Is Apple intentionally nerfing the Apple Pencil with iOS 9.3?


Apple Pencil
Apple Pencil is the best iPad accessory.
Photo: Apple

With yesterday’s release of the latest iOS 9.3 beta, one thing is looking more and more likely: Apple has intentionally debuffed the Apple Pencil so it can no longer be used to navigate through iOS.

Now, it’s only meant for drawing and writing within apps.

When iOS 9.2 first introduced support for the Apple Pencil, it was possible to use the stylus just like a finger (or any other stylus) on any screen you wanted. That meant swiping between apps, tapping on buttons, and so forth.

With the earliest iOS 9.3 betas, though, this functionality went away. Users at first assumed it was a bug, but in a recent podcast, co-founder Myke Hurley said the changes in iOS 9.3 were intentional.

“Sources in the know confirm that removing the functionality of the Apple Pencil is a decision inside of Apple,” he said. “It is not a bug they have overlooked for three betas. It is a decision.”

It seems absurd. With this change, in iOS 9.3, there are now some ways in which the Apple Pencil is more limited than the cheapest third-party stylus. Even for the professionals whom Apple is marketing the Apple Pencil and iPad Pro toward, this is a dumb move. As iMore’s Serenity Caldwell points out:

[The changes make] the Pencil useless for video and audio editing, creative pursuits that I’d hoped to explore further on the iPad Pro. I’d initially enjoyed editing and cutting several videos in iMovie for iOS with the help of the Pencil; now, you can only select and drag clips. You can’t cut a clip with the downward swipe gesture, nor can you scroll the timeline.

Apple, you’re supposed to use software to make your hardware more powerful over time, not less. Get it together.

Source: iMore
Via: MacRumors

  • John Wilbur

    This means no iPad Pro for me until this is fixed, as in ‘unbroken’.

  • Robbie

    I was planning on grabbing an iPad Pro and pencil when I got my tax return, but no way am I downgrading like this. Maybe it’s temporary so they can re-write some new gestures? Hopefully they bring it back.

  • c_hack

    I’m glad I didn’t buy the Pencil this weekend when I got my iPad Pro. Its great for watching video, and the screen real estate is great for iTunes U courses.

    But… is Apple trying to prove its just a consumption device? Is someone on the iOS team secretly working for Microsoft, trying to sabotage the Pro?

  • Eric Blair

    Easy fix…don’t update.

  • Scott Campbell

    I’ve got the Pro, was thinking about the pen….but not gonna happen now. Apple…..what are you thinking? While I’m at it……….Why no splitable keyboard? The Pro NEEDS this….

    • Leonardo

      Right?! I noticed this when I first got it and thought it was a glitch, another thing is no “Hey Siri” always on like on the 6S. The Pro has twice the ram and better specs, there is NO reason they can’t allow for it, it shouldn’t have to be plugged in to use this.

  • Reed

    Laughed pretty hard at this. Oh Apple, where have you gone?