Steve Jobs said 'nobody wants a stylus' when he announced the iPhone back in 2007. Ever since then, most tablet makers have taken the idea of 'if it comes with a stylus you're doing it wrong' and run with it. Sure some of the slate style tablets sold to businesses included a stylus, but the most popular devices over the last few years have been of the decidedly non-stylus variety, including the iPad. Lenovo and HTC released tablets in 2011 with a stylus, but neither the Flyer or IdeaPad made much of an impression on consumers (except maybe for Flyer's $500 price on a 7-inch tablet).
The touchscreen is now one of the tech wonders of the world, but a new crop of devices are popping up, inexplicably, with a stylus. The 5.3-inch screen of Samsung's Galaxy Note will soon be ready to accept input from the device's smart stylus in the U.S. The giant screen is obviously one of the Galaxy Note's selling point, but online excitement over the device's U.S. launch has not been tempered by its inclusion of the stylus.
Jobs even killed the Newton, Apple's 90s style version of the Palm Pilot, because it had a stylus (and because they were building the iPhone). But with the Galaxy Note set to launch on AT&T, possibly in mid-February, people may be ready to accept a stylus, but for different reasons. The Newton and popular Palm Pilot were stylus-only devices, and now that capacitive touchscreen technology has advanced much further than in the 90s, there may room for devices that can recognize your finger and a stylus. There are, of course, aftermarket stylus' available for many devices including the iPad. But, a stylus made specifically for a particular device could make optimal use of what a stylus is really good at; control. Sometimes our fingers get a little mashy, and we can't be as exact as we need to be when, say, editing a photo. You might even be able to type faster with the stylus than with your fingers. Apple should include a stylus in the iPad 3, and make it fun and easy like the device itself. Tell us in the comments if you've used a stylus on your tablet and what you used it for.