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Linked by Jason Snell

Pencil’ers rejoice: Apple restoring gesture navigation

This is a very nice summation of the Apple Pencil issue from Rene Ritchie:

Betas — where software is available to developers and a portion of the public interested in testing upcoming versions of the operating system— can be something used to experiment with different features and modalities. Four-finger gesture navigation on the iPad, which began the same way — is an example. Some people loved it immediately, others wondered why they were suddenly Fruit Ninja-ing into Mail. Eventually, Apple settled on an option in Settings.

Likewise, while some have expressed dislike for Apple removing gesture-navigation from the Pencil, others have preferred it that way. The problem here, though, is that taking away a feature people have come to expect hurts the experience and perception of the product and process. Optional settings — even if the default is switched — allows for experimentation with an escape hatch for frustration.

This, to me, is what makes product betas so powerful—this is a case where Apple made a change and received some clear feedback that a portion of the Apple Pencil’s users really did want that feature to remain. I’m glad people who relied on that feature made their voices heard, and that Apple heard them and responded.

Whether Apple was always intending to bring that feature back, or changed course because of the feedback it received during the beta, is an open question. If Apple truly did change course because of customer feedback, though, I see no need for the company to hide it: Listening to customer feedback and modifying your plans accordingly should be a badge of honor, not shame.