[THE INVESTOR] Apple is mulling something that its late founder Steve Jobs had outright rejected -- adding a stylus to its iPhone, according to industry sources on Oct. 13.
Jobs never hesitated to rant how much he hates styluses, famously saying almost a decade ago: “God gave us 10 styluses. Let’s not invent another.”
But sources say Apple engineers have recently been working on a new iPhone that comes with a digital pen.
The Apple Pencil
“Apple is preparing to launch the phone as early as 2019,” an industry source told The Investor on condition of anonymity. “It is also in talks with a couple of stylus makers for a partnership.”
It has been widely rumored for long that Apple is considering deploying digital pens for its phones and other mobile devices, having filed a slew of related technology patents over the past years.
In 2016, the firm debuted the Apple Pencil stylus for the iPad Pro tablets. It has also continued introducing new handwriting functions for the iOS operating system such as Notes and Makeup tools.
Apple’s latest move seems to be mimicking its archrival Samsung Electronics that has upgraded the S-Pen stylus for its Galaxy Note phablet in close partnership with Japanese digital pen maker Wacom since 2011.
While the Note pen is based on electro-magnetic resonance technology that requires additional panels under the screen, sources say, the iPhone stylus is likely to adopt a supercapacitor stylus type for price benefits.
“A supercapacitor type is cheaper to make compared to the EMR stylus. It also offers a more pen-like feel,” another source said.
Along with the stylus technology, the source said, Apple's current A-series mobile chip should undergo a drastic upgrade to better support handwriting functions of the planned stylus.
“Apple had to compromise on some touch performance of the latest iPhone X largely due to the less advanced chipset,” he added.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)