iPad Is pen input important?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by rowspaxe, Aug 28, 2014.

  1. rowspaxe macrumors 68000

    rowspaxe

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    #1
    Question: is pen important, and if so, to about how much of the market. In the last few months there have been several threads about the surface and its pen function. Many of the respondents have cited pen input as a niche feature of no particular consequence. Yet there is significant market for ipad stylus's
    and almost all pc manufacturers provide a pen version of at least one of there hybrids or tablets. Also samsung has been very sucessful with pen models--although argueably not because of their pen function.

    I find the situation hard to assess. My intuition is that 1/4 to 1/3 of the market--including students, designers, engineers, sales, etc--could value a useable pen input. My other thought is that pen technology--although pretty good--might improve significantly over the next 5 years. Thoughts?
     
  2. Newtons Apple macrumors P6

    Newtons Apple

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    #2
    If pen input is a must for you, the Surface and some other tablets are a better choice.
     
  3. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    #3
    The pen technology doesn't need to be improved, it just needs to be intergrated.

    Obviously if you don't need it, you don't want it, and that's perfectly okay. What isn't okay is to question it, because people are basically telling us at this point to throw out the iPad, with the hundreds of dollars invested in both hardware and apps, and reinvest into new hardware and software.

    Without really understanding that we all love the iPad, we love Paper, we love Procreate, we love Sketchbook Pro/Ink, and all the other stuff that we get on the iPad. We've invested into all those choices, we're using them in our workflows, and no matter how much better it might be on Windows 8 or Android, we don't want to start over again.

    Adding pen support doesn't hurt anybody, and telling us to switch to Windows is a major insult to those of us who are Mac users for the very reason that Windows doesn't work for us. OS X has handwriting recognition enabled when you hook up a Wacom to it, or stick a touchscreen on it, why can't the iPad?
     
  4. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

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    #4
    This.

    Not to mention that by going from iOS to Windows one loses the rich touch-optimized apps made for iOS. Coupling an active stylus with the apps that already exist, would be pretty sweet, and having apps that exploit it would be even better.
     
  5. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

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    #5
    I don't think the percentages are anywhere near that large. The topic does not come up here all that often, and my sense is that the number of people who either do precision drawing, or feel the need for a tool more precise than a fingertip, is fairly small. The number whose work or play might take advantage of the unique capabilities of tablet-plus-stylus (as opposed to functioning as a simple analogue of pen-and-ink) is also, most likely, pretty small. It also appears well down on the list of Surface features when people discuss that device's advantages/disadvantages (current TV commercial notwithstanding).

    I think it's little different than the situation in PC computing - the use of stylus-input devices is a small percentage of all users. Between mice and track pads, and software adapted to those tools, the vast majority of users have what they need.

    There are those who need (or expect) computing devices to be direct replacements for paper and pen, but for the most part, the capabilities of any platform defines its use as an expressive medium. Most usage will flow in the direction of whatever makes the medium unique, rather than swim upstream.
     
  6. rowspaxe thread starter macrumors 68000

    rowspaxe

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    #6
    I read an interview where some one at ntrig said that apple has a fully developed pen solution. I dont know how to check that--but apple does have a number of pen patents. Since historically mac acceptance was tied to art and design markets--i am surprised apple has ignored this.

    ----------

    digital music and digital sculpting have replaced their traditional countereparts more or less directly. But sketching, math work and and documement markup--not so much. Thats a good thing?
     
  7. charlituna macrumors G3

    charlituna

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    #7
    I would say that it is potentially useful to many, vital to even fewer. And of that smaller group the number that simply must have a native pen with an active digitizer that has a million levels of pressure sensitivity is but a tiny group. For the vast majority of those that would find a pen useful the current ones are fine. Great even. Perhaps all they might need is for the iPad itself to be able to support a smaller contact area so that handwriting actually looks more like handwriting.
     
  8. neutrino23 macrumors 68000

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    #8
    Exactly. Currently note taking on the iPad is like drawing on a white board. It would be nice to more closely duplicate the experience of writing on paper with a nice mechanical pencil.

    The bottleneck is the digitizer on the screen.
     
  9. mrex macrumors 68020

    mrex

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    #9
    Yes. With money you pay for iPad it should have digitizer. But then profits wouldnt be same ;)
     
  10. Newtons Apple macrumors P6

    Newtons Apple

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    #10
    What?

    The ipad was designed for FINGER INPUT!

    It was never intended to be a pen based system.

    Corp profit pays for your paycheck unless you are an entitlement person.
     
  11. thelookingglass macrumors 68000

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    #11
    That's just short sighted and you sound like you're echoing Steve Jobs. There's absolutely no reason why the iPad can't incorporate more robust pen support. What's better - signing documents and creating sketches with a pen or your finger? Clearly the pen. It's not a matter of what's the better solution, just a matter of whether apple wants to dedicate the resources to implementing the solution.
     
