Apple design team abandons sketchbooks for the Apple Pencil

Apple design team abandoning sketchbooks for the Apple Pencil, says Jonathan Ive

Jonathan Ive says Apple's design team is moving away from pen and paper in favour of the company's recently released Pencil stylus and iPad.

"We’ve always drawn in our sketchbooks, and for the first time – despite flirting with some alternatives a couple of years ago – I’m seeing people starting to use the iPad and Apple Pencil," Ive told The Telegraph.

"Many of us in the design team have worked together for 20 plus years," said Ive, who was promoted to chief design officer earlier this year.

Apple pencil
The Apple Pencil was launched earlier this year at the company's annual product event in California

The stylus was released in September as an accompaniment for the iPad Pro – a larger version of its tablet computer, described by Apple CEO Tim Cook as "the most capable and powerful iPad ever created".

The Pencil is aimed at professional artists and designers, and uses responsive sensors in the tip to detect position, force and tilt.

Users can press lightly for a thin stroke, or harder to achieve a bolder mark. The stylus produces broad or shaded strokes, depending on the angle it's held at.

Ive told The Telegraph that the Apple Pencil would allow users to sketch and write on the iPad in ways that they could "never dream of doing in the analogue world".

Apple pencil
The stylus is designed to work with Apple's new iPad tablet, which is significantly bigger than its predecessor

"We hoped if you are used to spending a lot of time using paintbrushes, pencils and pens, this will feel like a more natural extension of that experience – that it will feel familiar," he said.

"To achieve that degree of very simple, natural behaviour, was a significant technological challenge," he added.

The designer also said he's been using the implement himself: "What I've enjoyed is when I'm just thinking, holding the Pencil as I would my pen with a sketchpad and I just start drawing."

"When you start to realise you're doing that without great intent and you're just using it for the tool that it is, you realise that you've crossed over from demoing it and you're actually starting to use it," he added.

"As you cross that line, that's when it actually feels the most powerful."

Apple pencil
The Apple Pencil can create different types of pen stroke on the iPad's screen using sensors that detect tilt angle, pressure and position

Ive has previously said that he struggles to hire young staff and has attacked design schools for failing to teach their students how to make products and focusing too much on computer skills.

"So many of the designers that we interview don't know how to make stuff, because workshops in design schools are expensive and computers are cheaper," he said.

The British-born designer was previously Apple's senior vice president of design, a title he held from 1997 until his promotion this year. His biographer has claimed that he is now more important to Apple than Steve Jobs was when he died and that the company "would be in trouble if he left".