Quick Takes: Apple Pencil 2 Wishlist, Apple's R&D Spending is Surging

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In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest Apple news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays.

Friday, March 16

Highlights

1. Apple Pencil 2 wishlist: iMore's Serenity Caldwell offers some good suggestions for a next-generation Apple Pencil, including integration of Apple's W1 or W2 chips for improved pairing, haptic feedback, wireless charging, and multiple nib options both for improved friction and design.


Commentary: Apple today invited the media to an education-focused event on March 27 at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago. The artwork for the invite suggests the Apple Pencil could be one focus of the event, with the possibility of both a new version and support added for the 9.7-inch iPad.

2. An Apple R&D bonanza: Above Avalon's Neil Cybart notes that Apple is on track to spend $14 billion on research and development in its 2018 fiscal year, nearly double the amount it spent on R&D just four years ago. $14 billion would also be more than the amount Apple spent on R&D from 1998 to 2011 combined.
My theory on the dramatic rise in Apple R&D expenditures is that management is becoming more ambitious. Apple's future is found in new industries. Just as Apple moved from desktops/laptops to personal music players, smartphones, and watches, the company will need to enter new industries to remain relevant. This is not a company that is holding onto the iPhone as tight as possible for fear of change. Apple management is investigating new ideas and processes in order to support future moves into new industries.
Commentary: Apple's dramatic increase in R&D spending likely signals the company's interest in a number of new areas. Cybart believes that two new items on Apple's roadmap that are driving the recent surge in expenditures include augmented reality glasses and a Netflix-like streaming video service.

3. French cosmetics company L'Oréal acquires ModiFace, a Toronto-based startup that developed augmented reality innovations allowing customers to try on cosmetics using its mobile apps or in-store smart mirrors.


Commentary: ModiFace has iPhone and iPad apps for simulating new photo-realistic hair colors, eye colors, cosmetics, teeth whitening, and more. Ahead of the public release of iOS 11, the company also shared an ARKit demo showcasing a lipstick previewer and virtual beauty gallery in a cosmetics store.

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Article Link: Quick Takes: Apple Pencil 2 Wishlist, Apple's R&D Spending is Surging
 

Bigsk8r

macrumors 6502
Nov 28, 2011
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R & D Bonanza...

Maybe the analysts should consider that Apple building a brand new, massive campus with an all new R & D facility as well as engineering labs in various departments might be getting tagged under "R & D" and not "Campus Construction".

I know what my company has been contracted to do, and it's a small piece of all they need to do and test. It would not surprise me at all to find that everything installed in the Tanau facility, as well as throughout the campus for engineering, cost multiple billion dollars.
 
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volfreak

macrumors member
Jan 4, 2002
89
21
Knoxville, TN
My R&D wishlist would be to do something about health records to where we don't have to fill out the same paper every time we go to the dr, the dentist, the whatever. Provide a way to secure my medical information and take it with me. Have it on my phone. So, when I go to the dr, dentist, etc. I provide them access to my records and they can update their records with mine. When I'm done, I have my updates provided to me. Develop a common interface for all these disparate systems; create a standard.
 

jmoore5196

macrumors 6502a
May 19, 2009
771
263
Midwest US
If those Apple Pencil 2 improvement items are from Serenity Caldwell's wish list, then I want them too.

I'm not sure how this young lady became the arbiter of all things tech, or why.

I merely recognize the fact and take my cues from her.
 

CWallace

macrumors 604
Aug 17, 2007
7,813
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Maybe the analysts should consider that Apple building a brand new, massive campus with an all new R & D facility as well as engineering labs in various departments might be getting tagged under "R & D" and not "Campus Construction".
Real estate construction costs related to general corporate usage cannot be categorized as R&D expense, so Apple Park's cost would not be part of this spend.
 
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BMcCoy

macrumors 68000
Jun 24, 2010
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My R&D wishlist would be to do something about health records to where we don't have to fill out the same paper every time we go to the dr, the dentist, the whatever. Provide a way to secure my medical information and take it with me. Have it on my phone. So, when I go to the dr, dentist, etc. I provide them access to my records and they can update their records with mine. When I'm done, I have my updates provided to me. Develop a common interface for all these disparate systems; create a standard.
Interoperability.

Yup, it’s a goal... a dream...
 
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TheRealTVGuy

macrumors 6502a
Jul 21, 2010
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" ...the company will need to enter new industries to remain relevant."

