The Macalope: Stylus lifestyle


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Guess what’s making a comeback!

Disco? The mullet? The Cold War’s overriding fear that the future holds nothing but the inevitable destruction of you and everyone you love?

No, it’s worse! It’s the stylus!

Well, according to The Age’s Jenneth Orantia.

“Is the stylus making a comeback in mobile gadgets?” (tip o’ the antlers to Andrew Cherry).

Editors: Scanning an article and quickly forcing its headline into question format since the Han Dynasty. (“Will Emperor Gaozu’s anti-slavery policy increase unemployment?”)

Using your fingers may be the most natural way to interact with a mobile device – a fact that Steve Jobs built the first iPhone’s success around – but when it comes to jotting things down, most people still prefer the trusty pen and paper.

As mobile devices evolve from being content consumption to content creation devices, Samsung is in a prime position to lead the charge.

What sorcery is this?! Can you make something true merely by typing it?!

No, actually, you cannot.

Its Galaxy Note range of smartphones and tablets, while not the first such devices to integrate pen functionality, are consistently pushing the envelope by introducing new ways to use pen-based computing.

And consistently underselling the iPhone.

It’s a move that has certainly paid off for the South Korean conglomerate. To date, Samsung has sold more than 38 million Galaxy Note 1 and 2 smartphones combined …

That’s in two years. Apple sells more iPhones than that every quarter. But, viva la stylus!

The Galaxy Note 3, and its tablet stable-mate the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition, both offer a range of features that revolve around Samsung’s proprietary brand of stylus, the S Pen.

Is this an ad?

The real pen-and-paper killer, however, is the ability to search across any of your handwritten notes for particular words and phrases.

It’s Newton-tastic!

It’s funny how some things can come full circle.

It’s funny how some people can see the things they want to when writing extremely silly tech pieces.

Could Apple do another backflip and add native stylus functionality to the next iPhone?

Well, the horny one would never put it past Apple to reverse direction if it were the right thing to do. But let’s just say he puts the likelihood of this happening somewhere below the odds of 2003’s The Core coming to pass in reality.

Which ever way Apple goes, it’s clear that the stylus of yore has been reborn as a powerful companion to touch input, and more and more mobile devices are sure to offer the functionality in the near future.

A small fraction of mobile devices ship with styluses today and an even larger small fraction of them will ship with them next year!

The truth is, the stylus can’t be making a “comeback” because it was never truly popular in the first place. Mobile computing devices only became widespread once they shipped without a stylus. Of course, the stylus will always have utility in certain use cases and for certain people. But most people don’t want the hassle.

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