Adonit’s “Jot Touch” + iPad= iSketchpad?

March 1st, 2012 | Posted in News

I have a number of caricature and comic artist friends who swear that the iPad is a very functional tool for sketching, drawing and painting. I’ve seen some impressive results by several digital artists, but in my personal experience the iPad lacks two important features to make it a truly useful art tool: a stylus that uses a reasonably-precise point (as opposed to a marshmallow tip) and pressure sensitivity. Yes, you can apparently work around the lack of these features and create some good art, but you can work around the limitations of using a broken stick and dirt also… by why would you want to? I’m sorry, I have to have better control of the interaction between the end of my drawing instrument and the surface I am drawing on to do functional drawing. If it doesn’t feel like natural drawing to me, then it’s useless.

At CES this year, Adonit debuted a new digital stylus for iOS devices called the Jet Touch that uses Bluetooth to transmit the pressure-sensitivity data, and has a more usable tip in the form of a small, plastic disk adhered to the end of a tiny ball. The video above shows the device in use.

I’m not wild about the disk on the tip, but it sure must beat those stupid, pillow-ended styluses that are the status quo today. If the pressure-sensitivity works well (i.e. really controlling line width and opacity in real time), AND if the disk-tip is something that still allows for a more precise drawing experience, they might just have a winner here. The Jot Touch is scheduled to be released sometime next month at a price of less than $100.

All that said, I am not sure what good it will do me personally past the novelty of being able to draw easily on my iPad, but it is very high on the cool scale regardless.


  1. Bearman says:

    I had high hopes for the ipad to let me be more mobile when ideas struck me to at least get part of my projects done. I have seen some amazing work by others but that darn sponge tip never lets me put the stylus where I think I am putting it.

  2. tommy b says:

    im thinking it would be great with my bamboo external pen that im diggin

  3. As in all things, different strokes for different folks. I love painting on the iPad and have been able to get really precise results, even with the ‘pillow-ended stylus’, which is an accurate description. I would not, however, try to convince anybody that they had to do it, because we’re all spending our own money. It works for me, though.

    I used the Dagi stylus that had a disk on the end and it scratched my iPad in a few places, so I’m reluctant to try another disk-tip device, but it’s always cool to see what’s being created out there.

    All that being said, the iPad is still relatively new and as demand grows for more functionality, I’ve no doubt that a future edition will give artists exactly what they’re looking for.

  4. Peter Davis says:

    I’ve tried all the available stylii on both iPad and Android tablets, and been disappointed. This looks like an improvement (once apps support the pressure), but still not enough to beat my other mobile solution: clipboard + paper + pencil. It’s cheap, versatile and incredibly expressive.

  5. A. Simpson says:

    Check out, they also make a pressure sensitive stylus. But this stylus has 1024 pressure points, compaired to 200 pressure ponts that the Addonit has. So it might be closer to a Wacom Tablets.
    Thats the one I am looking forward to.

    • Donn says:

      I’m a backer of the jaja project. Its release has been pushed back to late May, but I’ll be among the first to receive it when it ships.

  6. Dani says:

    For what it’s worth, having drawn on the iPad a lot and used many styluses, the Adonit Jot stylus is my favorite. I was ecstatic when I heard that they were the ones behind the pressure-sensitive stylus.

    The point tip is easier to work with than the sponge tips, but there is still a bit of getting used to. Like all digital drawing, there is a parallax between the pen and the screen. However, on the iPad, there is no cursor that you can focus on, so it’s harder to know exactly where you’re drawing.

  7. Sam Sutton says:

    Have you heard of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1″ which will be released soon? It has a pressure sensitive stylus and Wacom software I believe. Looks pretty good – can’t wait to try it out!

    • Tom says:

      Yes, and I personally think that the iPad will always be limited in terms of this type of use as it’s currently designed hardware-wise. A different device that has drawing as a part of it’s initial design, as opposed to being an afterhtought like the iPad, will likely be the more successful solution.

    • Donn says:

      Yes, it looks promising. The only problem is the shortage of creative apps on Android as compared to iOS.

      Android is a more expensive platform to develop for, due to the huge range of devices that need to be tested.

  8. Houston says:

    The main benefit I see from tablets is the ability to make and update art while on the road. Now rather than having to carry a pad to jot down rough ideas and then transfer them to your main machine later, you can at least “Rough” it out and then upload it to your main machine when you have time.

    I’m not an iPad fan, but I see lots of things coming which makes me think tablet/PC integration wll be much more integrated and useful this year. I’m pretty excited by it.

    With that said, you are right, tablets are WAYYYY behind as far as being a main input.

    • Donn says:

      The fact is that most people are happy without a stylus. Multitouch has been the key to the iPad’s success and enabled it to usher in the Post PC era.

      Do you remember when Microsoft tried to push everyone into pen computing via their Windows XP tablets? Hardly anybody bought them.

  9. Joe wos says:

    tom, also at Ces this year Samsung hired a slew of caricaturist to draw on the new galaxy note. which is preasure sensitive with a stylus. they then email it to you on the spot. what are your thoughts?

  10. Donn says:

    This is a very good write-up of the iPad stylus situation:

    My comment at the bottom sums up my thoughts.


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