The iPhone 8 hasn’t even been officially announced but some people are already looking ahead to the iPhone 9 launch which would be, presumably, over a year away. So, what has people looking so far ahead? Apple Pencil, of course!

iPhone 9 Launch With Apple Pencil
Image source: Patently Apple

I know what you’re thinking… “Apple Pencil only works with the iPad Pro.” You’re not wrong if you’re thinking that. However, rumors of Apple Pencil coming to the iPhone and non-Pro iPad models are nothing new and it seems like these rumors are beginning to pick up steam. Patently Apple has noticed new patents that seem to support the idea that the Apple Pencil could be coming to the iPhone and base model iPad.

It should be said that we have to be careful with how much we read into patent filings by tech companies. Big companies like Apple file a ton of patents that may never get used. They are always working on new features that may or may not ever appear in their devices. With that said, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the iPhone 9 launch with Apple Pencil support or even a bundled Apple Pencil.

First of all, the Apple Pencil is already an existing product. It’s not like we’re talking about some product concept here. Apple has the design and technology pretty much ready to go which is always a huge hurdle between making a patent go from concept to reality. Also, the iPhone 9 is going to be a guaranteed release as well. We don’t know if it will be called the iPhone 9 or the iPhone Pro or the iPhone 8S but we know that Apple will launch a new smartphone next fall like they do every single year.

Tim Cook has also made some comments previously about Apple Pencil and the iPhone. See for yourself:

If you’ve ever seen what can be created with that pencil on an iPad or an iPhone, it’s really unbelievable.

Let me apply some bold text just in case you missed it…

If you’ve ever seen what can be created with that pencil on an iPad or an iPhone, it’s really unbelievable.

This quote would seem to suggest that Tim Cook has already seen an Apple Pencil working on an iPhone. It would also suggest he thinks it’s “unbelievable.” His words, not mine.

The release of Apple Pencil for iPhone would definitely put some pressure on Samsung and their stranglehold on the smartphone stylus market. No other big name flagship comes with a stylus like the S Pen. This could be Apple’s opportunity to knock Samsung off their perch and take back some market share.

Of course, now we have to wonder how much the Apple Pencil will increase the iPhone 9 launch price. The iPhone 8 is already rumored to be coming in at a staggering $999 for the base storage configuration. It’s likely that Apple would sell the Pencil separately from the iPhone 9, much like they do with the iPad Pro. However, that still leaves a big competitive disadvantage between the iPhone and the Galaxy Note series. Say the iPhone 9 launch price is $999 like the iPhone 8 but the Apple Pencil is not bundled… Now you’re looking at an additional cost to get similar functionality to what the Galaxy Note offers at $960 (assuming the price doesn’t change for next year). That’s going to be a hard sell for Apple. The die hard Apple fans won’t think twice but the average consumer might start sweating just thinking about the cost.

With all that said, it makes a lot of sense to have Apple Pencil support ready for the iPhone 9 launch. This gives Apple an entire year to figure out pricing and manufacturing strategy. The success of the Galaxy Note 8 may play some role in Apple’s decision making as well. If the Galaxy Note 8 is a flop and the Pencil-less iPhone 8 does well; Apple likely won’t worry too much about bundling Apple Pencil with the iPhone next fall. If the iPhone 8 lags in sales behind the Galaxy Note 8, you can bet that Apple will try to have a solution ready to go in order to take some market share.

At the risk of getting way too far ahead of myself… What do you think of Apple Pencil support for future iPhone models? Would that make you more likely to buy or does it not really factor into your decision making?