You mean relevant to investors looking for big returns and a high performing stock. Not necessarily the same thing as a company that provides the best and most integrated hardware/software experience or insanely great products. :rolleyes:
 

nt5672

macrumors 68020
Jun 30, 2007
2,075
4,470
Just not seeing the benefit. I actually think that if they laid off half the R& D staff, then assigned the rest to bug fixes, we might actually see some value. The way it is I'm tired of smaller and thinner, resulting in lack of performance and battery life.
 

CWallace

macrumors 604
Aug 17, 2007
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I wonder if any of that R&D money is being spent on a new line-up of headless desktop computers?
It would depend on how Apple classifies those expenses. For spec bumps like we saw in 2017 to the iMac, MacBook and MacBook Pro those costs might have been accounted for as capital expenditures.

Since it's pretty sure that the new Mac Pro will look nothing like the current Mac Pro, the monies spent developing and designing it might very well be classified as an R&D expense. Same if the Mac Mini sees a significant design change and perhaps the rumored new MacBook Air if that too sees many changes.
 

Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
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Think Apple Pencil has the most potential being an accessory to the iPad with improvements. I think haptic feedback would be a great idea as long as it doesn’t affect the battery life greatly. Even with the first generation Apple Pencil, it’s fairly impressive for what it is and how it interacts with the iPad with sketching and drawing.
 

Bigsk8r

macrumors 6502
Nov 28, 2011
339
584
Austin, Texas
Real estate construction costs related to general corporate usage cannot be categorized as R&D expense, so Apple Park's cost would not be part of this spend.
Incorrect. Or at least, inaccurate...

The nature of Apple's products require RF shielding to test them independently of other devices and in such a way as to prevent the product being tested to interfere with other items or be interfered with. These shielded rooms are free standing within the campus buildings and cost anywhere from as much as a small car, to as much as a luxury home. With some costing more than a Bay Area luxury home.

Apple has over 60 of them. New in the past 2 years. They are likely not in a real estate or construction budget.
 

subjonas

macrumors 68030
Feb 10, 2014
2,726
2,466
I agree with some of her Apple Pencil wishlist items: different nib options (for more friction), capacitive cap (not necessarily for an eraser, just general touch because the normal pencil tip can’t do things like bring down Notification Center and when drawing I prefer not to touch the screen because the skin oils make the screen slippery for the pencil), and maybe W chip though I don’t find pairing to be a problem.

Where I disagree is I would like a side button on the pencil (not too low so as to be pressed accidentally) to toggle between pencil and eraser, or possibly for undo, or for immediate access to menus. The reason is it’s quicker than gestures and as I mentioned above I want to avoid touching the screen when I’m drawing as much as possible because of the oils.

The haptic engine is an interesting idea but seems too difficult to implement well. And I’m not sure how much value it would add if it’s not actually providing the drag that it’s simulating. I think a higher friction nib is the only way to actually help that on the pencil.

Some sort of wireless charging would be nice. I’d like be able to throw the pencil in a “pencil cup” and have it charge.

But for quick charging it needs to attach to the iPad via lightning. But I hate having it stick out so precariously. I’ve had the iPP for two years and I’m no less worried something is going to knock the pencil, damaging it and the iPad, as the first time I charged it. If a safer way to quick charge can’t be designed into the pencil, then I’ll settle for an adapter to let it attach parallel to the iPad edge. I prefer it doesn’t dangle by a cable.

The most aggravating issue of all though is that I can’t keep the pencil charged. I keep it in my bag which I carry around every day so I’m always losing power even though I’m not using it. This means almost every time I use it I have to charge it first. This is a horrible UX and a serious killer on work flow. It desperately needs some kind of simple on/off switch.
 
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CWallace

macrumors 604
Aug 17, 2007
7,813
4,024
Seattle, WA
Incorrect. Or at least, inaccurate...

The nature of Apple's products require RF shielding to test them independently of other devices and in such a way as to prevent the product being tested to interfere with other items or be interfered with. These shielded rooms are free standing within the campus buildings and cost anywhere from as much as a small car, to as much as a luxury home. With some costing more than a Bay Area luxury home.

Apple has over 60 of them. New in the past 2 years. They are likely not in a real estate or construction budget.
It would depend on what they were purchased or built for. Apple can only classify real estate as R&D if there is uncertainty about the future commercial viability of whatever is being developed in them.

So the buildings they bought for Project Titan (their car program) would have been R&D expenses. And real estate purchased to develop new product categories with uncertain future commercial viability (like AR/VR glasses or an actual Apple OLED / LCD Television) could be classified as R&D.
 

DotCom2

macrumors 601
Feb 22, 2009
4,446
2,843
I told ya! Charging matte will be released and with it, wireless charging Apple Pencil!
It charges so FAST now by just using the lightening connector though. Just like the AirPods. Why bother with a charging mat?
 
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