Ben Bajarin, Horace Dediu, and Om Malik have a brief chat with Emily Cheng in this video about the Apple Pencil that was announced today.
I hate to say it, but Om sounds completely out of touch with his analysis. He argues that it's mere semantics to refer to the Pencil as anything but a stylus, lamenting the need to learn a whole new set of gestures after he's already gotten used to adapting to the current set. His argument is fundamentally flawed, however, and both Bajarin and Dediu rightly point out that the Pencil is an accessory available in addition to the iPad. The iPad Pro will function just as well as its predecesors even if you rely solely on your existing skill set. The Pencil is created for a very particular use case, a very particular type of customer (one who would benefit greatly from the capabilities the marriage of the two Apple gadgets provide). It is by no means a required implement, and does not negate existing gestures. In fact, it's not even created as a navigation tool, which is what Om's argument appears to imply.
The most upsetting thing is how Om trots out the tired notion when he tries to land a final jab: "That's not the Steve Jobs way." What uninspired horseshit, but I'll go ahead and bite.
No, Om, that wasn't the "Steve Jobs way" based upon the evidence he provided while he was alive. But two things:
- Steve Jobs died and left Tim Cook in charge, telling him explicitly not to sit around asking, "What would Steve do?"
- Steve Jobs was a man capable of changing his mind, and did so frequently. If there was a compelling case for an accessory such as the Pencil, then I don't doubt for a second that he would go for it.
If Om's worry is about witnessing a company becoming increasingly mediocre, he should look no further than the company that is afraid to step out from behind the lingering shadow of its deceased founder.