Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Apple Pencil

Gus Mueller:

It feels absolutely right. Super low latency, palm rejection, and … it just works.

Is it the same as drawing in my sketchbook? No. Of course not. I’m rubbing a plastic tip across a glass screen.

It’s still God Damn Amazing though.

Serenity Caldwell:

But it does something heretofore unexpected: It beats Wacom at its own game. The Pencil is just as good a sketching tool as any Wacom pen. I don’t care that we don’t know its official pressure rating. It’s right. Apple got it right. The pressure, the accuracy, the lag, the palm rejection. My brain is fully and thoroughly tricked into believing it’s drawing on paper, and even the pen on glass sensation can’t convince me otherwise.

Myke Hurley:

When this happens the weights actually seem to give it momentum, and will propel it forward further and faster than it would have otherwise. Each time as the Pencil turns, it acts against itself as it is moving to quickly to balance, and on it goes, off the table.

In all honesty, I’m not sure that putting weights in the Pencil is the right way to solve this issue. Even Apple’s own Marc Newson put a clip on his recent Mont Blanc pen which would stop this from happening. I wish Apple would have considered this when designing the Pencil.

Jean-Louis Gassée:

As I write this, the Smart Keyboard and the Apple Pencil are still at least three weeks away. One assumes that the DRI (Directly Responsible Individual) in charge of the iPad Pro Supply Chain now works at a procurement office for rare minerals in Mongolia’s Ulaanbaatar. (An Apple Store employee took pity on me and sold me a Pencil from a freshly arrived shipment. I may need to get another…I’ve left mine at home more than once.)

Liz Marley:

It is a small, expensive device, which I basically expect to lose. And I don’t see a good way to attach a TrackR to its sleek exterior. But! It is bluetooth-paired to a rather large iPad. There’s no microphone, either in the official description or in the teardown, so it probably can’t be pinged. But maybe an iPad app could still give you a vague hotter/colder indicator? Or if it went out of range, the GPS location of the last time they were together?

Paul Haddad:

I know the Apple Pencil charges super fast, but is it me or is standby life pretty crappy? Charged it yesterday, haven’t used it, 75% now.

I recently played around with an iPad Pro. The Pencil really is amazing. It is much more comfortable to hold than I would have expected from the photos. Yes, it does not feel like drawing on paper, but there is a bit of texture from the Pencil tip, so it doesn’t really feel like glass, either. It’s faster than other styluses I’ve used, although there was more lag in Adobe Sketch than I was expecting based on the reviews. It took a long time to get it working in the Notes app because of a bug that hid the button for entering drawing mode. (I never had that problem on my iPhone.) I found that I really liked using the Pencil for non-drawing purposes, controlling the interface with a more precise instrument than my finger. More generally, the iPad Pro seems like a good product, but I, personally, have no use for it. I was not impressed by the keyboard and found the multitasking confusing.

Update (2015-12-04): Christopher Phin:

Let me be completely clear: this is the best digital drawing tool there has ever been. Better than a Wacom Intuos, better than a Wacom Cintiq, and better, by a margin so wide it's downright comical, than any other stylus for iOS or Android.

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"The iPad Pro seems like a good product, but I, personally, have no use for it."

It's interesting how many reviews (including Gruber's) end with that sentiment. It's usually not a good sign. "It's good... for somebody else" is often a conclusion that "somebody else" tends to share.

I haven't played around with an iPad Pro yet. I've used to use a Cintiq, and I'm now using Surfaces mostly because they are real working computers in tablet form and with really good styluses, so I think the iPad Pro might be a workable option for me. But I *do* need some kind of document management, working split-screen multitasking (still not sure how many iPad apps support that properly), and a simple way of moving files between apps. I also need a good, precise vector image editor, pixel image editor, something like OmniGraffle for creating wireframes, a text editor, and so on. A set of really good pro-level apps, in short.

Also, I love the fact that on the Surface, I can easily do precise interactions using my Arc mouse, or the touchpad.

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