In a Q&A during the keynote address introducing the iPhone OS 4, Steve and friends were asked :
Q: How do you close applications when multitasking?
A: (Scott Forstall) You don’t have to. The user just uses things and doesn’t ever have to worry about it.
A: (Steve Jobs) It’s like we said on the iPad, if you see a stylus, they blew it. In multitasking, if you see a task manager… they blew it. Users shouldn’t ever have to think about it.
I truly feel that Apple is still being haunted by the Newton, which came with a stylus. It had to. The whole idea of handheld computing was just not possible to do correctly with what technology was available then. Touch input wasn’t available and clearly it is the way to go. Now that it is available, it is the way to go- and go we have! We have the iPhone which still feels like a device from the future, even years later. And just days ago- the iPad! It is what Apple pitches it as being and will clearly only get better with the news of iPhone OS 4- multitasking, folders and so on.
What Mr. Jobs is missing, in our humble but very solid opinion, is that adding a stylus as an additional/optional means of data input only enhances the product. It caters to extra needs that many users have. As professional artists, it just isn’t possible for us to go into a job and produce professional quality work with our fingers. What- are we in kindergarten here? No. The iPad itself is capable of delivering professional quality work, especially with an app such as Sketchbook Pro. It’s the means of input that’s lacking.
The iPad for (serious) digital artists- close, but no cigar (stylus). Steve, you need to look a bit beyond your own needs just a bit more and deliver what your customers want.
Now, I don’t own anything made by HTC nor have I ever- but, that could all change should what appears in the illustration below come to see the light. HTC and others including Apple, apparently, are still thinking with the stylus. Looks like finger-only input for capacitive devices might just be getting the finger. The stylus, be it a feather, a stick dragged in the sand or high tech computer input type pen is proving to stand its ground. Maybe it’s just been with man for too long for it to just be forgotten to quickly. Whatever the case, it’s quite clear that companies who make devices with touch capacitive screens are backtracking a bit after seeing the continuing high demand for the option of having pen based data input in addition to just touching with one’s finger.
Anyone who’d want to use a tablet as a notepad while walking or hold it with one hand and write quickly with the other as one does or did with the classic clipboard will agree that typing with just one hand isn’t going to be as natural feeling or productive as would the optional, simple, basic and timeless stylus.
HTC’s design actually looks much better, for my purposes, than does the illustrated stylus submitted by Apple [article below] in that the tip is finer, coming more to a point, giving the user a better view of the area he’s directly working with. the tip looks to have an indicated magnetic(?) quality which reacts with the screen. Should this be the case, there could be a more intuitive user experience in that there is the possibility of having different expressions based on the angle of the pen, and possibly pressure sensitivity? Apple’s design seems to rely on a capacitive disc which rotates or swivels on a ball. This seems to be a bit of a “dinosaur” approach to designing an accessory to a device still so futuristic as the iPhone or the iPad, in my opinion.
These concepts and what they may materialize into will be fun and exciting to follow. Hopefully, with the help of one of these to-be-styluses, I’ll be storyboarding on my iPad in the near future!