Although styluses and smartphones have existed together for years, the iPhone has always ignored the pairing. After all, "Who wants a stylus?" But ever since the Apple Pencil made its debut on iPad, the rumor mill has churned out the idea that an iPhone could one day see stylus support. That day will probably come with the release of iPhone 11, and there's a good indicator to make its case.
Apple is set to announce iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, and iPhone 11R next month. Those devices will run iOS 13, which has been in beta testing since June. However, the company unexpectedly released the first developer beta for iOS 13.1 and iPadOS 13.1 on Tuesday, Aug. 27. In the software's release notes, Apple mentions apps that include PencilKit support can be submitted to the App Store:
If your app links PencilKit, and its deployment target is iOS 13.1 or later, you can now submit it to the App Store. (53811027)
It's the first time Apple has publicly acknowledged PencilKit support for "iOS" since the beta started in June, lending credibility to Apple Pencil rumors on the iPhone 11. In previous beta release notes for iOS 13 and iPadOS 13, mentions of "PencilKit" did not specify an OS version. So until now, the best pieces evidence we had for the rumor were analyst predictions as well as iPhone 11 cases with a built-in Apple Pencil holder.
Still, we can't go so far as to say Apple Pencil support is definite. For one, Apple does not discuss PencilKit development specifically for iPadOS except on the iPad developer webpage. Most references of it have been vague or associated with "iOS 13," and that's likely because they don't want to draw attention to the upcoming iPhone models. If they clearly labeled the note about iOS 13.1 support as iOS 13.1 and iPadOS 13.1, then it would unintentionally leak a new product feature coming up.
So, the new revelation in 13.1's release notes may just be the company saying "iPadOS 13.1" instead to keep possible product hints at bay. Then again, the company does clearly identify iPadOS in some areas of its site, with no mention of iOS, lending support to the rumor. But Apple usually releases features like this after it has announced them, only supporting stock Apple apps at first, giving developers time in the following betas to prepare their apps.
For now, we'll just need to take this Apple Pencil idea with a grain of salt. However, there should be no shock if Tim Cook reverses Apple's Jobs-era stance on the iPhone and styluses next month.