Bug or conscious change? Apple Pencil for iPad Pro gets gimped by iOS 9.3 betas

Posted:
in iPad edited February 2016
The first two beta releases of iOS 9.3 have severely limited the navigation capabilities of the Apple Pencil on iPad Pro. Whether this was an intentional readjustment of the accessory's functionality to make it less stylus-like, or simply a bug in pre-release software, remains to be seen.




Since its launch last year, the Apple Pencil has been capable of operating as a full-fledged, system-wide stylus with the iPad Pro. The $100 accessory can be used to open apps, scroll, and do general purpose navigation on the tablet, including with apps that were not designed for the Pencil.

However, when iOS 9.3 beta 1 was released to developers earlier this month, all of that changed. The Apple Pencil could no longer be used for scrolling and other general navigation.

While some chalked it up to a bug in Apple's first beta, the changes once again remain in this week's release of iOS 9.3 beta 2. That's led to speculation that the handicaps placed on the Apple Pencil in iOS 9.3 betas are intentional, suggesting Apple is considering limiting the functionality of the device with an upcoming software update.

If Apple does limit what the Pencil can do, it might be an effort to focus on its role as a drawing and mark making utensil rather than a general navigation tool. Apple's chief designer Jony Ive himself said in an interview last year that he was worried some users might "confuse the role of the Pencil with the role of your finger in iOS."

"We are very clear in our own minds that this will absolutely not replace the finger as a point of interface," Ive said to Wallpaper. "But it is, and I don't think anybody would argue, a far better tool than your finger when your focus becomes exclusively making marks."


Scrolling used to work fine in any app, but with iOS 9.3 betas, it does not.


Much could change before iOS 9.3 launches to the public later this year. In the past, Apple has toyed with big changes in beta releases, only to not include them in the software's final release.

Most recently, Apple included a two-finger "trackpad mode" for iPhone in beta releases of iOS 9 last year. Once the software was finally released, however, it was only possible with two fingers on an iPad, or using 3D Touch on an iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus.
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 60
    Hmm...I must admit I never use my pencil for anything other than making marks. Though I know there are people who do use it in place of their fingers for certain things. Hopefully they bring that capability back.
    MacandCheeseMr_Greytechlovercornchip
  • Reply 2 of 60
    mr omr o Posts: 1,046member
    Great! This will discourage user interface designers making their targets/icons really small.

    canukstormMr_Greyjackansibobschlobanton zuykovwilliamlondoncornchipbkkcanuck
  • Reply 3 of 60
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    It's not a walled garden, it's a concentration camp.
    singularityMr_Greytechloverjackansilord amhranyojimbo007staticx57
  • Reply 4 of 60
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,455member
    Jumping to conclusions based on beta software releases. Cool. And the haters eat it up like candy.
    suddenly newtontdknoxnolamacguytallest skilsergioz
  • Reply 5 of 60
    mr o said:
    Great! This will discourage user interface designers making their targets/icons really small.

    Apple has repeatedly violated their own UI guidelines and made app interaction needlessly difficult. Case in point: Apple's own Music app.
    rogifan_oldtechloverjackansicash907censoredbobschlobyojimbo007Deeeds
  • Reply 6 of 60
    mr omr o Posts: 1,046member
    mr o said:
    Great! This will discourage user interface designers making their targets/icons really small.

    Apple has repeatedly violated their own UI guidelines and made app interaction needlessly difficult. Case in point: Apple's own Music app.
    Touché. But that's Eddy's corner. I fully agree with you.

    This is Jony Ive we are talking about. Gotta love his focus. Pencil sharp!

    >:x
    edited January 2016 canukstormbobschlobcornchipDeeeds
  • Reply 7 of 60
    WTF!? The Pencil is the best thing about the iPad Pro. I am sure it's a bug.

