Rumors abound regarding whether Apple will be releasing a stylus for its latest iPad. Some herald it as a good idea, while others even doubt it will happen since Steve Jobs hated the idea of the stylus. Will Apple release a new tool for its tablet and will it be a flop or a huge success?
The rumor regarding an Apple stylus originated from KGI Securities, Ming Chi Kuo, responsible for many stories about possible future Apple products. Usually this announcement is based on insider information; however, that may not be true in this case.
Apple has filed 32 different patents for possible stylus designs, and ten of those patents were filed in 2014. Ten patents in one year started the rumor mill, and the story caught fire like the latest Hunger Games movie.
Perhaps the rumors have persisted because so many Apple users want to see styluses for the iPad. Many other famous tablets have styluses, such as the Galaxy Note and the Surface Pro. And you can’t deny that a stylus can be useful. It helps users create notes, edits and even draw beautiful art on their touch sensitive tablets, phablets and smartphones.
Is Apple gaining competitive advantage by insisting on being stylus free or are they losing a potential market share? While the debate rages on, supporters of the idea that Apple should never have a stylus go back to the idea that Steve Jobs hated them.
Steve Jobs is quoted as saying that any company that creates a stylus is touting death. However, that isn’t entirely true. What Jobs was talking about was that smartphones do not need styluses. He wasn’t against styluses in general or using them for specific devices. His point may have been proven in 1998 when Apple released a stylus with its PDA. That device failed in the market, although whether or not that was due to the stylus isn’t certain.
Steve Jobs isn’t the only person to hold disdain for styluses. In fact, it has become a swear word in the mobile computing industry. That is because of the association many people have when they think of this naughty word. PDA’s and early phones that had styluses had clunky, awkward pen-shaped pieces of plastic. Even today, many versions of the st**us are simplistic and can be more aggravating than useful.
Instead, designs for a device that can be more intuitive, smart and beneficial have become popular in the industry. The new term for this tablet, phablet and smart phone companion is a pen. Microsoft, Samsung, and LG have already created versions of this device, such as for the Galaxy Note series. With Galaxy note, the pen combines the functions of a mouse and a writing implement in order to help users convert handwriting to text, draw, highlight, and search information.
The patents Apple has submitted up to this point do seem to be attempting to update and redesign the basic features of a tablet companion tool. Maybe they are trying to honor Steve Jobs and offer the public a useful tool at the same time.
Apple’s tablet companion
If Apple was to release a stylus or a pen as a companion to its iPad, Kuo predicts that the company could see 2.5 million sales by the end of this year with a product launch in the second quarter of 2015. It could fill a niche, or it could increase the cost of an already expensive tablet. Many Apple users will wait to see if this prediction will bear fruit. Do you think a stylus would help or hurt iPad sales?