Jony Ive on Apple Pencil: A 'Natural' and 'Familiar' Extension of Traditional Drawing Tools

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Alongside today's launch of the iPad Pro and its Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard accessories, Apple design chief Jony Ive shared his thoughts on the new stylus accessory with The Telegraph.

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Addressing the device's strong resemblance to an actual pencil, Ive stresses that a familiar and natural feel is key to the user experience.

“We hoped if you are used to spending a lot of time using paintbrushes, pencils and pens, this will feel like a more natural extension of that experience - that it will feel familiar,” he says, carefully. “To achieve that degree of very simple, natural behaviour, was a significant technological challenge.”

Ive notes how that natural feel increases with usage to the point where the user forgets they are using a piece of technology and is able to simply focus on the task at hand. As an example, he points to his design team, which has experimented with tools other than traditional sketchbooks over the years but is finally finding the iPad Pro with Apple Pencil a natural combination.

“Many of us in the design team have worked together for 20 plus years. We’ve always drawn in our sketchbooks, and for the first time - despite flirting with some alternatives a couple of years ago - I’m seeing people starting to use the iPad and Apple Pencil. Our personal experience has been that there are definitely affordances and opportunities now that you have a much more natural and intuitive environment to make marks, there are clearly things you can do sketching and writing on the iPad which you could never dream of doing in the analogue world."

The Apple Pencil is a $99 accessory sold alongside the iPad Pro, although early customers may need to wait a bit to get their hands on one. While the iPad Pro is in some cases available for in-store pickup as early as today, the earliest Apple Pencil orders are taking a few days longer to start shipping out and shipping estimates for new orders have quickly slipped to 3-4 weeks.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro

Top Rated Comments

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65 months ago
Yeah... No Tim, it's just a stylus.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
65 months ago
"We sat in a room and thought, 'How can we come up with something new that no one has ever thought of that makes drawing easy?' and contemplated the drawing experience. We then explored the multitude of ways that people use to communicate both ambidextrously and unidextrously? This was a complex problem to solve, yet it needed to be. As I was walking through London, I came upon some children of different cultures and they had one thing in common. They were using a device found on the grounds to draw in the dirt, and then it hit me. We will use a stick, that has drawing capabilities that can fit in your pocket. We call it, 'Apple Pencil'"

(Yeah, you read that in Jony Ive's voice... ;)
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
65 months ago
I wish they would make it compatible with other iPad versions. They would sell it a gazillion times.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
65 months ago

After all, it's called an Apple Pencil and pencils usually have an eraser at the back for the sake of convenience.


Real pencils have erasers on the back, because that is what is convenient for an actual, real pencil. But actual Pencils also have the relative disadvantage that the graphite point can't magically turn into rubber.

Hello, Tim.


Not at all. You just seem fixated on a 19th century technology-bound methodology.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
65 months ago

I can see it now - Apple Pencil 2 with "Digital Eraser"

Pencil 2 with Magic Apple Eraser.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
65 months ago

I wish they would make it compatible with other iPad versions. They would sell it a gazillion times.

I understand that they had to change the touch sensing matrix on the screen for the Pro to be way more accurate than on the iPad Air2. My guess is that the next iPad Air will add the ability to work with the pencil.

Yeah... No Tim, it's just a stylus.

I have not tried the Pencil yet so it is hard to give a judgement (I think the same is true for you). I have used styluses before, but I quickly found myself just going back to the finger. We shall see if the Pencil is the same thing that provides no additional benefit. OR, as has been stated in all the reviews, it really is something different that works better than a stylus.

In anycase, I am glad that it is only an add on for those that need/want such a thing. I am not an artist and I do not see myself needing such a device. I am happy with what my finger is capable of -- especially if you pull my finger. :p:D
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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