A Stylus? Why Apple Is Defying Steve Jobs

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One of the Apple announcements getting a lot of attention is the company’s $99 stylus—called the Apple Pencil—for the iPad Pro. As Apple watchers were quick to point out, Steve Jobs himself hated the idea. “Who wants a stylus?“ he asked in 2007. “You have to get em’, put em’ away. You lose them. Yuck.“ And in 2010, he said, “If you see a stylus, they blew it.“ ABC rounds up some of the immediate, snarky reactions, like this. A Gizmodo blogger sees the development as a sign that Tim Cook and his team “feel confident enough in their own leadership to ignore the now very infamous words of Jobs.“ More importantly, it looks like a good product, one that’s a “necessity if Apple wants to compete for the business of design and engineering professionals who need a stylus to do their jobs on a tablet.“

And at the Verge, a blogger notes that it’s a much different world now than when Jobs first condemned the stylus. “What’s missing from the reactions is the obvious acknowledgment that Jobs was not only talking about using a stylus with an entirely different product—the 3.5-inch iPhone 1—but he was referring to both styluses and screens that have been blown out of the water by newer technology.“ For one thing, the iPad Pro has a nearly 13-inch screen. Competitors such as Microsoft and Samsung already have similar technology on the market, and Cook is showing that he’s OK playing catch-up when he thinks the time is right. Still, it’s a notable shift. As Fast Company declares in its headline about the Apple Pencil, “The Steve Jobs Era Is Over.“

Apple Phone, Tablet and TV Fail To BE Impressive

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Apple Inc (AAPL.O) unveiled a new TV set top box that responds to voice commands and fresh iPhones that sense the pressure of a finger tap, changes which underwhelmed many social media commenters and investors.

The new 6S and 6S Plus versions of the iPhone, Apple’s biggest money maker, are the same size as the previous versions but come with a better camera, faster chips, new colors and the force-sensitive “3D Touch”.

Speaking before thousands of analysts, journalists and frequently cheering Apple employees, Chief Executive Tim Cook also brought on stage an executive from onetime archrival Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) to illustrate the business-friendly credentials of a big new iPad, the Pro.

Apple shares fell 1.9 percent to $110.15 by the close, replicating the recent history of such rollouts but also reflecting the lack of any transformative products that could jumpstart the company’s sales ahead of the crucial holiday season.

Apple shares have lost an average of 0.4 percent on the day of iPhone announcements over the past three years, according to BTIG Research data.

“People love to hate Apple announcements because the expectations are so high and they can never clear that bar,“ said Kevin Landis, portfolio manager of the $111 million Firsthand Technology Opportunities fund, which has Apple as its second-largest position.

Twitter users seemed most impressed by the revamped Apple TV. The product, which the company long called a ‘hobby’ gets its own app store and will work with Siri, Apple’s digital assistant.

Fewer celebrated the iPad, which some saw as too big and similar to Microsoft’s Surface tablet, and new iPhones, which are outwardly identical to the enlarged smartphones which made their debut about a year ago.

“3D Touch not good enough reason to upgrade so far,” Ikechukwu Nwanze wrote of the new phones, which start at $199 with a two-year contract.

Apple TV demonstrations showed tricks to make viewing easier: digital assistant Siri, which is behind the voice control, can rewind a video for 15 seconds and turn on subtitles, when a viewer asks something like “What did she say”?

“We’ve been working really hard, and really long,“ on TV, Cook said, emphasizing the word ‘long’ in a nod to the time it has taken the company to produce an ambitious TV product.

The new set-top box will include an app store and let developers create new software for Apple TV, including video games.

“I’m all about this new #AppleTV. Shut up and take my money,” wrote Twitter user Ethan Anderton. Others joked that they would have to buy a TV for the first time to use the Siri remote and app store.

Absent from the new TV interface was any agreement for new content despite Apple’s efforts to negotiate deals with a wider array of TV networks to provide live or on-demand content.


Many of Apple’s new features are based on technology that has been around for some time, but never caught on. Apple has a long history of creating successes where others could not.

Years ago a Blackberry featured force-sensing touch. The new iPad has an optional $99 stylus, called the “Pencil”, which amused many on social media: in 2007 Apple then-CEO Steve Jobs told a tech conference, “Yech, nobody wants a stylus.“

Apple is coming from behind in the streaming media market. Nearly 20 percent of U.S. broadband households already own at least one media player that streams content from the Internet, according to research firm Parks Associates.

