some people will never be any sort of artist. Except one maybe.
If you really, really can’t see the difference between the Pencil and the Surface Pen, then you are probably not its intended audience.
Don’t just hate blindly.
What opinion do refer to?
Jake Day Williams’ silly comment, probably.
Interesting to actually see trolls here. It’s usually such a civil place.
Besides, we already have Obarthelmy.
Might as well just point and scream at him that he’s a liberal. Believe it or not, most of the people who could be classified as “Apple Fanbois” are far harder on Apple than those who point or wave dismissively. It’s easier to do than engage in a logical discussion. Are you truly interested in an unbiased opinion or just stopping here to criticize and then move on?
The Apple Pencil can handle tiny granular detail better. It’s more precise, you could say. The Surface Pro Pen is much more like a Wacom Cintiq stylus, which means pressure sensitivity can be a little confusing and lead to unintended strokes more often. The Apple Pencil is an improvement over that digitizer technology. The latency when using the Pencil is also lower than when using the Pen. The Pen doesn’t have the ability to sense its own angle when making contact with the Surface Pro 4, which means it can’t do nifty things like shading and broad strokes.
Both, though, have great palm rejection.
Horace transcends Fanboy. He’s in love with Apple. He’s like a guy who has a hot girlfriend and is afraid to look at other girls because she might notice him staring.
The scan rate is increased when the pen is used increasing accuracy and reducing lag. If you’ve used the surface that floating point under the stylus is a nightmare for an artist. In addition there is the pressure sensitivity.
A terrific review, definitely a work of art. Soon, perhaps within the next five years, hardworking programmers will author a calligraphy app, just to give Horace’s penmanship that extra little boost: and so his prescience will come true. Cheers!
I know I can find this online, but just curious: can it be taught to recognize these characters optically?
On the App Store search for MyScript. They are leaders in handwriting recognition. They make several apps. An interesting one recognizes math equations. Another provides a keyboard replacement.
Maybe a thanks to Tim &Co. as well?
Love this review! Brilliant. 🙂
My take on the Apple Pencil is that it’s a good first effort but needs work. Also, Apple would be extremely foolish not to bring this technology to the iPad and iPad mini next year.
What work? What’s missing?
I certainly hope we see Pencil compatibility on the iPad Air 3 next year. I’m still not sure I want to trade iPad Air portability for that beautifully huge work surface on the Pro. (I’m also waiting for all the kinks to get ironed out of the Pro.)
I’ve been using one with the Pencil for three days and think it is fantastic. Surely it will change over the years but I don’t see any major problems.
The biggest problem is is learning how to use this new tool which provides new possibilities.
When you are using the pencil, are you also using it to navigate iOS and as an input device for non drawing apps? Just curious.
holy cow. I actually thought that was a note written on paper and scanned, especially after zooming in. but now I see it was written on the pro. incredible.
It is was refreshing to be reminded that Steve Jobs brought typography to computers.
I’m sure he would have loved the Pencil.
As others have noted, that is amazing.
Very nice, Horace. Really enjoyed your video review as well. Got my iPad Pro yesterday and am patiently waiting for the Pencil now. I’m not a graphics pro but a business “pro” and I envision myself using the Pencil as you do – for various business purposes and writing thoughts down with handwriting as well as marking up documents, etc. is what I’ll primarily be using it for.
Looks like one needs “ruled paper”, just like in school. But it’s better than ruled, because you can make the lines disappear if you put them on a separate layer.
I won’t be able to afford a Pro or a Pencil for a while. I can only be envious of those who can.
Just got my iPad Pro and whole heartedly agree that it is a new device category. The extra screen makes all the difference. This is the first tablet device that I’ve felt can replace a laptop for many tasks, and when you add in a high quality stylus & multitasking and split screen, I think that this will strongly differentiate it. The feel of it is unique and not like a slightly larger iPad.
I’m hoping it takes off so that we get more productivity apps adapted for the extra screen room. I’m really looking forward to my Pencil arriving so that I can give it a thorough test. I want to do more sketching and less pasting of photos into my notes, finally!
You mean, like last year’s Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 ?
Yes. But when will the apps world catch up and make the use of the pencil/stylus universal? I’d have my stylus out on my Note 4 all the time. Screw the finger tapping. That’s a step backwards from the keyboard. Something not mentioned in the above epistle.
Probably never: for a lot of apps, a stylus doesn’t make sense: most games, media consumption, probaly Social Office stuff… that’s 95% of tablets’ usage, and, most importantly, 90% of tablet users never venture outside of that (ie, they never ever need a pen, as opposed to people trying to use tablets as their only computer and who mostly still need a PC sometimes, so need to buy one).
I think there’s a strong case for a pen for a) handwriting recognition as a keyboard (the Note has that, don’t know about iOS) or as a full-screen notetaking app; b) graphics/design work; and c) annotations. That’s fairly specfic apps, maybe the market for that will grow from 5 to 10% ?
There’s also probably a weaker case for maybe a few system-wide niceties, ie in-place data entry (as opposed to in a keyboard zone), a pointer, … I’d say those cases are weaker than those for supporting a mouse (especially when you’re arguing that a tablet can replace a laptop), and Apple still hasn’t done that… they’d have to argue that pen-enabling the whole OS is less anti-ergonomic than mouse-enabling it, which would be… well, very Apple-y. Good dose of magical thinking required.
What’s interesting is that Samsung ended up having a full line-up of dedicated Note device (5.7″, 8, 10 and 12″). With only one device supporting pen input, and a rather special one at that (more expensive than a laptop, huge/unwieldy…), Apple is limiting the market for both pen devices and pen apps to whatever is suited for a huge device; and obfuscating the data on whether iPPro buyers are in it for the pen or something else (size, sound quality, battery life, performance, multitasking…). I know of people who use pen on smaller tablets, and of people who use huge tablets but have no need for a pen.
