Apple Pencil: The Stylus Steve Jobs Warned Us About

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This afternoon we met the iPad Pro, a giant iPad that’s aimed at professionals. With it comes the Apple Pencil: A stylus that Phil Schiller called “one of the most advanced technologies we’ve ever created.”


First things first, though. This is a direct contradiction to the warning of Steve Jobs, who when he presented the first iPad in 2010 had this to say about stylii: “if you see a stylus, they blew it.” The Apple Pencil isn’t exactly an aluminum middle finger to the advice of Jobs, but it’s definitely a signal that Cook and Co. feel confident enough in their own leadership to ignore the now very infamous words of Jobs.

All the general disdain for the Pencil (which was rumored all the way back in January) aside, it sounds like an interesting device from a hardware perspective. As Ive explained in a video, the pencil has two sensors in the tip that help the screen detect force (without actual Force Touch technology), while also calculating the tilt of your stylus. The screen itself was also re-engineered to interpret the pencil’s touch differently than that of your finger; Ive says that it scans twice as often when the Pencil touches the screen, capturing more points and precision. It’ll charge through a built-in lightning connector that plugs right into the tablet itself.

It’s an interesting, and frankly pretty surprising, addition to Apple’s peripheral corral, and it’ll cost $99 when the iPad Pro goes on sale. It’s also a necessity if Apple wants to compete for the business of design and engineering professionals who need a stylus to do their jobs on a tablet. We’ll have to wait and see how this peripheral will measure up to other third-party stylii.

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I think when Steve Jobs was talking about a stylus, he was probably talking about a stylus as a primary interface device. Not as an artistic tool, which is what this is clearly designed for.