One area in which Apple has traditionally lagged behind Samsung is that of stylus-supported phablets, like Samsung's Note series, with only the pricier iPad Pro models and the new 9.7 inch iPad offering stylus support. However, all this could be set to change, according to Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst from KGI Securities.
Kuo says Apple is probably going to equip one of its flagship smartphones with stylus support. Including support for Apple Pencil on a larger model of smartphone could see a sharp uptick in Pencil sales. The irony, of course, being that Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, famously hated styluses, quoted by biographer Walter Isaacson as saying “once you need a stylus, you're dead”, and telling a 2007 conference “you have to get ‘em, put ‘em away. You lose ‘em, yuck. Nobody wants a stylus”.
However, were he alive today, he would no doubt see that the computing environment has changed, and that stylus support is a big draw for a lot of consumers - consumers Apple has been losing to Samsung.
In the meantime, the 9.7 inch iPad, launched last week, has been getting positive reviews. The new device is basically a more powerful version of last year's iPad, boasing a 2.3GHz A10 processor and 2 gig of RAM, but retailing at the same price. The pad outperforms all other iPhones and iPads with the exception of last year's Pro models and the iPhones 8, 8 Plus and X. Apple also claim it will have the same 10 hour battery life as al the other current iPads.
It was created with educational use in mind and is aimed at teachers and students, but it is available to everyone. On the schooling front, Apple claim it can switch users in less than a minute, which would obviously be handy in the classroom, and the Apple School Manager feature can manage individual devices as well as bulk-creating Apple IDs.
So is it worth upgrading? Well, if you have one of last year's models it's probably not necessary, unless you are sold on the idea of stylus support. But anyone else thinking of buying a new device could certainly do a lot worse.