Stylus and the pen

In the world of Apple apologists (and I don’t use this term lightly) Steve Jobs’ quote about having a stylus is the end to every argument. The debate around having a stylus, today, is misguided. There’s a fundamental difference between a stylus and a pen, one that these Apple apologists prefer to ignore or understand.

The Stylus was introduced in an era when computers were pointer-based interfaces, not finger touch based. The Stylus was used as a substitute to a mouse. The Stylus also doubled as a pen simply due to its form factor. The purpose of the stylus has to be understood and that of a pen needs to be considered. The stylus acted as a pen and that does not mean in the age of the multi-touch finger based tablets, the pen is irrelevant. Or that the need for a pen has been eliminated. The need for a stylus as a UX element has been eliminated. The pen is still an integral part of our lives.

The Apple apologists need to understand that the purpose of a pen is quite different to a stylus. You can sign your Intuit payments with your finger but taking notes is not intuitively a finger-task.

 
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