Or maybe Apple is just setting up its customers for their next step of the upgrade treadmill, same as it’s doing with force touch and non-expandable storage, and there’ll be a pen tax on upcoming models. Milking existing locked-in customers is a very efficient strategy, a pen is probably a good excuse to raise prisces on them.
There are reasons to have my stylus out for EVERY interaction with my Note4, but I don’t because it isn’t possible and not convenient. (I have big hands with long fingers; perfect for piano, not so for smartphone. Absolutely HATE Apple keypads because they require so many more finger strokes and repeats).
I think you are limited in your view of potential demand. And this is meant to be a generic critique, not a droid vs apple issue. Pens/stylus could be more ubiquitous by making it a system-wide toolset with character recognition to make it easy for app developers to incorporate the pen.
Very few do that right now: http://bit.ly/1TelClW But in general, I would cut and paste a lot more if I could. And I would write text and email replies all the time. So much faster than thumb strikes. Unlike PCs, true multi-tasking and interoperability between apps is challenging on smartphones. Pens/stylus’ would make it much easier.
I’ve had Samsung’s 2 seminal 2011-12 Notes (the 5.1″ phone but that was 2 upgrades ago, and the 10.1″ tablet, still my main tablet but its replacement is in the mail), and barely ever used the pen. It works OK, but is not quite as fast for me as touchscreen typing, and a lot slower than keyboard typing. Plus I have 0 graphics/design ability.
I did find it made for a more relaxing typing experience: no hunt-and-pecking imaginary feedbackless keys, just write. I find it most useful when trying to concentrate a lot on what I’m writing: handwriting is less disruptive than a touchscreen keyboard. A real keyboard and mouse is even less so to me, though.
It may be due to the feature’s rarity and price, but it seems most pen users are very intensive users: you either use it all the time or not at all, there doesn’t seem to be an inbetween. As for me, I’ll take a nice software keyboard while mobile (Minuum, after quite a bit of getting used to it) and a keyboard+mouse while at my desk over pen.
My new tablet has an optional active pen. I didn’t buy it even at $20 ^^
Pens. On a scale of 1 to 12 are they:
1) easy to use (character rec): 4
2) usable across an array of contexts (apps): 3
3) ubiquitous in terms of their access (devices): 2
4) universal in terms of appeal (market segments): 3
On a scale of 100 pens score a 12! http://bit.ly/xDbQaR
Make it systemic so that character rec works across most apps (I hate losing half the screen to a keyboard), then more vendors will add it to their form factor and then it will become more appealing, and presto, you can get the score up to 70+ which is typically a minimum for successful product under the 4Us of demand.
Does the “context” line refer only to apps, or also to actual physical context ? Pens require at least 2 hands, maybe a desk, tht’s some exacting context requirements.
sure. context is several vectors: a) work, social, family, play; b) fixed, mobile, transportable, (hanging upside down in a tree); c) 1-way, 2-way interaction; d) single vs group, etc… driven both by the apps and the user themselves in their particular context.
most people thumb type with 2 hands or manage it more slowly with 1. a pen does require 2 hands, but if many apps allowed me to use it (writing, cut and paste, copy, highlighting, selecting, drawing, etc…) i would be more prone to multi-task and keep the pen out for a while. it would be tiresome to always take the pen out i looked at the phone. the note4 always pulls up the stupid samsung menu when i do that. very frustrating. another reason i don’t use it.
the smartphone will evolve. it is only 7 years old and already bloated and showing its years. change is coming. a pen is nowhere near being a savior. just a nice feature if done correctly.
The best innovation I’ve seen recently in smartphones is the collapsible grip you stick to your phone’s back. Might unlock bigger sizes for more people, once the fashion police get over it (it is, or will be, available is rose gold, so that should happen, eventually. I’m sure diamonds aren’t out of the question either).
I want that built into my next phablet, along with a sturdy replacable case.
My sense is that we will be going the other way. Demand is too varied and supply is creating a lot more possibilities.
If the grip (pun intended) of the carriers can be broken, then a better, more sustainable model accounting for all trends that are going on, would be that the smartphone gets reduced to the size of a pack of chewing gum. The battery lasts for a week or more. The RF is multi-frequency/carrier/protocol. And it has 30+ gigs of local storage.
This “hub” would cost no more than $20-30 and allow one to interface with “n” devices and wearables across one’s PAN, LAN and MAN. These include glasses, watches, gesture devices, any number of screens (particularly foldable or rollable), sensors, productivity tools, wearables, etc…. Everyone will have their own unique array of “n” devices.
But to get there we need government to resurrect carterphone and mandate interconnection in the PAN/LAN or someone like Jobs who forced equal access on AT&T and started this whole smartphone/application revolution. Without access and connectivity of wifi the past 7 years would not have been the same. We’d still be running on 3G and the ecosystem would be 1/10th the current size.
Tethering has been available or mandated (net neutrality) in a lot of countries for a while. It hasn’t changed much of anything; in particular small cellular routers such as those http://consumer.huawei.com/en/mobile-broadband/mobile-wifi/features/e5330-en.htm haven’t thrived: most everyone wants a phone anyway, it makes no sense to geld it and put required functionality in a separate device.
The same goes for wifi and local storage I guess: since if there’s only going to be one device, it’s *always* going to be a phone, it makes no sense to take key functionality out of it ? Make that act as the hub instead ?
