The Apple Pencil costs $99+ because you probably don’t need it, and that’s a good thing

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A lot of digital and literal ink has been spilled over the announcement of a stylus at tech-blogger Christmas. Though looking past the surprisingly widespread hot-take that “Steve Jobs never wanted a stylus,” the Apple Pencil isn’t clearly not built for mass consumption. It costs $99 for a reason.

In fact, I thought it was pretty clear, both from promotional material, and the fact that the Apple Pencil is an accessory to a ‘Pro’ tablet, that the stylus was made for a small selection of people. A concept that, itself, is very unlike the mass-market underpinnings of Apple as a brand.

In the past our fruity-friends have been criticised for offering very few options to consumers. Their new Macbook arrived with a single USB port, the iPhone was a tiny device up until a year ago despite the thirst for phablets, and that device was only available in a single colour with a single black wallpaper to begin with. The MacBook Pro doesn’t have an optical drive, while the 13″ model doesn’t even offer dedicated graphics cards. More recently Apple finally started offering official cases for the iPhone, mainly because they’d stopped believing that every consumer just wants a black or white phone.

And yet, despite years of criticism for their one-size-fits-all approach, the second the company releases a product that isn’t for everyone they’re met with this strange wave of anger[1]. How dare Apple release a product that isn’t for me. Innovation is dead! Even Steve Jobs hated Apple’s new Pencil. Apparently nobody uses a stylus anymore, not even artists with Wacom tablets.

In reality I just think this is a signal that Apple wants to start treating the iPad less like a hobby and more like the potentially powerful device that it could be. A digital artist could now use the iPad as a replacement to their Wacom tablet, similar to the SD card add-on for photographers. And this happens all without forcing useless tech, weight, and thickness on people who don’t want a stylus or an SD card.

And just like the Rose Gold iPhone, if you don’t want it, you don’t need to bury it in a drawer. Just don’t buy it.

But I guess people don’t want choice, even though the same writers think they do. People just want a brand that tells them to shut up and forget their own personal needs.

In which case, I guess Apple should just shut it all down, along with every other tech company on the planet.

[1] Apple deserves criticism. The 16GB iPhone sucks, Apple Music is terrible. But giving people choice for the first time isn’t a problem that deserves any attention.

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  • darylcheshire

    not just Apple, you can see this anger in camera/photography forums. eg fredmiranda.