Apple has never shown much interest in styluses, even as companies like Samsung and Microsoft have embraced them as major selling points for smartphones and tablets. Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs even went as far as saying "If you see a stylus, they blew it," on one occasion, and at Macworld in 2007, he asked "Who wants a stylus? Nobody wants a stylus."
Apple's focus on the fingertip as the best input method doesn't mean styluses are entirely pointless -- they can be useful for taking notes, making sketches, creating artwork, and in dozens of other situations. Luckily, Apple's disinterest in the stylus hasn't stopped third-party accessory makers from developing them, and eight years after the iPhone first debuted, there are a range of stylus options on the market.
Adonit is a company that got into the stylus game early, debuting its first stylus on Kickstarter in 2011. The Adonit Jot was one of the first styluses to incorporate a thin plastic precision disc, doing away with a rubber tip to let users see more of the screen while writing. Since then, Adonit has gone on to make a range of styluses, some that even connect via Bluetooth to incorporate pressure sensitivity.
The company's newest styluses, the Jot Pro and the Jot Mini, are standard non-connected styluses, but they're the culmination of years of work perfecting the stylus based on customer feedback and they're some of the nicest writing utensils that Adonit has produced yet. Get a quick look at the Jot Pro or Jot Mini in the video below, or keep reading to see our full thoughts on the two styluses.
What's in the Box
The Jot Pro and the Jot Mini come nicely packaged in an outer cardboard box and a plastic insert with an adhesive strap that holds them in place during shipping. They arrive with caps in place to keep the tip from being damaged and are ready to use once the cap is removed and affixed to the bottom of the stylus.
Design and Features
Both the Jot Pro and the Jot Mini are made from a lightweight aluminum in black or silver that matches the aluminum backing of the silver/space gray iPad and iPhone. Each comes with a screw-off cap that connects to both ends of the stylus and serves two purposes -- keeping the stylus safe during transport in a bag or pocket and extending the size of the stylus when in use.
Each version comes with a built-in clip at the end that allows the stylus to clip onto a shirt pocket or bag and they both have the same plastic tip.
The larger Jot Pro has a few features not found in the miniature version. In addition to being both larger and heavier (123mm and 20 grams vs 98.7mm and 13 grams), it comes with a textured grip to make it easier to hold and a cushion at the tip that gives it a bit more flexibility against the screen for quieter writing.
When it comes to styluses, some of the most important elements to consider are the tip of the device, the weight, and how it feels in the hand, as all of these can impact the writing or sketching experience.
The major benefit of the plastic tip of the Jot Pro and Jot Mini is the ability to see the entire screen when you're writing or sketching. With a larger rubber-tipped stylus, the screen is obscured so you can't see the point where the stylus connects to the screen. The plastic tip of the Jot isn't inherently more accurate than a rubber tip, but it can feel more precise because you can see what you're doing.
Writing with a rubber-tipped stylus can sometimes cause overcompensation resulting in distortion because it's difficult to see the letters being formed, but the Jot Pro alleviates that problem for writing that's clearer, especially when writing small letters.
The downside is that there's more resistance against the screen with the Jot Pro, which means that the writing experience is not quite as smooth. This is more evident when attempting to sketch, but it's definitely noticeable when writing too. This extra drag isn't a deal breaker by any means due to the fact that it's fairly subtle, but it's something to be aware of when choosing a stylus.
Earlier Jot styluses had some issues with pivoting and the plastic tip popping off, but those problems seem to been resolved. The tip of both the Jot Mini and the Jot Pro pivoted smoothly and allowed for uninterrupted writing at any angle.
One major con of both styluses and of the plastic tip in general is the noise. When writing or drawing, there's a distinctive click that's similar to the tap of a fingernail against the screen. The larger Jot Pro has a cushioned tip that provides a somewhat smoother writing experience and a slight dampening of the sound, but the click is still very much audible with either stylus.
Weight and hand feel may not seem like important factors when picking a stylus, but these elements can have an impact on the fluidity of writing and the feel of your hand after writing for a long period of time.
The Jot Pro is slightly thicker than your standard pen, and about as heavy as a nice quality pen you might buy for $40 or $50. It has a textured grip and overall, it feels nice in the hand. The extra weight helps make writing somewhat smoother, and its pen-like feel makes it comfortable to use for long note taking or drawing sessions.
The Jot Mini is smaller, lighter, and thinner than the Jot Pro. The build quality is great, but its small size means that it is slightly less comfortable to hold. Its compact size and light weight make it a great travel stylus for occasional use.
Who's it For?
With the Jot Pro and the Jot Mini, you're getting precision at the cost of a bit of drag on the screen and a clicking sound that might be annoying to some. It's an excellent all around stylus and it really shines in precision writing and drawing situations due to its ability to allow its user to see the entire screen.
Unless you need something portable and low cost, the Jot Pro is the better pick over the Jot Mini. It's larger size means it's more comfortable to use for long periods of time, and its cushioned tip offers a smoother, quieter writing experience.