Spectrum is a public good, regardless of whether it is sold. Just like land rights of ways. Regulators took a wrong turn in the road when they didn’t mandate sharing and interconnection out to the edge. So the carriers control the LTE standards and since people want macro-mobility they control mobile. (Just ask the vendors about LTE-D) On top of that the carriers have gotten a free ride on shared, best-efforts wifi through no efforts of their own. What other service charges you a buck and delivers 30 cents of service?
If interconnection/sharing were mandated, then the carriers wouldn’t control the LTE standards and the macro mobile market would look more like Wifi. And therefore would be much more pervasive, cost less, and be far more generative (towards my hub model).
As for tethering: BLE, sonic (aural) and light, as well as millimeter wave (60-70ghz) are all viable RF/protocols for the hub concept to the n devices. I know of a $5 chip that can do 10gbs over 20-50 feet, near line of sight. I would expect more protocols would be developed for security and other performance reasons.
Way too much can go wrong with IoT if we’re not careful.
Lots of things are public goods, starting with air and water, maybe up to a chance at a good education and health care. Doesn’t seem to make much of a difference…
In my country (France) what they did was force all carriers to use the same tech, then link spectrum licenses to coverage commitments, then regulate away carrier lock-in, then encourage infrastructure sharing. My bill went from $100-ish for just enough hours and just enough data to $20 for unlimited voice/texts including most relevant foreign countries, and unlimited data, and free voice/texts/data roaming in the EU and some non-EU countries.
That’s the business side.
I think there’d be significant technical issues is mixing backbone technologies though. The most basic example is my phone currently gets confused by some wifi authentification schemes, thinks it’s connected to open networks when it really isn’t because they require a web sign-in or some other authentification scheme it doesn’t support. I’ve got to switch wifi off to force it to use 3G. Multiply that issue by the number f possible ways to connect. Then make it hurt more by using those flaky channels for voice too…
The EU never had the vertical or logical separation the US had in 1984 which gave rise to the internet. Horizontalization & commoditization of the core/WAN layers and flat-rate dial-up pricing (which was not meant for data, but rather to combat the competitive interexchange voice minutes and move the logical WAN/MAN boundary towards the core) are the 2 factors that led to the internet scaling commercially in the US before any other region. The latter were “pulled along”.
But the EU as you pointed out did force a form of horizontal separation both wired and wireless, which we never got right after 1996 and killed in 2002.
So we have these 2 “experiments” both of which have worked, but not entirely well. The reason for that is lack of competitive and market driven inter-network/actor settlements that flow both east-west and north-south.
Bill and keep (settlement free peering) is anti-competitive, supports monopolies, results in silos and is non-generative. Regulatory, academic, trade and capital market actors need to go back and understand why settlements provided important price signals and (dis)incentives to generate macro network effect and clearing of rapidly depreciating supply and increasing (and varying) demand.
And it’s not as complex as you might think.
Suppose instead of your wifi example (an edge end-point or access point or switch at the edge on shared, nearly infinitely reuseable spectrum) we talk about 1-way beacons. A single beacon is used by a single app supporting a few or couple hundred users.
But it makes more sense for many apps (with thousands and millions of users) to use that end-point. Can’t be done today. No established address directories and no incentives for the actors to work together exist. There are no settlement exchanges.
Suppose now there exists such an exchange and that one or a few of the apps require an upgrade at that endpoint for some (future) performance or revenue or cost enhancing reason (again think constantly shifting supply & demand curves being modeled ex ante to arrive at the right pricing). Now those apps have a way to incentivize the end-point to upgrade through the exchange in an automated way. The system is now generative and efficient in a nearly infinite fashion.
We need to revisit terminating, or what I call market driven balanced settlements that reflect marginal cost and convey value from the core to the edge and top to bottom (app to infrastructure). And they serve as a market driven solution for universal service.
Your example of France is good, but what happens to the rural markets? We have a house in the Loire and not only is service pretty bad, but the connection speeds on the route to Paris are pretty inconsistent and sometimes almost non-existent.
Quick reply re: rural markets: they might be served by just one carrier, you might want to double-check which one has the closest tower in your case. My dad lives 2km away from a small (500-ish) village, yet he gets much better ADSL than I do in France’s 3rd biggest city, and excellent 3/4G (he lucked out on that one, they built a tower 500m from his home). Also I think some carriers will give or lease you a nano-tower.
As for edge access it’s, in Herzog’s words, every man for himself and G-d against all.
Today’s communication market is totally balkanized. Every actor an island. It is, literally, the middle ages of the information revolution.
There is no centralized procurement or subsidization of edge access. No coordination. Majority of traffic still terminating on IPv4, etc….
I think they’re anticipating several issues with liberalizing individual access point financing:
1- there are regulatory issues. From the state’s point of view, it’s easier to deal with a few large companies than to investigate each and every installation. With fewer players, you can build a bit of trust, make allowances, make broader threats (“we’ll audit each and every tower !”)…
2- there are technical issues: each carrier’s backbone is a private network. Creating new backbones is expensive, and allowing 3rd parties onto existing ones is risky and complicated (we’ve got several outages each year).
3- there are financial issues: we’re walking the line between public good and public service. I think carriers are allowed to make more money in dense areas on the understanding that they’ll cover less dense areas at a loss. Allowing an access point free-for-all in dense areas nullifies that bargain.
I think in the macro view, set nationwide prices and individual access-point prices end up equivalent. The question is whether you want to promote efficiency or equality. Bank ATMs offer a glimpse of the efficiency approach : They are fully liberalized, each has its own revenues (I think around 1€/transaction,)… But not having one started being an issue for some villages (my dad’s very touristy village: no cash, no spending !), so the state started agitating for banks to take a hit and set some more up, then subsidizing that, then telling the (public) Post Office to install some more. That took a while though, and is not perfect yet. Luckily they anticipated the issue re: carriers.
