According to respected — and generally reliable — analyst Ming Chi-Kuo from KGI Securities, Apple’s long-awaited 12.9-inch iPad Pro will feature Force Touch stylus support. He expects the tablet to go in to production between September and October and that the stylus will be able to take advantage of the new iPad’s Force Touch-enabled screen. It’s being touted as a feature which could help users more easily navigate the larger display of the iPad Pro.
With Force Touch being introduced in the Apple Watch, and adopted across the most recent MacBook lineups, it’s a safe bet to assume (as KGI does) that it’ll eventually be incorporated in to most of the company’s devices. Although it will be more challenging to implement across larger surface areas, like the 12.9-inch screen which we’re expecting to see in the larger iPad. Still, if true, it’ll be interesting to see if, and how, Apple decides to build a complimentary stylus.
Functions that come to mind are features in drawing or note-taking apps where the line being drawn becomes thicker, the harder the stylus is pressed on the screen. Kuo believes this stylus will be made exclusively by Cheng Uei and could also be compatible with other models of iPad, depending on what software it’s running.
With regard to the present technologies, we believe if the Force Touch module for iPad is designed using the same structure that was used in the iPhone, the larger size may result in a poor yield rate. This is why we think a stylus may be necessary to make Force Touch work properly on the 12.9” iPad. We also believe a Force Touch-enabled stylus will enhance productivity as it would offer more precise operation than using only fingers. Technically, we believe the stylus can be made compatible with iPad models other than the 12.9” version, but it depends on the support of software.
KGI’s analyst suggests Apple could sell up to as many as 5.5 million units of the 12.9-inch iPad this year, and below 1 million accompanying styluses.
We estimate new 12.9” iPad shipments from component makers and EMS providers will reach 2.5-3.5mn units and 1.5-2.0mn units this year, respectively. Being an optional accessory, we expect stylus shipments to be below 1.0mn units. However, as it’s a brand new product, and given the market buzz, we expect Force Touch-enabled stylus to serve as a share catalyst for related plays, including the main beneficiary, Cheng Uei, which is the sole assembler of the stylus.