    On a separate note (and I've said this before), if Apple is serious about making the Pro a productivity/enterprise device, it needs to up its game on enabling easier file transfers between the desktops/laptops and iOS. E.g., via AirDrop or Bluetooth. Otherwise, it'll just be a niche product. That would not be good in the face of declining iPad sales.
    jackansi
  • Reply 8 of 60
    It makes sense to me. If you're supposed to mark up a PDF, it would be more logical if the fingers scrolled and the Pencil marked.
    canukstormMr_Greytechprod1gybobschlobwilliamlondoncornchipbestkeptsecretrandom bob, a.r.c.
  • Reply 9 of 60
    Hopefully this is a bug. I use my iPad pro for note taking, reviewing epubs, etc. losing the ability to scroll would make the pencil cumbersome to switch while underlining and reading where you need to scroll. 
    techlovertechprod1gybooboo
  • Reply 10 of 60
    jdgazjdgaz Posts: 381member
    Personally don't want to have to put the pencil down to do a bit of scrolling then pick it up again to continue marking up a doc. consider the pencil a temporary finger in those cases.
    techloverjackansitechprod1gycogitodextersonnymoon42booboo
  • Reply 11 of 60
    As someone who uses the iPad Pro with Pencil regularly, I would be very pissed with this limited functionality. When I am going through PDFs highlighting information, I love the fact I can scroll ' swipe with my Pencil. What they need to do is toggle the ability to do this, versus outright limiting it as a feature.
    jackansi
  • Reply 12 of 60
    jdgaz said:
    Personally don't want to have to put the pencil down to do a bit of scrolling then pick it up again to continue marking up a doc. consider the pencil a temporary finger in those cases.
    I was envisioning the use of two hands. How would the doc reader differentiate between a "scroll" swipe and a "draw" swipe of the Pencil?
  • Reply 13 of 60
    cnocbui said:
    It's not a walled garden, it's a concentration camp.
    This change is part of the OS, not the App Store.
    Rayz2016
  • Reply 14 of 60
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    mr o said:
    Great! This will discourage user interface designers making their targets/icons really small.

    Apple has repeatedly violated their own UI guidelines and made app interaction needlessly difficult. Case in point: Apple's own Music app.
    Yes, actually. 

    The slider for the volume is too close to the player controls. A couple of times I've nearly blown out an eardrum. 
    jackansicornchip
  • Reply 15 of 60
    Granted, we'll have to wait and see official word on what's going on, but if Apple really is trying to take that functionality away, they're making a stupid decision (wouldn't be the first time...). I have the Surface Pro 3, and I use my stylus for navigation all the time. It's a pain to set the stylus down or finagle it around in my hand so I can start using my finger to navigate. It's natural, it's accurate, and it is the USER'S CHOICE, something Apple doesn't like to grant it's users.
    techlovercogitodexter
  • Reply 16 of 60
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,741member
    It would be rather tedious and annoying to have to reposition or put down the pencil while navigating. Hope this is a bug.
    techlovercogitodexter
  • Reply 17 of 60
    satchmosatchmo Posts: 2,699member
    mike1 said:
    It would be rather tedious and annoying to have to reposition or put down the pencil while navigating. Hope this is a bug.
    At first I thought the same. But then realized why can't you hold a pencil and navigate with one hand? 
    cornchip
  • Reply 18 of 60
    satchmo said:
    mike1 said:
    It would be rather tedious and annoying to have to reposition or put down the pencil while navigating. Hope this is a bug.
    At first I thought the same. But then realized why can't you hold a pencil and navigate with one hand? 
    It's not at all difficult to do (in fact, that's MY default way of doing it).

    However, the question is, why take away any functionality in that regard? (If indeed that is the case, which it may not be).
    techlover
  • Reply 19 of 60
    I'll take bug for $500 Alex.

    C'mon people. It's called "beta" for a reason.
    tallest skil
  • Reply 20 of 60
    Mr_GreyMr_Grey Posts: 118member
    Hopefully this is a bug. I use my iPad pro for note taking, reviewing epubs, etc. losing the ability to scroll would make the pencil cumbersome to switch while underlining and reading where you need to scroll. 
    Unless you only have one arm this seems like a silly thing to say.  
Sign In or Register to comment.