Friday, July 24, 2020

Don’t Hold Your Breath For iPhone 12 and Apple Pencil

The countdown for the next iPhone upgrade has started.  It depends on when the clock started but with a September iPhone event less than two months away, Apple fans and people with older iPhones or Android switchers are gearing up to get their hands on the iPhone 12 even in the midst of an pandemic and uncertainties going forward.  Along with the anticipation the plethora of news and rumors, mostly rumors, about what is new with Apple’s mobile devices.  One feature many iPhone users are likely hoping for is Apple Pencil support.  It ain’t happening this year.

With iOS 14 instruction and betas widely available, users have a good idea what Apple has planned.  A lot of times, new features in iOS 14 are not in the beta until after Apple announces new hardware and the features exclusive to the new devices.  Some new camera features in the native camera app were not in the iOS 13 betas until after Apple released the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro.  It’s like that is the case with iPhone 12/12 Pro and iOS 14.

However, there are smokes that point to what Apple have planned.  For example, form factor leaks were on Twitter for at least a month.  Just this week, specs of possible batteries for the 2020 iPhones have become hot topics.  And earlier this year, news that the green iPhone Pro could make way for a blue one this year (which would be a shame).

As for Apple Pencil, the best reference of the pencil to an iPhone was a post back in June from an Apple blog site that mentioned Apple Pencil support on the iPhone is a wanted feature.  At this point, even a sketchy rumor about it would be greatly appreciated.  Alas, there has been nothing on this front.

This is unfortunate given that another rumor about the 2020 iPhone Pro is that it will have a bigger screen with a smaller notch than the current iPhone Pro.  With a screen that is close to 7”, having Pencil support would allow users greater productivity even if it may cannibalize iPad sales.  But even that is unlike unless users buy the iPhone Pro over the closest iPad competitor in terms of size, the iPad mini.  And Apple would definite want users to buy an $1000 iPhone Pro over a $400 iPad mini.  It is unlike that the iPhone Pro will cannibalize the 11.5” and 12.9” iPad Pros just because the iPhone Pro now supports the Apple Pencil.

If anything, it’s high-end Android devices that could take the brunt of an Apple Pencil supported iPhone Pro.  With better support, the Samsung Note could see its sales take a deep dive.  And for Android fans, it might be all that bad in the long term.  The Note really has no competitors unless Apple decides to step into this segment of the mobile market.

Another plus for Apple is the sales of more pencil accessories. Starting at $99, consider if even just 10% of the iPhone Pro users buy one, it is a sales of hundreds of millions if not billions in additional revenue.

Apple Pencil support is coming to the iPhone.  It makes sense for Apple to bring this feature to the iPhone.  After all, picture-in-picture, a previously much sought after iPad only feature for the iPhone, made it into iOS 14 (even for the original iPhone SE), users will eventually be able to draw or scribble on the iPhone with a native pencil support.  When?  Well, Apple is very busy even during a pandemic.

Apple is in the midst of a move from Intel to Apple Silicon (use of iPhone and iPad chips in the Mac), augment reality, and perhaps even the Apple car.  And with the iPhone sell well, maybe support of the Apple Pencil for the iPhone falls in the middle of all that.  Or Apple is waiting for the tech to mature even more and additional uses for the Pencil that iPhone users can benefit directly.  But it’ll come.

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