“It’s like we said on the iPad, if you see a stylus, they blew it.” – Steve Jobs, iOS 4 launch
The one thing I still can’t get rid of is a pad of paper. It is just too versatile. I can take notes, draw, create checklists, anything. I can write in pencil or pen. I can highlight my notes. With a pencil, I can even erase and try again. Of course this stuff doesn’t transfer to a computer very well and it sure isn’t searchable. I would really like to be able to do something with my notes.
I tried using my iPad and it works perfectly fine for basic note-taking with the built-in keyboard but I can’t draw on the page very well. I’ve tried a number of third-party note taking apps and find every one deficient for one reason or another. I have even tried the stylus-driven ones but find that the tip size coupled with poor precision and this horrible problem of not being able to put my hand on the screen just kills it every time. I have very neat handwriting on paper but on an iPad it is illegible.
I thought about other tools for this. Livescribe is very interesting, for example. I get the better part of pen and paper and then can sync that to a computer to make it searchable. But the idea of writing in pen bothers me. I really love my eraser.
I have a hard time believing that Apple doesn’t see this as an opportunity, that a developer or two hasn’t been working on a special Bluetooth-enabled stylus and programming interface that has the kind of precision of a pen and paper with all the benefits of doing it on a tablet. If we can tell slight angles of a device and use that to race cars I would think it would be quite easy to recognize the optional stylus.
To me, Steve Jobs’ statement was bull. If the only mechanism for inputting on the device is a stylus, fine. That’s bad form. In the real-world we use all kinds of medium: pencils and pens, markers, paintbrushes. But on the iPad we have pretty much been relegated to finger-painting.
If I had an iPad 3 wish, this would be it. The one feature I’d love to see is that stylus and programming interface from Apple that shows how amazing and magical writing can be.