Deals have been a bit sparse in recent weeks following the holidays, but we expect things to pick up somewhat in February and March now that we're solidly into the new year.
There are a few deals to be had this week on the non-Retina iMac, older now-discontinued iPad Air and iPad mini 2 models, and the Retina MacBook Pro. We've also got some discounted Apple-related accessories and a selection of discounted apps.
There are no particularly good deals on the Retina iMac from third-party resellers this week, but prospective buyers can get a good deal from Apple's online refurbished store, which has a variety of Retina iMacs available at discounted prices.
All of Apple's refurbished machines come with a 1 year warranty, but stock fluctuates often, so potential buyers may need to wait for a desired machine to show up in the store.
We don't recommend buying an iPad Air 2 or Retina iPad mini 3 this week if you can help it because there are no sales going on, but Best Buy is still offering now-discontinued higher-capacity Cellular versions of the iPad Air and the iPad mini 2 at discounted prices up to $130 off the standard price.
The Harman Kardon Go + Play II Speaker Dock for the iPhone is available for $179, down from $349, from Harman Audio. The current-generation Apple TV is available for $87.99from Groupon, down from its original price of $99.
Scosche earphones are available for $18.99from Groupon, down from their original price of $79.99. Groupon is also selling the Beats Pill 2.0 for $159.99, $40 off the regular price.
The myCharge Hub 6000 Portable Battery is available for $69.99from Best Buy, $30 off its regular price. Best Buy is also selling the 32GB Mophie Space Pack for the iPhone 5/5s for $129.99, down from its regular price of $179.99.
Monoprice is offering 25% off select Apple accessories using the promo code 25APPLE through 1/31. The ZAGG iPad mini Folio Keyboard Case is available for $29 from Daily Steals, $50 off the regular price.
MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors.
Apple appears to be asking some high profile app developers and partners to have their Apple Watch-compatible iPhone apps prepared and ready to launch in the App Store in mid-February. According to a source that spoke to MacRumors, Apple has asked its one of its biggest Apple Pay partners to prepare an iOS application with WatchKit support that's ready to launch in the App Store by February 12.
It is unclear if Apple asking the same of other developers, but it is possible the company is hoping to test some third-party Apple Watch apps with employees ahead of the device's launch to get a better feel for battery life when using non-Apple apps. As we detailed earlier today, thousands of Apple employees in the Cupertino area are wearing and testing the device on a daily basis to work out final kinks ahead of an April launch.
It's also possible that Apple could use this high-profile partner's app in an upcoming demonstration or launch event to show off how Apple Pay works on the Apple Watch. Apple Pay will be a key function of the Apple Watch, letting users authorize credit card payments right from their wrists. As has been outlined in the past, the Apple Watch will authenticate payments biometrically, requiring a passcode when the device is first placed on a wrist and again if it loses skin contact.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said earlier this week that Apple Watch development is on track and that the device will launch at some point in April. Pricing for the Apple Watch is largely unknown, but will start at $349 for the least expensive option.
With just three months to go until the Apple Watch's April release, Apple is hard at work field testing the device, and hundreds of Apple engineers, employees, and testers are wearing the Apple Watch on a regular basis to help Apple iron out last minute bugs and issues.
Due to the large number of employees testing the device, Apple Watch sightings in the wild have become more common over the course of the last few weeks. On the MacRumors forums, readers are aggregating photos and stories of device sightings, giving us an in-use look at the device that will be attached to many of our wrists in just a few short months.
One of the first major Apple Watch sightings occurred several weeks ago, when Vogue Editor Suzy Menkes snapped a photo of someone wearing the device. Rumors and speculation have suggested the arm in the photo could belong to Marc Newson, the designer who now works at Apple part time alongside Jony Ive.
If you happen to live in the Cupertino area, it's quite possible you might run into an Apple employee who is wearing one of the watches. VentureBeat's Mark Sullivan recently shared a story of an Apple Watch he spotted while commuting on Caltrain. Sullivan got a bit more than a glimpse -- he had the opportunity to see the Apple Watch in action for several minutes and his account on how it was used is a great read for those who want to learn a bit about how it integrates into daily life.
According to Sullivan, the man's Apple Watch "looked proportionate" to his wrist and had a traditional look that didn't "scream for attention." Sullivan saw a text reminder pop up on the screen, accompanied by a map, and he got the impression that the Apple Watch had become an essential part of this person's life.
I want one, and I didn't even really see much of what the thing could do. But I got the distinct impression that the Watch has already become integrated into the daily life of this user. I could see it as a powerful personal assistant that's always just an arm's lift away to help you make sense of the minutiae of daily life: the schedules and reminders and appointments and social media and everything else we all have to process every minute of every day.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said earlier this week that the Apple Watch is on track to launch in April, but he did not offer a narrower timeframe that would hit at when the release could come during the month. As we creep closer to April, though, we can expect to see a lot more of the Apple Watch in the wild as employees continue testing the device.
