Apple’s latest and greatest tablet just launched, and it looks like Apple’s key players are still in iPad Pro marketing mode. CEO Tim Cook has already asked why anyone would buy a PC anymore, and now head designer Sir Jony Ive has extolled the virtues of the Apple Pencil in two U.K. interviews.
Apple design chief Jony Ive explains how he redesigned the Pencil: https://t.co/0z3tlTQ1l2
— TapSmart (@TapSmart) November 18, 2015
Ive says that while technologically the Apple Pencil is great – it can detect pressure as well as the angle and orientation relative to the screen – he wanted it to feel more analog than digital. Hence the name ‘pencil’ rather than ‘stylus’, which he says has too many existing connotations to technology. The minimal white design is purposely neutral to allow it to “take on the identity of a pencil or ink pen or paint brush or charcoal,” while feeling like a “natural extension” of physical tools users are already familiar with.
In reference to a famous Steve Jobs line (“If you see a stylus, they blew it”), Ive stresses the different functions of the Apple Pencil and the finger in iOS: “the Pencil is for making marks, and the finger is a fundamental point of interface for everything within the operating system.” He notes how the stylus is an optional device to enable creatives to work with a level of precision that could never be achieved with the finger – but crucially it’s not used as a general input device.
He also talks about the ease and speed of charging – plug it into the lightning port of the iPad for just fifteen seconds and you can draw for 30 minutes. Nice!
On the one hand, it’s clear that Jony Ive would have nice things to say about the Apple Pencil – he designed the thing, after all! What’s more telling is the fact that many of Apple’s core design team have made the switch to sketching with an iPad Pro, after more than twenty years of pencil and paper. They’ve tried alternative styluses in the past, but the team has deemed all other solutions as a “poor representation of the analog world.” Strong words. Oh, and Pixar think the Pencil is pretty decent too.