If it wasn't obvious before, it should be now: Microsoft is serious about the stylus. Ahem - "pen". While numbers haven't been confirmed, Microsoft earlier this year acquired a company called N-trig, makers of some advanced (and great-looking) pens that were already a popular add-on choice for Redmond's Surface tablets.
I admit that despite having owned two different tablets that came with a stylus, they may have well not existed. After goofing around with them on the first day of unboxing, I just never found a need to use one. Microsoft doesn't see it that way, and in fact, it sounds like you're entering dangerous territory if you dare call these writing utensils a "stylus".
The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern recently had a conversation with the chief of Microsoft's Surface Hardware Group Panos Panay and gained some insight into just how it is the company feels about these pens:
"We don't call it a stylus! We call the pen a pen. We don't want people to think of it as using it to tap the screen for clicking or double clicking. This is meant to be another way to move thoughts and emotions from your heart and mind to the screen. That's very different than a stylus."
I can honestly say I've never gotten that kind of vibe from a digital pen, but it's kind of exciting to see what it is Microsoft has in store for the future. It wants the pen to be used like a real pen, and for the screen to be as responsive as paper. I think we have a ways to go, but even if it's perfected, I can't help but wonder who would rather opt for it over simply using the keyboard. Using a pen makes things much more personal, but using the keyboard tends to be neater, and perhaps quicker.
Maybe Microsoft has some surprises in store that will make any naysayers like me actually opt to use the pen? I'd love to see it.