Six-second video sharing service Vine today announcedVine Kids, an app that skews towards a younger generation and is meant to act as a hub for kid-friendly content that may be harder to discover on the original app.
In the announcement, Carolyn Penner, Head of Communications and Marketing at Vine, states the idea for the app came from a colleague's daughter and her infatuation with the video-clip sharing service. The idea came to her during Vine's "Hack Week," a period where the company encourages employees to set aside normal duties and begin brainstorming and working on brand-new ideas.
The easy-to-use app doesn't require an account for a user to follow anyone else, offering a newsfeed-style curated list of six-second videos picked by the Vine team that kids can easily swipe left and right through.
We’ve seen for ourselves – and heard from parents, siblings and others – that kids love Vine. So, we built Vine Kids, a simple new app that gives young children a fun way to watch Vines. Through adorable animated characters, kids can watch videos that are appropriate for a young audience. Swiping right or left shows a new Vine, and you can tap the screen to hear quirky sounds.
Acquired by Twitter in the summer of 2012, Vine has seen a handful of updates over the years, slowly adding more functionality to its camera suite and social features. The Twitter-owned service met a few scandals early-on when a sexually explicit Vine accidentally became an "Editor's Pick" on the service, violating Apple's terms of service.
AOL will soon be shutting down The Unofficial Apple Weblog, a long-running Apple blog better known as TUAW, according to The Verge. TUAW will reportedly close next Monday, February 2, just a few months after celebrating its tenth anniversary. The website currently has 11 staff on its editorial team.
TUAW has been providing Apple news, reviews, how-tos and other content about the Cupertino-based company since December 2004. AOL gained ownership of the website through its acquisition of Weblogs Inc. in 2005. The company has three other flagship media properties in The Huffington Post, TechCrunch and Engadget.
The expected closure is part of larger restructuring plans at AOL that will also see long-running gaming website Joystiq shut down. TechCrunch reports that AOL will be laying off about 150 people, mainly in sales, and merging TUAW's Apple-related content and Joystiq into larger technology website Engadget. The majority of the layoffs will be the result of AOL shifting to more programmatic advertising.
AOL's restructuring plans are largely unsurprising given CEO Tim Armstrong's comments during the company's fourth quarter earnings call in November:
“As we look out to 2015, our strategy and decisions will be driven by the following organizing principles,” said Armstrong. “Number one, we’ll focus our capital allocation resource management and management time against scaled assets and platforms. Two, we will organize our asset portfolio around scaled value and scaled growth assets. Three, we’ll simplify everything that can be simplified.”
The impending closure of TUAW arrives not long after media company IDG announced in September that it was discontinuing the print edition of Macworld Magazine and focusing on its web-based publication. MacUser also stopped producing its computer magazine in the United Kingdom earlier this month after thirty years of operations.
After opening Friday morning, shares of Apple stock briefly grazed the $120 per share mark, setting a new record high for the company in the market (via AppleInsider). AAPL is currently trading around the $119 mark as of writing, giving the iPhone maker a nearly $700 billion market cap.
Apple announced its earnings for the first fiscal quarter of 2015 on Tuesday, reporting $74.6 billion revenue and 74.5 million iPhones sold on the strength of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Apple shares previously almost hit today's record high, with a $119.75 price per share, in November of 2014, but regressed down to around $110 in the weeks since.
Many analysts remain bullish on Apple's stock, predicting that the company's shares are undervalued and could trade for up to $130 or higher within the next year. With the immense popularity of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus only growing, and the confirmation of the Apple Watch's launch this April, such predictions may not be far off.
Preparing to open its doors around 10 AM local time in Jiefangbei Square in Chongqing, China tomorrow, Apple has allowed a few members of the Chinese press inside the new store before the grand opening (via MacX).
Bearing a strong resemblance to the Pudong store in Shangai and the Fifth Avenue store in New York, the majority of the new Chongqing location resides under street level, with a massive glass structure, featuring the Apple logo, hiding a staircase down to lower levels. The company is timing the new location's opening, and a handful of others, to coincide with the Chinese New Year festivities hitting next month.
Apple has been steadily opening more and more retail locations across China, pushing unique marketing campaigns - like the Hangzhou store's calligraphy video or Chongqing's own art mural - to drum up more overseas interest in Apple. In a statement made last October, Tim Cook said the company hopes to open 25 Apple Stores in China within the next two years.
Apple today released iTunes 12.1 for OS X Yosemite, introducing a new iTunes widget for the Notification Center. With the widget, it's possible to see what song is playing, skip ahead, and purchase music while listening to iTunes Radio. The update also includes performance improvements when syncing with an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
iTunes 12.1 can be downloaded via the Software Update Mechanism in the Mac App Store.
iTunes 12.1 is the first major update to iTunes 12, which was introduced alongside OS X Yosemite. iTunes 12 brought a new design with Yosemite-style translucency elements to improve depth, a streamlined toolbar, and the melding of the iTunes Store and the personal Library to make it easier to navigate between owned content and what's available in the store.