Horizontal orientation and vertically complete solutions solves this problem. There is choice at every layer and boundary point to serve infinitely varied demand. Communication networks are unique in that they are inherently 2-way, unlike any other utility. They’re value proposition is a function of how easy it is to communicate and transact. So even the backbones should be “open” through an exchange process. It’s how new protocols and technologies can be rapidly introduced and no existing model can serve as a barrier to entry.
Bank ATM’s are a cabal and closed systems charging high prices and constraining access. Mobile payments can cut through this monopoly; but not of the siloed (ApplePay) variety.
I was using ATMs as an example of an endpoint delivering stuff: bills in that case, but similar to how carrier endpoints deliver data. Nothing specifically to do with payments, just a delivery infrastructure/economy.
As you say, it has evolved into a bit of a cabal, which is a warning about no-regulation.
you are taking a 1-way exchange example and trying to extrapolate to 2-way networking principles. in 2-way networks endpoints are both originators and terminators of data. value can be symmetric or asymmetric. that’s why we have to ensure that the endpoints are as open as possible. but this is more of a philosophical battle than purely a regulatory battle.
a lot of communications history and evolution is a function of unintended consequences. equal access, part 15, etc… resulted in things no one imagined.
here’s an example of antithetical thinking. 1 network has 1m subs. 10 networks have 10k subs each. what should the optimal settlement structure be?
i’ve already said that bill and keep stifles new service creation and doesn’t afford centralized procurement of subsidization of any edge. or for large users to subsidize use by smaller users to increase their network effect.
so in my example, conventional thinking dictates that the larger network demand a higher terminating settlement; because they can. in fact, just the opposite. it mathematically behooves the larger network to pay a disproportionately higher terminating settlement to the smaller actors to generate and grab the largest absolute network effect.
the reason is that disproportionate terminating settlements increase the available pool of endpoints to create network effect. since network effect is geometric in terms of its value growth, the net effect is for the larger actor to get a higher absolute share of growth and a an overall higher growth rate in the process. in my case the 100k subs have a geometric, not additive effect to overall pathways and value creation.
now try to lay that on the aforementioned regulatory, academic, trade and capital market folks. defies conventional thinking and appears antithetical and heretical.
What they did in France was gradually impose the same flat rate of about 1 US cent for all termination fees (mobile voice, text, and landline voice, on slightly different schedules and at slightly different prices). http://www.arcep.fr/?id=8080 , first table is mobile voice in mainland France, the next 2 tables are overseas territories/departments, then on to texts then landline voice
That solves the “small competitor lockout” issue. It does not provide a specific incentive for them, but that’s what contract revenues do: it simplifies the problem to “want more money ? get more users”, and that’s it.
These settlement structures are only east-west, not north south and pertain only to voice. I am using any bit. My sensor example can be applied to any network component, access point or endpoint in the network across any media, context and app.
Once we have north-south settlements we can get away from the vertically integrated model that even Free partly suffers from. Amongst all the edge access providers theirs is the one I most closely identify with.
You’re hilarious, as usual! 🙂
But, no, I didn’t mean that. I’ve been sketching on glass for years before Samsung made such things, and the real driver for me was, in order of importance: 1) iOS, so I can use my existing, extensive purchases, 2) the size of the screen, 3) the Pencil is the best price/performance drawing tool I’m likely to afford that fits into my ecosystem of choice, 4) CPU/storage improvements. And I’m delighted with the new speakers, I can hear my compositions without headphones or plugging into the mixer. These improvements are easily worth the cost of a Pro to me. Having spent a few years trying to be productive in other ecosystems, I’m 100% back to iOS with this device. I think it is a great step forward.
Your handwriting may be slanted but not nearly as much as what I read on the internet every day.
Still holding out for an iPad Air 3. It’s all I want and I can wait another year.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the iPad Air 3 will have the necessary screen technology. I am also waiting (I’ll probably wait for the second version of the iPad pro, anyway.)
Hopefully history will prove that the biggest contribution Steve Jobs made was not personal computing but that he single-handedly resurrected equal access in 2007; something the monopolists squashed between 2002-2005. That said, the battle is far from won and we need more analysis on the value of interconnection and settlements all the way out to the edge (PAN); not just the LAN or MAN or WAN.
Also, I thought he was strenuously against the stylus, no? Not something the author references.
Jobs was against a stylus being required for use of the device. Jobs was never against a well-designed tool that added capability.
“CEO Steve Jobs, who famously said in 2007 at the initial iPhone reveal, “Who wants a stylus? You have to get em’, put em’ away. You lose them. Yuck.”” http://bit.ly/1SpeoeG
From the article you linked, referencing your quote: “What’s missing from the reactions is the obvious acknowledgment that Jobs was not only talking about using a stylus with an entirely different product — the 3.5-inch iPhone 1 — but he was referring to both styluses and screens that have been blown out of the water by newer technology.”
Context is important.
Context of article was very clear and you are compounding the author’s journalistic reach.
The fact is no stylus emerged while Jobs was alive and for a long time after. His verve for simplicity drove him to reject the concept of another instrument as much as the mouse retained only one button. Focus on “PUT THEM AWAY. YOU LOSE THEM.” Jobs said it. Not the author.
History is made in one instance and revised the next. You are one of those revisionists.
Jobs changed his mind a number of times on a number of issues. Smart people do that. As reality evolves this is natural. Jobs opposed a stylus for lots of good reasons, at the time. There’s no reason to think he would have been against the Apple Pencil, quite the opposite.
