Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Reinventing the Pencil

Tony Chambers interviewed Jony Ive for Wallpaper:

Before we even got into thinking about how we could create a natural experience, it took a long time to really understand the fundamentals that were at play, that ultimately define your experience of writing or drawing naturally with a pencil. And I think that process feels to me like a very good discipline for technology groups to understand, because that process leads you to observe the tiniest details in terms of what we do and how we do it, and why we do it.

I think this is certainly one of those occasions where at the end of this design and product development exercise, it really did yield two things. One was the Apple Pencil. But the other was a more significant understanding of how we do everyday things. We’ve learned a lot, which is actually useful beyond this project.

Every review I’ve read of the Pencil is effusive in its praise for it, and that speaks volumes for the kind of care and diligence Ive’s team and the engineering team had for it. The extent to which it has been so universally well-received contrasted with the more lukewarm reception of the Smart Keyboard makes me think that the latter is not something many people at Apple use regularly. The Pencil, on the other hand — well, perhaps this response provides a clue:

And you still start a design with a sketch or a scribble?

Yes, we all do. The whole team use sketchbooks. I think it’s a mixture of drawing either by yourself or when you’re with people flitting between conversation and drawing.

I wonder if any of the team members have been using an iPad Pro plus the Pencil as a step beyond the sketchbook.