The iPhone X Plus could copy the Galaxy Note with an 'iPen'

Analysts claim that the premium 2018 iPhone will support Apple Pencil.

Gordon Gottsegen CNET contributor
Gordon Gottsegen is a tech writer who has experience working at publications like Wired. He loves testing out new gadgets and complaining about them. He is the ghost of all failed Kickstarters.
Gordon Gottsegen
2 min read
James Martin

"Who wants a stylus?" Steve Jobs famously asked when he unveiled the original iPhone in 2007, implying that the answer was "no one." Now, 11 years later, analysts believe that a new iPhone may work with a stylus anyway.

The prediction comes from analysts at investment firm Rosenblatt Securities (via AppleInsider), who believe that a premium 2018 6.5-inch OLED iPhone (referred to as the iPhone X Plus) will support an "iPen" device.

iPhone support for a pen would firmly veer into Samsung territory, where Apple's biggest rival pioneered the use of a digital stylus in the Galaxy Note series. Note phones , like the Galaxy Note 8, have included a stylus (called the S Pen) ever since.

Apple's support for a digital pen could bolster Samsung's bragging rights over innovation, and also popularize the digital stylus at the time we expect  to see Samsung's next stylus-wielding phone, presumed to be the Galaxy Note 9.

The "iPen" would not be included in the box with the iPhone X Plus, according to analysts. If true, that would give Samsung's Galaxy Note phones an advantage. Those phones have a hollowed-out holster to store the included stylus.

The rumor also comes a month before Apple and Samsung meet in court, where it will be determined how much money Samsung will owe Apple for infringing on several design patents. 

The report doesn't specify whether the iPen refers to Apple's existing Apple Pencil stylus or an all-new device, and Rosenblatt Securities did not immediately answer when we reached out. 

Watch this: See how the Apple Pencil works with the new iPad

The Apple Pencil initially launched as an exclusive accessory to the 2015 iPad Pro. It wasn't until last month when the Pencil became compatible with a non-iPad Pro model, the new 9.7-inch iPad. Still, the Apple Pencil is only compatible with iPads for now.

Instead, Apple could make a smaller iPen stylus that works specifically with a plus-size phone. Samsung's Galaxy Note family has made its stylus the defining feature of the phone, which sets it apart from other premium devices. 

Adopting an "iPen" would also fit into the rumors we're hearing about Apple's phone strategy for 2018. The tech giant is rumored to release three new iPhones in September: the 6.5-inch OLED iPhone X Plus mentioned above, a 5.8-inch OLED iPhone X successor and a cheaper 6.1-inch LCD iPhone.

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These three iPhones are said to come at varying prices with different levels of features to match. This is best represented by the iPhone's rumored code names. According to Rosenblatt Securities, the 6.5-inch OLED iPhone is nicknamed Rolls-Royce, the 5.8-inch OLED iPhone is nicknamed Porsche and the 6.1-inch LCD model is called Jaguar (note that a previous rumor claimed the iPhone SE 2 was code-named Jaguar).

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.