You can rationalize as much as you want, and this is not an attack on Jobs. I paid him a supreme compliment in my original comment.
That said, as I said elsewhere to Obarth, both android and iOS pen strategies are significantly flawed. It’s one thing to say never, then do it. It’s another to keep the possibilities open and then do it well. The jury is out on how well the pencil will perform and what penetration it will achieve.
PS, it is still easy to lose it if it is not built in or integral to the design.
Rationalizing? I’m simply describing reality. It is obvious that Steve Jobs loved tools that were well-designed, carefully crafted, that had value and purpose. The Pencil is such a tool. But is the beginning, not the end. Apple is pushing forward with abstraction and simplification. What is simpler than a pad of paper and a pencil? The iPad Pro + Pencil is another good step towards this goal.
It has little value at present. Unless it is picked up broadly by app developers on both sides of the aisle. oh, and it has to be integrated into the unit, or you violate Jobs #1 principle.
The Pencil may have little value for you, but your truth is not universal. You’re engaging in a logical fallacy re: “integrated into the unit”, it’s called false equivalence.
See my comment to Obarth below re scoring from a utility and usability perspective. Feel free to use the same scorecard and let me know your score (or what you judge to be the market’s score).
I saw that. I don’t agree that it is sound analysis so I would not use that scorecard, obviously. I think much analysis of Apple misses the value that Apple is delivering, and a lot of that stems from the logical fallacy of false equivalence. If you start from a position of believing tool X and tool Y are the same, when they actually are different in important ways, your analysis will fail.
Of course we have to keep in mind that people do value different things. The value of the Pencil is immediately apparent to me. But you may have no good use for it, or you may feel it is no different from a stylus you already use on an Android device. However, you must understand that your experience cannot be applied to the entire market. As I said, your truth is not universal, it is simply your truth.
If you read my comments then you saw that I am a fan of the pencil/stylus concept. Always have been. One of the reasons I bought the note4.
But having studied mass communication and tech markets for 25 years, if the Pencil were a stock, I’d short it.
Please suggest an objective analytical framework to score Pencil’s value to the overall market.
I would flip that question on you. Please suggest an objective analytical framework that has a positive outlook for any Apple product.
Using my framework I’ve been positive on many apple products from an analytical, not personal use, perspective: iPod, iPhone, iPad, Air, iMac. I’ve also been negative on some: http://bit.ly/IC3y23 I believe Watch is part of a long-term trend of devolution of the smartphone. Payments are not going to scale in current form, just like Pencil. Nor are iBeacons.
Since I’m in NYC most everyone I know around me uses Apple products; in fact I’m always interested in people who don’t use Apple. As well, I constantly have to use their computers and smartphones, so I’m reasonably well acquainted with their performance.
Some pundits are positive on Apple products *after* they succeed, and many of those same pundits had very negative things to say upon the launch of the product. I’d be interested in what you had to say at the time of the iPhone launch, or the iPad launch. You’d be a welcome exception if you were positive on those products *at launch*.
Here’s one of your comments from two years ago, replying to Ben Evans: “People buy iPhone for 2 reasons, because it’s still the norm and considered stupid simple, and because they’re stuck in the OS silo with all their apps. (Neither of those exist overseas, so price may or may not be an issue, in reference to your other blog, but relevant to this discussion as well). But it’s pretty apparent that simplicity and OS are being trumped by functionality and flexibility at the margin; it could be a few small grains leading to an avalanche of users out of the silo that no one saw coming.”
It sounds like two years ago you were predicting an avalanche of users leaving iPhone. And your reasoning for why people buy iPhones is exactly the kind of wrong-headed analysis I was referencing.
First of all, it’s not easy to get out of a software/hardware/addressing silo that one is stuck in and I’m not aware of any Android vendor/platform (or grouping thereof) that has made the effort to help those in the silo get out through translation tools. I know several people who have tried to escape and can’t. So kudo’s to Apple and knocks on the competition for missing out.
Second, the numbers don’t lie. See chart below.
And lastly, I raised money for a smartphone company in 2006 and said to the management team they had to focus on data applications because application ecosystems were going to be big. They asked, “what’s an application ecosystem.” So of course when iPhone came out it was obvious to me that it would be a hit. And on top of that Jobs forced the wifi offload onto AT&T, which few laud him for or even understand. At least I do.
Not sure how a comment on Pencil’s shortcomings came to be viewed as an overall attack on Apple? But I think it started when you took exception to what Jobs said as though you were in his mind while he was alive…
I take exception to bias and poor analysis, that’s all. Some of your analysis relies on a logical fallacy. As for your chart, please tell me you’re not a member of the Church of Marketshare. Surely you understand segmentation? Your chart isn’t good analysis.
Comments that never address the issue and evade answers and hurl veiled insults. Bravo. Fitting name.
I addressed the issue and didn’t evade a thing. I think your analysis is poor, simple as that. The chart you posted is evidence of poor analysis. I also wasn’t aware I was using big words. False equivalence isn’t a contrived expression, it’s a type of logical fallacy. Your chart is in part the fallacy of ad populum, sometimes called authority of the many. But you’re also getting into a few fallacies which deal with generalization when you use total marketshare numbers. Pointing out that your analysis needs improvement isn’t an insult, but I can see how you’d take it that way. I’m fine with ending this discussion, it isn’t productive. Please do have the last word.
Contrived in how you apply the terms, answers and cleverly jumbling things up. You are now mixing use of the chart, which had no weight other than to illustrate avalanche (as in volumetric), with the quote attributed directly to Jobs about usability.
