AMITIAE - Wednesday 25 February 2015
Pencil by Fifty-Three: Bluetooth Stylus for the iPad (Bangkok Post, Life)
By Graham K. Rogers
And then something wonderful happened. First, users were allowed web apps on the iPhone; then the app store arrived and the landscape changed totally. The apps that were developed and the uses to which iPhones were put, caught many, including Apple, by surprise. As more types of apps appeared, so the device evolved. Despite subdued applause for the "breakthrough Internet device" at that 2007 event, non-phone uses have become its greatest strength.
Many apps for photography appeared, and some realised that the device could be used for graphics too. One was the English artist, David Hockney, who produced many works for his friends using Brushes, an app that was featured at the iPad announcement. Last week (15 Feb) an exhibition of Hockney's output using Brushes on the iPad opened at the Salts Mill Gallery, Saltaire, Bradford.
I did look for the Wacom Bamboo stylus several months ago, but was unable to find this in Bangkok; and Wacom ignored my inquiry. It is available now. There was also much interest when the iPad app, Paper by 53, was updated and the developer released a stylus, appropriately named Pencil. This was initially available only in the USA but in mid-2014 was released for worldwide sales.
While I have not seen Pencil here, it is in the Apple store for the USA and also on Amazon. I ordered one a couple of weeks ago. There are three options: Gold, Walnut and Aluminum. The Walnut version has magnets inside so that it can be attached to devices. It is priced at $59.95 (1952 baht) as is the Gold version. The Aluminum one is slightly cheaper at $49.95 (1616 baht). With shipping and a deposit for import fees that came to 3377 baht, although 854 baht of the import charge was refunded.
Pencil is also Bluetooth capable and pairs easily when touched to the stylus icon in the Paper toolbar. When paired, the tip is pressure sensitive and the top of the stylus acts as an eraser.
Pencil by 53 - USB Charging (charged on right)
While using the stylus, I found I was applying considerable pressure, although experience will change this. Tips will wear out, but these can be replaced. 53 also warns that the eraser will eventually wear out too.
Trying out Brushes in Paper on iPad - Pairing icon on the Left
There is a 7-day free trial with no restrictions like watermarking. The cost is shown as $49.99 and there is educational pricing. It recognised the iPad app when I started that and asked for permission to connect. I was able to work on the iPad but see input on the Mac screen. I tried it with ArtRage as well as some other graphics applications. Input on the iPad went right onto the Mac version: impressive.
Astropad on iPad and Mac
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.
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