From Fingers to Styluses: Apple’s Backward Thinking May Push the Company Forward

If you see a stylus, they blew it.

Five years after Steve Jobs told the world what he thought about styluses, Tim Cook unveils the Apple Pencil. For a tech company known for its stylus-free devices, the Apple Pencil fails to uphold Steve Job’s belief of how users should interact with touchscreen devices. But not everyone agrees with Steve Jobs; soon after Apple released their touchscreen devices, some touchscreen users want styluses to experience paperless writing and drawing. To meet that demand, companies such as Wacom sell Apple-compatible styluses. In response to the customers’ demands and Wacom’s profiting scheme, Tim Cook directed Apple against Steve Jobs’ belief of not selling styluses.

One of Apple’s toughest competitors is Wacom. Wacom offers device-specific styluses for their tablets—Cintiq and Intuos— and Bamboo styluses that are compatible with Apple’s touchscreen devices. Unlike Apple’s early vision of finger-touch touchscreens, Wacom wanted touchscreen users to “digitally draw, sketch, take notes, capture ideas and more in high comfort and with precise control while . . . keeping [the] screen smudge-free” (Wacom). Each stylus also offers unique pressure-control features for users to copy their scribbles from paper to touchscreen. For those who want to use the Bamboo styluses with their Apple touchscreen devices, Wacom offers a notebook app called Bamboo Paper. Through this app, users can choose from different ink colors, tools, and paper designs.

People are divided between Wacom and Apple’s vision. There are those who want to purchase (1) a Wacom tablet and Bamboo stylus, (2) an Apple touchscreen device with a Bamboo stylus, and (3) an Apple touchscreen device without a stylus. Out of those three purchasing options, there are two scenarios in which Wacom profits from their Bamboo styluses. Also, for the second option, Wacom presented itself with the unique opportunity to make a huge profit from styluses that are compatible with highly-demanded products. Those options are laid out openly through the Wacom products sitting on the shelves of Apple stores. Outside of Apple stores, Wacom sells their products online, in other electronic stores, and in their only Wacom store in the UK (Creative Bloq). As more Apple customers recognize Wacom’s styluses, the graphic tablet company will eventually become a highly-invested stylus manufacturer.

Until the Apple Pencil is released in November, there is still more to learn about the stylus’ features. Whether or not the Apple-branded stylus will meet customers’ expectations and intimidate stylus manufacturers will be determined in more of its showcases to come and after its release. However, Tim Cook’s backward thinking of releasing the stylus surely fulfills a much larger vision Steve Jobs had for the company: to redesign the ordinary and make it extraordinary.

The Apple Pencil will be available for the iPad Pro in November and sell at $99.


“Can Wacom take on the Apple Store?” Creative Bloq. Creative Bloq, 7 Nov. 2013. Web. 09 Sept. 2015. <;.

“Stylus.” Wacom. Wacom, n.d. Web. 09 Sept. 2015. <;.


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