But then you are very good at contriving what he might have done as the monkey in his head. “There’s no reason to think he would have been against the Apple Pencil, quite the opposite.”
Really? Great analysis!
The stylus is necessary to using the device. The pencil is necessary if you want to use a pencil.
Horace, not sure I fully understand.
Can use my Note4 without stylus, but as I am holding it cannot think of practical uses other than with the Note4. And without solving for the issues I address with Obarth, I see few reasons to use it today, even though would like to.
Likewise, the Pencil cannot be used without the Pro and other (possible) future i-devices. It certainly can’t be used on regular paper, so it is not a true pencil.
When Steve Jobs panned styluses it was because they were necessary to the user experience. The products that used a stylus were Pocket PC and PalmOS devices (and the discontinued Apple Newton). The Pencil is an accessory emulating a pencil. It is not a stylus. It is not designed as a primary input device because the UI is designed around finger touch.
Horace, I had a touchscreen LG Dare before the iPhone. It did not need a stylus. This was common with CDMA phones (Rev A). I was on Verizon.
Of course it was novel for the AT&T crowd on 2G TDMA at the time.
Thank you for clarifying that Pencil will not (ever?) be used as a stylus. I can rest easier with my prediction that it will have limited market appeal.
PS, and you’re still kowtowing to Jobs who said “why do we need an 11th digit? G-d gave us 10.” or something like that (too lazy to relook it up).
Yeah, I had a Dare too. It had a resistive touchscreen, meaning you had to press hard to get it to recognize the touch. Scrolling, for example, was just awful.
Imagine scrolling with a swipe but having to push Hard. Then the Dare would very frequently misidentify my scrolling attempt as a tap and select a link.
It also unlocked with a tap meaning it was constantly calling people in my pocket. I had to **shut it off** to carry it in my pocket. Often, it would simply turn back on and start calling people.
It was a feature phone, not a smartphone, and it was atrocious. The fact you bring up the Dare makes me wonder what game you’re playing.
I already pled mea culpa. It was a long time ago and I didn’t bring up the issue. It was in response to needing a stylus and I didn’t need one for resistive input, nor was my experience as bad as yours, as I had it just under 2 years until I moved to an HTC phone (and by then we had apps). As well, when I had the Dare I really didn’t do email on it and used it mostly for voice & sms. And it was SO small!
If you read my original comments I praise Jobs for partially undoing the cellular stack and inserting the app ecosystem over the top.
My entire point about stylus/pencil is frequency and range of use and therefore addressable market size.
iPad Pro is touted as a laptop/PC replacement. But the keyboard has no touchpad, and fingers are lousy substitutes for highlighting or cutting and pasting between apps; something I do a lot on a PC while multitasking.
Taking the “precepts” from a 3.5 inch phone of not having a stylus and extending it to all larger screen devices until this “replacement for your PC” is a questionable strategy. Better if it applied to all screens and apps and make it appealing for all apps to incorporate the capabilities.
I make this criticism on both sides of the aisle as well. I use a Note4 and the stylus would be fantastic if I could use it across all apps. But in this mobile ecosystem, it’s practically every app and device an island unto themselves (with the exception of Apple’s well maintained walled stack, which can be equally limiting).
One final point, when the original iPhone came out it was a relatively “dumb” computing device. Very few apps existed and for the first 2 years it was mostly games, browsing, email. It was mostly for convenience or reading and simple input. It was a great replacement for your feature phone. (But it was also a lot more expensive than the Dare).
And it further dumbed down email as the virtual keyboard was so tiny as to making any long responses impractical. Remember that it was roundly criticized by the email intensive crowd who needed the blackberry keyboard.
Just saying this to put the whole stylus/input issue into context. Jobs was perfectly correct in saying a stylus was a useless 11th digit for a device that didn’t need a whole lot of input, and wasn’t multi-tasking, but enabled the user to multi-task while on the go or in various contexts (1 app at a time). Not the case anymore, nor for the past 2-3 years.
Okay. A lot of that I agree with. And there’s nothing wrong with preferring Android, obviously. But the part above on how the iPhone wasn’t a significant leap in smartphone tech is goofy and wrong. It had a large (for the time) multitouch, capacitive screen. Beyond that, the UX worked so very, very well, it was light years beyond the competition. I remember using the gen 1 iPod touch (no iPhone for me until Verizon) and being amazed at its excellent ability to track my finger, the inertial scrolling and the brilliance of the rubber band. Compared to Palm, for ex, or Windows CE, it was in outer space. It took 3 or 4 years for Android to reach a comparable state.
Again, Apple wasn’t first with some of that tech. But the whole package was revolutionary.
It was entirely revolutionary on every front as a phone. Not a computer. And trust me, I’ve studied wireless and predicted data waves since the early 1990s. But there were (and still are) many tradeoffs as a computing device.
Had it been on Verizon sooner, the only thing that would have held me back from switching (and not going with Dare) was cost of device and apps. Which is why I defaulted to Android by 2010. And there are pros and cons to that decision. I am neither in the android or apple camp; rather I don’t believe in silos.
Right. Re iOS device as computer: iCloud Drive fixes most of the problems iOS had with limited, isolated file system, one of its biggest limiters. Apple still needs to relax some of the limitations such as limited access to internals (ex. File system utilities. I’d love to be able to use DiskWarrior or Drive Genius on my iOS devices). Also, share sheets since iOS 8 are much more powerful.
So iOS has erased some of the biggest limitations with some still in place.
At a big price. But that’s why it’s the most valuable company in the world. Able to extract near monopoly rents.
Please read some of top answers there. Hoping against hope that you’ll understand the context.
