There has been plenty of speculation as to if and/or when Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will bring the Apple Pencil accessory to the iPhone.
The Apple Pencil first made its debut with the iPad Pro back in late 2015, and it continues to be a key accessory for the iPad Pro product line, which saw a refresh back in June.
Rene Ritchie, analyst with iMore, recently penned an article in which he explained why the iPhone currently doesn't support the Apple Pencil although "Apple has no doubt tested Pencil technology on iPhone."
"So, here's hoping Apple starts doing more than just testing Pencil on iPhone -- and starts shipping," Ritchie writes.
Here's one way I could see Apple bringing the Apple Pencil -- or, at least, some iPhone-specific version of it -- to iPhone.
Sounds like a cool feature for the next premium iPhone
I don't think the concept of a premium iPhone will be a one-off -- I expect Apple to release relatively high-priced iPhone models each year with features that are too costly, or that simply cannot yet be manufactured in high volumes, for the mainstream iPhone models at mainstream price points.
I believe it's highly unlikely that the Apple Pencil will come to this year's premium iPhone. For one thing, Apple is already cramming that device so full of unique and difficult-to-build technologies that trying to toss Apple Pencil support in there would simply be too much.
Furthermore, given that the new phone is expected to have a 5.8-inch display with approximately 5.2 inches of usable display area, I'm not convinced that the Apple Pencil (or, again, an iPhone-specific derivative) would be a particularly good experience on that device.
Next year, though, Apple is reportedly planning to launch three iPhone models in the coming iPhone cycle. Another rumor claims that the 2018 iPhone lineup will include models with 5.28-inch and 6.46-inch displays.
I don't think Apple could get away with marketing the 6.46-inch model under the same branding that this year's premium iPhone will get if it doesn't add killer features to the device.
Support for an iPhone-specific Apple Pencil, an extra-large screen, as well as other interesting features, could make such a device well worthy of a premium price tag, though.
By adding Apple Pencil support to a premium iPhone, Apple could achieve two things:
- Satisfy whatever demand exists for an iPhone with Apple Pencil support, potentially catalyzing upgrade activity among such users within Apple's iPhone installed base; and
- take market segment share from Android phone manufacturers that currently cater to users who want stylus support in their smartphones.
Given that taking market share will be critical for Apple to continue growing its iPhone business in the years ahead as the overall market slows, this sounds like a really good idea to me.