Posted by Andy Jones 02 Oct 2015

Our designer's thoughts on the Apple Pencil

apple pencil design agency

Apple events are a big deal these days, spawning endless amounts of words picking over every last detail and what every little announcement could mean for the future of the industry. In other words, I’m going to try and keep this short.

At their latest annual meeting, Apple unveiled a bunch of new tech, including updates to the Apple Watch, the now traditional upgrade to the current iPhone, the 6S and 6S Plus, and a new extra-large, iPad Pro. So far, so Apple. What really got people in the design world talking though was the Apple Pencil.

Essentially a super-smart stylus, the Apple Pencil is promising an awful lot for designers and professional illustrators. For a start, the pencil reacts to pressure (allowing for easier shading whilst drawing) and even works alongside your fingers, and Apple has already announced a full creative suite of apps to take advantage of this potential market.

The Apple Pencil also lets you annotate documents and make easy highlights and corrections, but people who use it solely for that reason are arguably not who Apple has its eye on when pushing the $99 peripheral.

When discussing the very first iPhone, Steve Jobs famously said; “Nobody wants a stylus” so it may appear that Tim Cook’s Apple is going against the grain. If you think of how insensitive touch screens were when Jobs announced the first iPhone, and how far they’ve come since, it makes sense that Apple would reevaluate. Besides this isn’t a casual tool, Apple is hoping the pencil will help them compete with industry standard tools like the Wacom tablet and Microsoft’s Surface Pro range.

A full suite of creative apps and nifty features like the pressure sensitivity will likely be appealing to budding designers with a fondness for easily synced Apple products but it’s hard to see seasoned pros leaving behind their Wacom just yet, it’s a time proven companion to doodlers everywhere, but there is a market for the Apple Pencil amongst the professionals, and that’s as a portable sketch book.

The fact that the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil area both totally portable and self contained means that anyone wanting to break free of the office and all the cables can take their Pro anywhere they want, safe in the knowledge that anything they sketch is already digital and available on other devices.