Question on @Quora: What has changed between when Steve Jobs asserted that no one wants a stylus and today, when Ap… https://www.quora.com/What-has-changed-between-when-Steve-Jobs-asserted-that-no-one-wants-a-stylus-and-today-when-Apple-introduces-the-Pencil?srid=mzxO&share=c707e226
Did you not see my comment about Christ’s disciples? This is all rather comical.
My point throughout is that it is another component and can be lost.
The Pencil does NOTHING to dispel or displace these concerns.
Sure, they will build pencil holders into covers.
That said, both stylus or Pencil or whatever one wants to label it, has tremendous potential with handheld devices because one can do so much more than with one’s fingertip(s) (which are most of the time thumbs). But only if it works at the system level against almost all apps and devices.
At the same time, it is not a 100% replacement for:
-your hands (typing fast)
-or for writing on paper if you need to
Christ touched it so it’s divine. Christ said it so it’s gospel. Christ meant to touch it and meant to say it, therefore it must be divine and gospel; even if he was wrong about it to begin with. Get my point?
I think you got me wrong. In no way I’m saying that whatever came out of Steve Job’s mouth was gospel truth although I admire Apple products, their design, their simplicity and above all, the genius behind all those things, Steve Jobs.
Looking at your conversation with Space Gorilla the only thing that bothers me is that you’re looking the Pencil in an wrong way and relating it to Steve’s comment about stylus. It is not meant to be your primary input device but right now it’d have limited use cases especially in sketching and illustration. Back in 2007 capacitive touch(finger touch) was better technology than the resistive ones(which needed stylus and that was the PRIMARY input). Now in 2015 Apple hasn’t put themselves in reverse gear and adopted old technology of stylus. Pencil is not a MUST HAVE for iPad Pro. It can be used without the Pencil. Pencil is just an accessory for some people. So I think you’re looking it wrong(in typical Steve Job’s way). What you’re missing is the context of Steve comment. Primary input vs an accessory.
I just watched a TV commercial for Pro. It was ALL about the Pencil.
Also, as I said above, several CDMA phones had touchscreens before iPhone. I had the LG Dare. No stylus. Fingers. When the iPhone came out I actually thought, “what’s all the fuss?”
Of course the iPhone was AT&T’s hail mary pass after losing the coverage and performance wars to Verizon (who dissed Jobs because they had the coverage and the network and didn’t want to give up control). The resulting marketing blitz (along with Apple’s marketing genius and installed iPod base) made it appear the iPhone was revolutionary with touch. It wasn’t.
But going with AT&T laid the groundwork for the point I made initially above; namely that Jobs true genius was resurrecting equal access through wifi offload for the app ecosystem independent of carrier constraints (ie the OS or control layer in the device). That was sheer brilliance and few even know, let alone understand the significance. (Because they (net neutrality wonks) can’t even remember or don’t have a clue about 1984 or 2002). We’d still be on 3G if AT&T hadn’t caved.
And I do believe that stylus/pencil/whatever should be viewed as a primary input because in many, many situations it is so so much better than my thumbs. As I said, the strategy is flawed on both sides of the aisle. I suspect I’m not the only one out there with this sentiment, but we won’t know until someone (group of droid vendors if they wanted to get out from under google’s hegemond?) supports pens/stylus capability in a consistent fashion at the OS layer so that any app can easily take advantage of them.
But the same could be said for why I am frustrated that I can’t proxy my phone and all apps on my PC screen. That way I could set up features, manage my apps/folders, and customize my UI better (and not be so concerned with my jostling in my pocket wreaking havoc with my screens.) The phone screen is such a limited processing and multi-tasking environment.
But no. Everyone in the ICT/TMT ecosystem thinks in silos and doesn’t really care about the end user or generativity. But that will change. It has to.
“The resulting marketing blitz (along with Apple’s marketing genius and installed iPod base) made it appear the iPhone was revolutionary with touch. It wasn’t.”
Mate you’re entitled to your opinions. But now it seems that there is sort of consensus in tech circles that iPhone in 2007 was a revolutionary product which changed the mobile phones forever. Even the most critique of Apple accepts this but you are entitled to your opinion after all so many people in US believes that man has never landed on the moon.
Btw LG Dare came in 2008. One and a half year after the iPhone into.
You are right. It was the HTC Touch that came out earlier in June 2007. My point was about TOUCH screen which obviated the need for the stylus. It was not about the iPhone as revolutionary. It had a 1+ year head start on android products, and there was nothing entirely competitive to the iPhone for nearly 2 years. It was clearly a revolutionary product. The pencil itself looks to be a beautiful product and apple watch, as far as watches are concerned appear to be the gold standard.
Mate there is a famous line in Animal Farm that “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”. Along the same vein let me say that all touchscreens are equal but some are more equal. What iPhone did different in regards to touchscreen was to put capacitive touchscreen instead of resistive ones found in pre-iPhone smartphones. If my memory serves me right only LG Prada came before iPhone(I think a month before) that had capacitive touchscreens. Now coming to primary input device all the resistive touch screens found in other smartphones before iPhone could be used by fingers as well but the touch experience was so horrible that manufactures had to put stylus as a primary input mechanism. Back in 2008 I had LG Renoir and Nokia 5800. They both had resistive touchscreens although I could use them by my fingers but it was hit or miss kind of situation. So most of the time I ended up using it via stylus.
So again context is the key here. What Steve said about stylus for operating iPhone had a context i.e. to use the functions properly on other smartphones before iPhone one had to use stylus which wasn’t the case with the iPhone. Coming back to your claim that “The resulting marketing blitz (along with Apple’s marketing genius and installed iPod base) made it appear the iPhone was revolutionary with touch. It wasn’t.” It was a revolutionary product even if we just consider the touch aspect of the iPhone.
