Finally good enough to replace pen and paper?

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I’ve been rather dismissive of the iPad Pro in my thoughts about this month’s Apple event.
The funny thing is, that I should not be.

Here’s why: I have been using my regular iPad for drawing with lukewarm success. I’ve bought all the cool apps (ProCreate, 53, Sketchbook, …) and I’ve tried a number of expensive styli (including the Pogo Connect and 53’s Pencil). It is true that all of this stuff makes the iPad into a decent drawing tool and the best apps have an acceptable palm rejection when you draw.

The thing is: “decent” and “acceptable” is not really what you’re looking for when you want to get some serious drawing done with a tablet. It is okay, because the iPad does more than that, but for me it always has been a bit of a let down (I can see Jimmy’s smug smile right now). Microsoft’s Surface was clearly way ahead of the iPad in that respect, but there are many reasons why I certainly would not care at all to own one.

I sort of eyed the Wacom Cintiq 13HD in the past months. Wacom’s Cintiqs are famous and are considered the best tools for drawing and sketching on a computer. This was triggered by four Designers moving into our office and all have them are rocking giant 27 inch Cintiqs for their work. They let me sketch a little with them and – damn! – these are impressive.
This, I thought then, is what I should be looking for: a tablet kinda drawing tool, where you see on the surface what you are doing.

I did not go beyond the “eyeing” part of this thought in the end. I have hardly time to sleep right now, so why would I buy a tablet that will just collect dust in a corner?

So that’s that.

Now, it’s only in the last few days that I realized that if I had already considered a separate device for drawing, the iPad Pro with Apple’s Pencil is actually a serious option versus the Cintiq 13HD. The most obvious reasons being:

  • virtually the same screen size
  • virtually the same cost (versus the touch option of the 13HD)
  • no bulky cable needed to connect to a laptop (the Cintiq’s cables are apparently massive)
  • free from a tethered laptop
  • an operating system I enjoy
  • can do more than drawing
  • arguably a better screen and a better stylus

The last point we will have to see. I am reading from people who have some draftsman skills that the screen of the iPad Pro is way better than that of any Cintiq and that Apple’s Pencil beats Wacom’s due to it’s slim and ergonomic design. Some claim that lag on the iPad Pro is less, too. But with the iPad Pro only launching in November, it’s certainly more interesting to see what the majority of serious artists thinks after having had their hands on it.

I know what you think, but no: I am not going to buy one in November.

But as mentioned in the beginning, there is no reason for me to be dismissive of the iPad Pro. I am still not convinced that it will sell a lot in the market. But for me, and once I am sleeping again, the Pro could be an interesting addition as drawing device and in fact the thing I’ve been looking for for a while.

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