Ever since the very first iPad, drawing has been one of the tasks the iPad has been well-known for – with its multi-touch display and a range of apps for drawing, illustrating and sketching. However, in my experience, drawing on an iPad hasn’t always been as accurate or precise as I’d like it to be. Being limited to ‘drawing’ with a finger or a 3rd party accessory have not been ideal for achieving the precision needed.
Styluses were one way of getting around this, and while there are some fairly good ones out there, at the end of the day the previous models of iPad had generally not been designed for use a stylus. Now comes the new Apple Pencil, which has been designed specifically for the new iPad Pro and promises to give you the precision you require. That said, I wouldn’t call it a stylus, because it isn’t as simple as that. I’ve recently spend a number of weeks with the Apple Pencil to get an idea on how I’ll help me be creative on the iPad, and my experience was much better than anything else I have used in the past.
Given its name, the Apple Pencil is shaped very much like a pencil – it white in appearance and extremely comfortable to use. Apple have designed it in a way which will have you using the Apple Pencil naturally just like a traditional pencil. Clearly lot of thought went into the design, because it is even weighted the so that the Apple Pencil will always display the ‘Apple Pencil’ name and logo etched in a silver ring at the top of the device.
When iPad Pro senses Apple Pencil, the subsystem scans its signal at an astounding 240 times per second, giving it twice the data points it normally collects with your finger.
The way that iPad Pro is designed for the Apple Pencil makes a huge difference to how it works on device. The iPad Pro knows when you’re using your Apple Pencil vs. when you’re using your finger, it scans for the tip of the Apple Pencil and when it does so will scan for data from the Pencil 240 times a second. This means there is almost no lag at all and a highly responsive experience, even while rapidly sketching with the Apple Pencil the iPad Pro has no delay what so ever.
The Apple Pencil also has several sensors, which measure various elements as you use it with your iPad Pro – including integration into developer apps – giving a unique experience to each app. The Apple Pencil can:
- Calculate the exact orientation and angle of your hand.
- Measure force – i.e. how hard you’re pressing which will mean the difference between a thin or thick line while drawing.
- Detect tilt, and the angle of the Apple Pencil allowing for shading like a traditional pencil.
With an advanced drawing app, such as Procreate, the Apple Pencil allowed me to interact with my drawing on the iPad Pro like never before. I was able to choose from a huge number of virtual pencil and brush types, and use the Apple Pencil to complete an illustration. These sensors meant I was able to tilt the Apple Pencil to create some shading and easily fill in sections with colour. It feels natural to use and mimics using an actual pencil. I will note that one missed opportunity is the potential for the other end of the Apple Pencil act like an eraser as many digital tablet pens do, but this is only a minor oversight in terms of functionality.
Where to Buy & Pricing
The new iPad Pro is also available starting at A$1,249 in Australia and NZ$1,399 in New Zealand also shipping from the Apple Online Store.