Well, let’s agree that a class of phones came out all around the same time with touch: HTC, LG. iPhone had better designs, better touch performance (which you maintain, despite evidence to the contrary: http://bit.ly/1XH4zdw ), an app ecosystem (even if it was mostly games http://tcrn.ch/1Xyqqcj), and, most importantly the OS that could access wifi as a default to the expensive and slow macro-cellular network (70% still say so today and the other 30% is due to less or no choice). All 4-5 things made it revolutionary.
But this entire discussion was not about that, rather it was around the evolution of the stylus and pencil and what constraints existed then and what do or don’t exist today. The single biggest problem today is the lack of systemic support for stylus/pen on both sides making it easier for any developer to incorporate new capabilities that make it easier for the user to interact and multi-task. And the latter is the key point, apps don’t want you to multitask or cross-silo process by clipping and pasting, or annotating. So there are many factors today which constrain the stylus and that’s the reason I keep mine in its slot all the time.
You’re quite stubborn. My previous post gone completely wasted.
“iPhone had better designs, better touch performance (which you maintain, despite evidence to the contrary: http://bit.ly/1XH4zdw )”
What kind of evidence is that? Are you implying that touch performance of HTC Touch HD and LG Renoir was better than iPhone. I don’t know which planet you live and what you smoke. They both had resistive touchscreen. My sincere advice to you is that try to learn about resistive and capacitive touchscreen. Which ones are better and why? Why there aren’t any resistive touchscreen coming out?
There wasn’t pinch to zoom functionality in LG Renoir because it doesn’t support multi touch which iPhone had from the start. Still you believe that those two phone which came in the end of 2008(almost two years after iPhone announcement) had better touchscreen experience than iPhone. Now I really don’t know what to say further. People can believe whatever crap they want to believe. After all in America a big segment of population still think that lunar landing is hoax.
Also I jumped in this conversation between you and Space Gorilla about Steve Jobs comment about stylus, which I think you we’re twisting it to apply it on Apple Pencil.
Not at all twisting the distinction between stylus and pencil. Is Pencil a glorious writing instrument? Of course it is. My point is that both Pencil and stylus suffer from the small range of applications (and devices) which support them. I have consistently maintained that I would use my stylus more if it were possible (and easy). Can’t highlight on my Kindle app or many other apps using my stylus. Will Kindle support Pencil? Just one of many such examples.
It’s really hard to keep you on single topic. You keep jumping from one topic to another. I joined this discussion when you’re wrongly relating Steve Job’s comment about stylus with Apple Pencil I tired to tell you the context of Steve Job’s comment about stylus and why it doesn’t apply to Apple Pencil. Then you moved on to another topic implying that other touchscreen smartphones of 2007-2008 had similar touch experience compared to original iPhone. When I tried to tell you the difference between resistive and capacitive touchscreen and which type gives you better experience but now you moved to another new topic of what are your wishes.
“Also, as I said below to Horace, several CDMA phones had touchscreens before iPhone. I had the LG Dare. No stylus. Fingers. When the iPhone came out I actually thought, “what’s all the fuss?””
Well in 2007 you were not alone in your thinking. I think Steve Ballmer thought that as well.
Well now in 2015 only the iPhone business is bigger than whole of Microsoft. What a splendid short sightedness.
He was rightly against the stylus which is why I think he would have been a big proponent of the pencil.
As with SG, you both seem to be in Jobs’ head. It’s like Christ’s disciples telling the early Christians not only what he meant but what he meant to say.
Jobs’ biggest objections, stated clearly in the article, were that it is another tool/component and it can be lost. Extra steps, extra headaches. Pencil doesn’t address either directly or indirectly.
As well you are drawing an imaginary distinction between pencil and stylus that probably doesn’t exist in people’s minds.
Is it a better graphic tool? yes (or at least appears so; i’m not a good judge)
Is it better than a stylus for writing? no
Are there lot’s more applications to use it for? in both instances, no
Is it something that you are going to use 15-20x an hour or even 15-20x a day? in both instances, probably not.
Whereas a stylus or pencil that can be used easily across a broad array of applications and seamlessly input short text, annotate, write messages, (basically character rec at the system level that is simple for app developers to implement), cut and paste, draw over, etc… would probably have great market appeal. That to me is more a software and system issue and not a hardware one.
I agree with a lot of what you’re saying. It may be a better writing instrument than a given stylus due to the amount of friction between the tip & screen.
I think something with the precision this appears to have would have lots of possibilities. That being said, artists are probably most likely to value something like this.
Mmmmm… that would be much more legible typed; and I’m sure you’ve gone back to a keyboard and mouse right after that artificial exercise. Which leaves me wondering what your point is. Plus people have been able to do that for years on Galaxy Note tablets, so there’s nothing impressive about it ?
Steve Jobs never was a disrupter. He was a discounting clairvoyant. Jobs’ value proposition cum business model, majestic purveying of discounted clairvoyance, articulates itself, by definition, outside timeframes of reference.
Apple is therefore not organically constituted to disrupt the present. It seeds the latter with a consumer-friendly future perfect tense. The iPhone stands as a discounted personal assistant, …in people’s consciousness, subconsciousness, and unconsciousness. Where timeline constraints cancel themselves out to naught.
In brief, the iPhone is fraught with the prospect of transcendence. Not a static game-changer for the ages; the dynamic game-enhancer for agelessness…Inc. berult.
[shakes ball] Answer Unclear, Ask Again.
Don’t Bogart that joint, my friend.
I think this is brilliant. I love it.
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