  12. chabig macrumors 68040

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    #12
    There is a very good reason...one UI per device. On iOS, we have a finger based UI. For a pen you would design a different UI. Putting two different UIs on a single device is trouble--look at Surface sales and Windows 8 hate to see how bad it is.
     
  13. rowspaxe thread starter macrumors 68000

    rowspaxe

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    #13
    No one is talking a pen interface--at least since the 90's. The issue here is about a active digitizing pen for drawing and note taking--similar to wacom and ntrig solutions used with touch ui's on windows and samsung.
     
  14. chabig macrumors 68040

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    #14
    I guess I don't understand your thread, then. Why use a pen if you don't have a pen interface? What is the difference between a pen and a stylus? There are plenty of styli available already.
     
  15. rowspaxe thread starter macrumors 68000

    rowspaxe

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    #15
    a pen interface implies that the pen will be used for navigation--instead of touch. a pen digitizer is a feature so the in addition to touch ui, you can draw accurately on the screen, usually with palm rejection and pressure sensitivity.
     
  16. Newtons Apple macrumors P6

    Newtons Apple

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    #16
    Thanks for the honor of saying I sounded like Steve!

    Sure you can make a pen work on the iPad but it will NEVER be as good as tablet designed to use a pen! You both need to get out and try a Surface 3 Pro.
     
  17. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

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    #17
    That sounds more like one's limitation in thought and design than in an actual limitation.


    Been there, done that, found it unsatisfying.
     
  18. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

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    #18
    While that would be a nice feature to have, wouldn't it add to the cost of the iPad? Obviously, it's not a must-have feature for the many who have already bought an iPad. For many, it's a "nice to have but can live without if not there" feature, and for users like myself, it's a "sounds good in theory but would rarely use" feature. So it's something I think Apple will probably add one day in the future, when the digitizer can be included without adding to the cost of the iPad, including price, weight, battery life, etc. But I can see why it's not a top priority for them to add this feature.
     
  19. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

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    #19
    How would math or document markup be affected by this? If a fingertip is not good enough for someone using math apps (which convert freehand equations into printed form, and even calculate the results), or whiteboard/PDF mark-up apps, styli already exist. Pressure sensitivity is meaningless for those users, greater resolution/precision not likely to be necessary, either. That just leaves sketchers on your list of neglected fields.

    The only way to duplicate the sweeping arm movements possible on a 18" x 24" artist's pad is on an 18" x 24" tablet. If there's a way to modify the texture of a tablet to simulate the feel of quill pen on parchment, I haven't heard of it. But then, the same can be said for bow on violin string, or fingers in clay. The computer does not simulate traditional tools, but it can simulate what those tools produce.

    If, on September 9, Apple announced that the next generation of iPads would accept Wacom-quality stylus input, nothing about my preceding statements would change. Those who want/need a "smart" Wacom tablet will be happy. The vast majority of those who do not need the added precision and pressure sensitivity will likely use their fingertips, as always.
     
  20. Carlanga macrumors 604

    Carlanga

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    #20
    I disagree the current pens are horrible for taking notes quickly. I have owned many and even my current one (a Jot) is very meh. If the vanilla surface had the same screen as the Pro and came w a pen,, it would be a day one buy for me, but the surface pro is just too expensive atm.
     
  21. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    #21
    BTW - My Wacom Intuos has both pen input and multitouch gestures. I use it as my trackpad on my Mac for that reason.

    It knows the difference between a finger and the pen.
     
  22. rowspaxe thread starter macrumors 68000

    rowspaxe

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    #22
    1) existing pens and stylus's on the ipad are far inferior to wacom and ntrig.
    And entering equations with your finger--thats a bit of a reach!

    2) i draw and write all day on tablets-- many are excellent. I have no problem drawing or writing on glass. I dont need 18 x 24 paper to work--many designers and artists work letter size.

    3) if apple added pen functionality i think the ipad might recaputure some momentum--especially if it was a state of the art implementation. Its an "ipad" after all

    ----------

    I think the most important development issues in pen tech involve patent law!
     
  23. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

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    #23
  24. rowspaxe thread starter macrumors 68000

    rowspaxe

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    #24
  25. theluggage macrumors 68030

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    #25
    The styli you can get for the iPad are little more than conductive plastic fingers - not very precise and if you let your hand brush or rest on the screen the iPad tries to interpret it as a multi-touch gesture and everything gets messed up.

    The proper active styli that come with (e.g.) the Samsung note series are far more effective: much more precise, and the tablet can also distinguish between a finger touch and a pen touch and will reject spurious 'touches' if your hand brushes the screen while writing.

    (The pen input on the Samsung is really let down by the lack of decent software support - the s-note app demos handwriting recognition, equation entry, sketching with shape recognition, but won't save it as anything other than a bitmap).

    ...its still nicer than finger painting or trying to draw freehand with a mouse.

    If Apple really are, as rumored, going to release a 12" tablet, that would be an ideal candidate for "proper" pen input. 12" only makes sense if Apple are going for new markets beyond the traditional web browsing, media playing, email and casual gaming users.
     

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