The Apple Pencil: Proof that Apple is Losing its Design Mojo?
I bought an iPad Pro, and I do have to say, I am impressed. It is a beautiful machine and I am finally productive on an iPad.
The $99 Apple Pencil … oy vey!
The actual writing and sketching functionality is pretty awesome. However, it is so poorly designed that I have to believe that if Steve Jobs were around still, he would have fired the team responsible for it.
What’s upsetting is that the Apple Pencil comes on the heels on another design fail by Apple: their magic mouse which requires you to charge it UPSIDE DOWN:
Before the Apple-lovers pile on with their hate-filled accusations of blasphemy, let me remind you that this is the same company that invented a laptop charger that not only is a work of art, but:
- Has flanges built-in to coil the cable
- Contains a swappable plug for extension cords and international adapters, and
- A magnetic connector to keep your laptop from crashing to the ground when you trip over the wire.
THAT is the Apple I know. By contrast, consider some of the Apple Pencil’s most glaring and obvious misses:
1. There is no easy way to store or carry the Apple Pencil. It is not magnetic, so it doesn’t stick to the iPad Pro, and there’s not even a clip to secure it to your messenger bag or whatnot. A jaded person might believe the Apple Pencil is designed to be lost, so Apple can keep sticking you with a $99 replacement fee.
In fact, mine is lost right now. I think I left it at my breakfast meeting. I have a call into the restaurant asking them to be on the lookout for “a very expensive, long white pencil-looking thingy.”
Keep posted to my upcoming article, “Top 5 Places You Can Stick Your Apple Pencil.”
2. You can’t flip it around and use it as an eraser. C’mon, man! The Microsoft Surface Pen, which comes included with the device, by the way, has this erasing-where-the-eraser-should-be feature.
In fact, the design of the Microsoft Pencil is so radically better than the Apple Pencil it has my Cupertino-loving heart broken. The Microsoft Pencil snaps neatly to the Surface Pro via a magnet (it also has a clip for your bag).
The eraser side erases, and clicking the eraser twice takes a screenshot of the Surface. Clicking it once brings up OneNote, which is now shockingly better than Evernote. Of course, these clicks can be tailored to do whatever it is you want to do.
3. The good news is that the power for the Apple Pencil comes from the same adapter that your iPhone or iPad uses. It does charge remarkably fast, so I will give it that, but I have not figured out an easy way of measuring the charge on the device.
However, look at how Apple has you charging your Apple Pencil. Instead of attaching naturally to the iPad and drawing power, as the keyboard does, we’re forced into this ridiculous, stab-your-neighbor configuration?
If you don’t lose the entire Apple Pencil, you are certainly going to lose the little protective cap at the end that must be removed during charging. Where are you supposed to put that thing when you’re charging it?
Really, Apple? Please. Restore my faith.