Our company has on contract a number of graphic designers, and each one of them uses the standard drawing tablet for the industry– a Wacom tablet; the little drawing device that plugs into a Mac or Windows PC so artists can use a pen to draw digitally. Apple just put the hurt on that unique industry. How?
iPad, Meet Big And Pencil
Of tablets, former Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs was quoted as saying, ‘If you need a stylus, you’ve already failed,’ or, ‘If you see a stylus, they’re doing it wrong.’
Of course, Android tablets and smartphones have had a stylus of one size or another for years, and though you could buy a stylus to use as the pointing device on an iPad (some even for drawing), it was never fully sanctioned by Apple. Until now.
Apple’s new iPad Pro has a special screen that works with the Apple Pencil, a $99 stylus of sorts that’s far more digital pen or pencil than mere mundane stylus. It’s not that Jobs was wrong about the stylus. He was right. But a stylus just does what your finger does, perhaps a bit more accurately– it touches the iPad’s screen to make navigation a bit easier.
Pencil is different. Much different. In fact, Pencil is as different from a typical tablet stylus as a Tesla is from a Kia Rio. Both are cars. Both get you there. But only one does it in a way that oozes quality and capability.
Using a real pen or pencil is an experience in manual dexterity. Each line requires subtle pressures and graduated angles to product a drawing on paper. Pencil is like that. Both the iPad Pro and the Pencil have sensors that measure pressure and position on the screen (and a dozen other things of import, including rejecting your palm or other fingers which may touch the screen), so the Pencil itself can act as the ultimate drawing tool with a range that goes from precision to doodle, from calligraphy to bezier, all on the iPad Pro’s abundant screen.
So far, every Wacom users I’ve talked with where I work in San Francisco is ready to toss their Wacom tablets. Wacom is a publicly traded company with a once high-flying stock. My gut tells me those days are gone for good.