stylus ▪ September 2

AAPL: 112.34

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Apple’s September 9th event is set to be one of the company’s largest events in history, as is reflected by the expansive size of its San Francisco venue. Besides a pair of new iPhones, the substantially revamped Apple TV set top box, and new bands for the Apple Watch, Apple is currently planning to debut a pair of new iPads at next week’s event: the long-rumored iPad Pro, and a refreshed version of the iPad mini, according to trusted sources…

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stylus ▪ September 1

AAPL: 107.72

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I keep a box with around 20 iPad styluses next to my desk, so every time a new stylus arrives, I can easily compare it against its predecessors and rivals. There hasn’t been much functional innovation in the category for a couple of years, but stylus form factors, batteries, and buttons have changed, generally getting simpler and smaller after each generation. Even so, Adonit’s new Jot Dash ($50) surprised me. It comes less than 6 months after the release of Jot Script 2 (reviewed here), but looks and feels a lot different from its predecessor. Jot Script 2 costs $25 more, feels fairly thick, and uses Bluetooth 4 for (somewhat iffy) palm rejection. Jot Dash cuts both its price and size by dropping the Bluetooth hardware, while keeping the 1.9mm fine writing tip that made Script special.

Why would Adonit simplify its prior electronic styluses by removing Bluetooth? Perhaps because relatively few developers have been willing to add Bluetooth stylus support to their apps. Today, a stylus would be considered to have “good” software support if 30 of the 1.5 million iOS apps included hooks for its special features; Jot Script 2 lists just under 20 fully supported apps. So, like the $60 Lynktec Rechargeable Apex I recently reviewed, Jot Dash doesn’t require special software support — it has a simpler feature set that works with all apps and all iPads, including the iPad Air 2. It similarly includes a rechargeable battery, which gets topped off with any available USB port. The differences are the $10 lower price, and the fact that it feels a lot more like a standard-sized pen…

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stylus ▪ August 20

AAPL: 112.65

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Everyone knew the iPad Air 2’s marquee features — a thinner, lighter body, Touch ID, a gold color option and much faster A8X processor — but fewer people realized that Apple also made subtle changes to the new tablet’s screen, not only improving its visibility outdoors but also changing the way it registered touch input. All of the tweaks added up to a noticeably better user experience, but one category of accessories unexpectedly wound up broken: digital styluses. As it turns out, fine-tipped styluses use tiny electrical pulses to trick touchscreens into thinking they’re fingers, and the pulses needed to be recalibrated to work reliably with the iPad Air 2’s new screen. Adonit was the first to release an iPad Air 2-compatible digital stylus, the $75 Jot Script 2 (reviewed here), and now there’s a second, more affordable option.

Lynktec is one of several stylus makers that have sought a middle ground between expensive $80-$100 Bluetooth styluses and entry-level $20-$30 styluses that lack electronic hardware. The second-generation Rechargeable Apex Stylus ($60) is, like its predecessor, a mostly silver pen with a battery inside and a shirt clip on its edge. It loses the plasticky black top and bottom in favor of a more thoroughly metallic appearance, retaining five rubber finger grips near its tip for comfort. And while it keeps the 2mm polymer writing tip of the original Rechargeable Apex, it’s now backed by electronic circuitry that works properly with the iPad Air 2, as well as all earlier iPads and iPhones…

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stylus ▪ August 19

AAPL: 115.01

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According to respected and generally reliable analyst Ming Chi-Kuo from KGI Securities, Apple’s long-awaited 12.9-inch iPad Pro will feature Force Touch stylus support—perhaps for something like an enhanced Pencil from Paper’s FiftyThree. Earlier this month, we detailed what to expect from Force Touch on iOS including support for an enhanced stylus paired with the larger iPad models.

He expects the larger tablet to go in to production between September and October and that the stylus will be able to take advantage of the new iPad’s Force Touch-enabled screen. It’s being imagined as a feature which could help users more easily navigate the larger display of the iPad Pro. KGI has predicted an optional Lightning-charging stylus sold alongside the larger-screened iPad since earlier this year.

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stylus ▪ August 10

AAPL: 115.52

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While Force Touch on the Apple Watch allowed Apple to add an additional layer of buttons to a small display, the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus screens don’t lack for either real estate or buttons. So why would Force Touch be desirable on larger displays? Following up on our May report that Force Touch is coming to Apple’s next iPhones, sources who have used the iPhone 6S have provided new details on how Force Touch works and feels under iOS.

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stylus ▪ April 6

Up until last year, digital styluses — ones with electronic parts inside — worked pretty well across multiple iPad models. Developers including Adonit took over two years to develop electronic iPad writing tools that were thinner-tipped than fingers and rubber-domed styluses, but they succeeded, enabling iPads to serve as notepads and sophisticated canvases for artwork. Then the iPad Air 2 came out, subtly changing the touch-sensing technology that digital styluses relied upon, breaking some and reducing the accuracy of others. Stylus developers quietly acknowledged that new hardware would be needed.

Adonit’s new Jot Script 2 ($75, aka Jot Script 2 Evernote Edition) is the first digital stylus I’ve tested with full iPad Air 2 compatibility. As the sequel to Adonit’s 2013-vintage Jot Script Evernote Edition, it borrows a lot of its predecessor’s design and functionality, but also improves upon it in several ways. Beyond adding iPad Air 2 support, it has a thinner body, and a rechargeable battery rather than a disposable one, all at the same price as last year’s model…

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