Roku accounts for more than a third of all streaming devices sold in the United States in 2014, followed by Google Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Chromecast and Inc’s (AMZN.O) Fire TV, Parks said. The Apple TV box came in fourth.

Landis said that while he liked the updated TV product “the numbers are so small that they won’t move the needle because the iPhone is such a big business now.”


Cook began the morning by talking up the Apple Watch, saying customer satisfaction for the recently launched product was 97 percent and that a new version of its operating system would be ready by mid-September. Apple is working with French luxury goods maker Hermes (HRMS.PA) on a new watch collection, and Facebook (FB.O) Messenger is coming to the device, he added.

He then rolled out the “iPad Pro” with a 12.9 inch screen and said it had performance similar to a desktop computer. Apple showed off a “smart” keyboard as well as the “Pencil”.

Dave Meier, who works on several portfolios at Motley Fool Funds, said that the addition of a stylus and keyboard to the iPad Pro, which starts at $799, could lead to a “refresh cycle” that would lift incremental sales.

He was “impressed with the gumption” to bring Microsoft executives to demonstrate Office products on the new iPad, he said. “This says that the Surface might be dead and Microsoft understands that they are very good at productivity but not at hardware,” he said.

The new phones come a year after Apple rolled out iPhones with larger screens, touching off a frenzy of sales that saw revenue in the most recent quarter increase 32.5 percent from the same quarter a year ago.

“It’s getting harder and harder for Apple to compete against itself,“ said analyst Bob O’Donnell of TECHnalysis Research. Apple shares are up about 12 percent over the last year, although they are down about 14 percent in the last three months.

Fortunately for Apple, most consumers buy smartphones under a two-year upgrade cycle, meaning the company will still likely scoop up a lot of sales, said analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy.

“The key point of reference is not how the new phone compares to the iPhone 6, it’s how it compares to the iPhone 5s,“ he said.

Apple’s New Spaceship Campus

Apple’s spaceship campus is coming along nicely from the looks of it.

A drone was recently flown over the company’s new Cupertino headquarters, which is still currently under construction. From the aerial footage you see just how grand the structure will really be.

The building, which is a whopping 2.8 million square feet, will house more than 12,000 employees.

It will also feature an additional 300,000 square feet for its R&D facilities and a 120,000 square foot auditorium, which is not attached to the main building, that seats 1,000 people.

Steve Jobs compared the futuristic-looking building, called Apple Campus 2, to a spaceship when he presented the plans for it during a Cupertino City Council meeting in June 2011. The main building is shaped like a ring and features a spacious garden in the center. It’s also a “net-zero energy” building and has 700,000 square feet on solar panels.

iPhone 6S Is Going to Be Unlike Any Other Apple Product

The Gilmer Free Press

Apple’s next iPhone, which we’re expecting to see for the first time next week, will reportedly come with the company’s pressure-sensitive Force Touch technology embedded in its screen.

Over the past several weeks, reports from industry watchers and analysts have suggested that this will be the same technology we’ve seen in the Apple Watch and Apple’s new MacBooks. 

Now, however, a new report from 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman suggests that the technology going into the iPhone 6S is going to be significantly different.

It may be so different, in fact, that Apple may not even call it Force Touch.

Gurman writes (emphasis is our own): 

Sources say that Force Touch on the iPhone is only akin to the MacBook and Apple Watch in name, as the functionality is much more advanced. With that in mind, sources say Apple will likely call the Force Touch technology on the new iPhones by another name ... According to sources, the new phones will be able to determine the difference between a tap, a standard press, and a deep press, adding a third level of sensitivity over the Apple Watch screen and MacBook trackpad.

It’s not too surprising to hear that Apple may be changing how Force Touch works for its new iPhone. On the Apple Watch, Force Touch is essentially used as an extra button in some circumstances, since its screen is so small.

On the iPhone 6S, however, it’s expected to be used more as a means of executing shortcuts across iOS. Since they’re likely going to be used for different purposes, it seems plausible that the technology would need to work differently. 

Although Force Touch for the iPhone hasn’t been announced yet, some app makers are already thinking about how they could improve their apps to take advantage of the new feature. Sketching and photography apps such as Astropad and Litely are bound to incorporate Force Touch into their apps, since the pressure sensitivity could be ideal for editing images.

“We really want to take advantage of the variations in pressure,“ Matt Ronge, creator of the app Astropad, previously told Business Insider when asked about Force Touch on the iPhone.

We’re expecting to learn about Apple’s next iPhone at its event on September 09.

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