Apple co-founder Steve Jobs hated the very concept of a stylus. When introducing the iPhone in 2007, he famously declared the human finger far superior to a plastic pen. “Nobody wants a stylus,” he told the crowd at the event. “We’re going to use a pointing device we’re all born with—born with ten of them.”
But Jobs’ successors at Apple might think a stylus isn’t such a bad thing: According to the latest rumors percolating around the Web, the company is considering a stylus to accompany its (also rumored) 12.9-inch iPad Pro, which could make its debut later this year. Those rumors stem from a report by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has dug into a number of Apple patents for a stylus-like device.
“Given that it’s more precise than a person’s fingers, a stylus can be more convenient to use than the combination of keyboard and mouse in some cases,” Kuo wrote, according to the blog Apple Insider. “Therefore, we believe Apple’s stylus will improve the user experience of 12.9-inch iPad.”
But is it the right time for any company to release an oversized tablet? In December, Boy Genius Report suggested that Apple is killing the tablet market. To support that conclusion, the blog pointed to recent data from analytics firm Flurry, which suggested that the burgeoning interest in “phablets” (i.e., oversized phones) had reduced consumer appetite for purchasing a tablet. “This seems to imply that nearly all the sales gains that Apple’s new, large iPhones have made were stripped from the hide of the tablet market,” BGR writer Tero Kuittinen concluded. “Consumers happy with compact smartphones are not switching to larger iPhones for now, but former tablet buyers are.”
A stylus could help photographers, graphic designers, and others who spend their days fine-tuning visuals, rendering it more of a pro tool than a consumer device. If Apple decides to release one, that is.