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.
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