MacDirectory Magazine

Fall-Winter 2011

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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Page 47 of 115

FEA TURE REVIEW WHY NOT WRITE ON YOUR IPAD? WORDS BY RIC GETTER When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone, he made a rather firm point of the fact that the new device did not need a stylus. The once-essential accessory for handhelds and PDAs was deemed too 20th-century and too limited for the new, more versatile interface, Apple's revolutionary Multi- Touch technology. Multi-Touch depended on using an object with about the same conductivity as a fingertip. However the fact remains that unless your preferred medium is finger paint, not having something like a stylus can be a real drawback if you want to write or sketch on your Multi-Touch surface. That didn't stop developers from launching some rather incredible writing and drawing software. The hardware people quickly followed along with tools that felt like a finger if you happed to be an iPhone and could be held like a stylus if you happened to be human. Styli With Style Ten One Designs was the first company out of the gate with the Pogo Sketch and Pogo Stylus. They worked equally well with the iPhone and the just-introduced Multi-Touch glass trackpads on the MacBooks (when teamed up with the company's Inklet application). The aluminum-bodied Sketch and slightly shorter Stylus ($14.95 for either, cat amused). The business end reverses with one side being a stylus with a broad, though very smooth tip and the other being a refillable ballpoint pen. We found the tip glides nicely across both screens and trackpads though the combination approach is a bit heavy to hold, but not uncomfortably so. The company also offers a lighter, single-purpose stylus ($19.95) in a choice of ten colors. AutoDesk, makers of AutoCAD, Maya, Smoke, and a variety of other products with price tags running into four to five figures offers a far more affordable deal for the handheld set without compromising its reputation for producing top-end, pro-quality tools. Sketchbook Pro ($4.99, ) lets you work with With its years of experience in graphics tablets, it's not surprising to find that Wacom chose to enter the stylus market with its Bamboo Stylus ($29.99, ) and is our favorite of the three we tried. The tip is thinner than the Griffin, offers a smidgen more resistance across glass screens and has the best balance and overall feel of the group. If you're working with a drawing app that offers pressure sensitivity, it is has the most natural response of those that we tried. Writing and Drawing Wacom also markets an iPad app, Bamboo Paper (free for a single document, $1.99 for a 20-notebook "refill", 1/2 stars based on five stars) are skinnier and lighter than most writing implements but get the job done. The spongy foam tip feels a bit sticky on screens but glides smoothly over a trackpad. The Pogo Sketch Pro ($24.95), scheduled to ship just after we go to press, will offer a more artist-friendly contoured shape and a new- technology, replaceable tip, promising state-of-the-art sensitivity. up to 12 layers on a 2,048-by-1,536–pixel canvas and has the ability to incorporate photos into images. Casual users, however, may find the app's learning curve a bit steep owing to its extensive toolbox and its unique interface. (The interface does, however, prove to be exceptionally fluid after you get the hang of it.) Though more limited, in some respects, Inspire Pro by KiwiPixel ($7.99, ) is a bit easier to learn while providing some rather inspiring brush effects. Using an iPad for taking handwritten notes is still, in our opinion, a work in progress. The Software Garden and PhatWare have been doing a great deal of work on Note Taker HD ($4.99, PhatPad ($7.99, ) and ). Both are rich in ) for jotting down a few words or diagrams with a stylus. It's your most basic option, but has a responsive feel and will do the job. features for integrating text and drawings, sharing documents and coping with writing on a glass screen. And, they both offer handwriting recognition features, with PhatPad providing something close to real-time handwriting to text conversion and Note Taker HD having a limited, after- the-fact recognition capability. Note Taker has a handy zoomed writing feature that brings up a text entry area at the bottom of the screen, scaling down the text on the actual notes page. This makes your text-intensive jottings a good deal easier and neater. With its graphics integration, PhatPad's forte is as a brainstorming and presentation tool. However, if your note taking is primarily text, even hunt-and- peck keyboarding with Notes or a similar app may be more practical (and a good deal less frustrating). Prolific accessory producer Griffin most recently released its multi-tasking Stylus + Pen + Laser Pointer ($49.95, ), an all-in-one device. Inside the top of this fairly hefty stylus/pen is a laser pointer to aid when giving presentations (or keeping your Sketchbook Pro illustration by Justin Rawcliffe Though Apple's decision to opt out of the stylus business in iOS seems to make sense if all you're planning to do is write notes, their tablet has proved itself a most worthy drawing tool. Serving as a virtual pen, pencil, paintbrush or palette knife, a good stylus and inspiring app will open up a whole new world for the iPad-toting artist. 46 MacDirectory

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