A new Note 9 feature just got officially confirmed, and it looks like a game-changer, which will appeal to anyone into design, photography or listening to music.
That feature is an upgraded S Pen, which has been confirmed as packing Bluetooth connectivity.
The confirmation, which comes mere weeks before the phone's Unpacked launch event on August 9, came from official Federal Communications Commission (FCC) documents, which detail the phone's "Stylus Pen" (model number EJ-PN960) will connect to the Note 9 over 2.4GHz Bluetooth LE.
While the FCC documents don't mention precisely what the new S Pen, which was recently described as having a "soul", will be able to do, respected Samsung leakster Ice universe (opens in new tab) reacted to the news on Twitter by saying that the stylus could be used as a "long-range self-timer" and to "control music".
Here is the Tweet in full:
The Galaxy Note9 SPen can be used to control long-range self-timer, control music playback, because it is a Bluetooth device, it will do something unrelated to the pen. pic.twitter.com/WPS83xUskqJuly 1, 2018
To us at T3, though, four new usage scenarios make sense for a Bluetooth-powered S Pen, with each leaning firmly toward creative applications.
The first is in design applications. A brand new S Pen, in partnership with Samsung DeX, would allow Wacom-style functionality, meaning that designers, illustrators, and photography enthusiasts would be able to use the stylus in apps like Adobe PhotoShop and Illustrator.
Imagine drawing, shading, colouring and more on the Note 9, with the phone acting as a super-accurate trackpad, then by clicking the S Pen's button activating various tools or modes on the fly, with DeX allowing you to view your actions on a large monitor.
Next up, as Ice universe alludes to, music playback would benefit from a Bluetooth-enabled S Pen.
We envision a scenario where you can use the S Pen's button akin to those on a pair of Bluetooth headphones, where you could click once to pause, or long press or double press to shift tracks, all the while continuing to use the stylus for another purpose, like writing or drawing.
Third, the new S Pen could be used a long-range controller for the Note 9's camera.
You could set up the phone for a large group selfie, move 5 to 10 metres back, and then depending on whether you just press the button once, double press, or long press you can control when the shot is taken, adjusting things like countdown timer and shot type.
Fourth, and finally, we can see Samsung's new iteration of its AI assistant, Bixby 2.0, being summoned with the Note 9's S Pen.
Users would be able to simply click the button to prime Bixby for commands immediately without having to say "Hi Bixby", which would be welcome, and if the new S Pen has some form of mic built in, too, then the stylus may even allow you to make commands remotely at long-range as well.
Imagine you are working on your car outside while streaming music to a portable speaker from your Note 9, which is positioned inside for safety, and you want a change. By having the S Pen in your pocket you could quickly raise Bixby and then ask the assistant to switch albums for you, all the while not moving from the engine bay of the vehicle.
Whether or not all these features are delivered by the new S Pen remains to be seen. However, if only a portion of them are delivered, then we'd be bang on board, as we feel Samsung's productivity powerhouse Note series could be made even better with additional stylus applications and functionality.
Roll on August 9…