Sir Jony Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer, spoke to Wallpaper on 17 November about the 99 dollar stylus accessory of iPad Pro known as the ‘Apple Pencil’. Whilst speaking about how the Apple Pencil was conceived, Jony Ive said that it was originally thought to be “fundamentally important” that a user interface based on a person’s fingers should be developed but over time it was discovered that there were people who would like a device that would offer more precision for actions like drawing, sketching and writing. So, Ive explained, that the development of the Apple Pencil for the iPad Pro was important so that people can have a natural drawing experience.
“So we are very clear in our own minds that this will absolutely not replace the finger as a point of interface. But it is, and I don’t think anybody would argue, a far better tool than your finger when your focus becomes exclusively making marks,” he said. “The traditional pencil could have been replaced by a dish of powdered charcoal, which you dipped your finger into to make marks with. And that didn’t happen.”
Apple had to investigate into how users will use the iPad Pro in their everyday lives and it crammed sensors and rechargeable battery as well as control hardware into the Apple Pencil. Ive also mentioned the low latency of the system which was made possible by a display system that samples the Pencil-to-screen interaction 240/s. When a finger is used in comparison though the iPad Pro collects the data at 120/s, which is half the rate for the Apple Pencil.
He then goes on to talk about the product’s name. “Pencil” was a preferred name as compared to stylus because “Stylus” is a name of a technological product whereas the Pencil is “analogue in its association.”
For the Apple Pencil, Apple does not see it as a finger replacement but as a pencil for making marks. The finger should be used for other interactions as the Apple Pencil is a “far better” way to make marks on the tablet. The Apple Pencil is however very hard to procure with shipping listed as 4-5 weeks after purchase of it and Apple Stores getting random shipments of the much-coveted accessory.