stylus Stories May 24, 2016

An Apple Pencil for iPad Air 2, iPad mini and iPhone: Adonit launches new $79 Pixel stylus as worthy competitor to Apple Pencil

Update: Adonis Pixel is now on sale for $69.99.

The stylus market was shaken up last fall with Apple’s first-party entrance into the race with the Apple Pencil, which works in concert with special sensors in the iPad Pro display for pixel-accurate recognition. This left third-party stylus accessory manufacturers in a quandary — how can they compete with the officially-endorsed Apple Pencil?

The Pixel stylus is the answer from Adonit, on sale today for $79.99. Not only is Adonit’s stylus $20 cheaper than Apple’s, it has a huge advantage in terms of iOS device compatibility. It’s the closest you’ll get to an Apple Pencil for an iPhone, or an Apple Pencil for iPad that isn’t a Pro model.

stylus Stories April 21, 2016

9to5Toys Last Call: 12.9-inch iPad Pro 32GB $650, Adonit Jot Pro Stylus $22, more

Keep up with the best gear and deals on the web by signing up for the 9to5Toys Newsletter. Also, be sure to check us out on: TwitterRSS FeedFacebookGoogle+ and Safari push notifications.

TODAY’S CAN’T MISS DEALS:

Last Call Updates:

SanDisk’s new iXpand Flash Drive for iPhone & iPad sports a fresh design and speed boost

Mpow Apple MFI Certified 3100mAh Power for iPhone 6/s $10 w/ code JPRA8LHY (Reg. $26) | Amazon

Mpow Apple MFI Certified 2400mAh Power for iPhone 5/s/SE  $10 w/ code JPRA8LHY (Reg. $26) | Amazon

Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro 32GB Wi-Fi in all colors: $650 shipped (Reg. $799)

Apple iPad Air 16GB Wi-Fi in Space Gray or Silver $249 shipped (Orig. $399)

Adonit Jot Pro Fine Point Stylus for iPad, iPhone & Android devices: $22 Prime shipped (Reg. $30)

JayBird X2 Sport Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds in multiple colors: $100 w/ in-store pickup (Reg. $130), more

Readdle’s Calendars 5 for iOS goes free for the first time in years (Reg. up to $7)

App Store Free App of the Week: Space Marshals goes free for the very first time ($5 value)

Upgrade Your Mac with 3 Great Apps: Scapple $9 (Orig. $15), STAMP Premium $5 (Orig. $10), Ghostnote $7 (Orig. $10)

Apple offers Day One 2 iOS journal app for free ($10 value)

The best accessories for Apple’s 12-inch MacBook: USB-C cables, hubs, flash storage, more

Apple drops the price on refurbished 12-inch MacBooks, now start at $929 shipped

Review: Are these third-party $11 Apple Watch Sport bands any good? Turns out, they aren’t too bad.

MORE NEW GEAR FROM TODAY:

Save $10/month by owning your cable modem: NETGEAR DOCSIS 3.0 $47 (Reg. $60), more

MORE DEALS STILL ALIVE:

Audio-Technica ATH-M40X Over-Ear Headphones + FiiO E6 Amp: $82 shipped ($105 value), more

Smartphone Accessories: Pad & Quill Timber Catchall Stand for Apple Watch in cherry wood finish $64 (Reg. $99), more

NEW PRODUCTS & MORE:

Edelkrone wants to replace your tripod with its slick new camera stand

stylus Stories April 7, 2016

Beyond-Ink-Pen-Stylus

It looks like a normal ballpoint ink pen, and it is, but hidden away in Bond-esque, spy gadget-fashion is a built-in 1,000 mAh battery with a Lightning connector, a 16GB USB flash drive, and a stylus attachment that lets you go from paper to touchscreen. 

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stylus Stories December 13, 2015

Apple Pencil clip 16-9

Apple Pencil is a terrific digital stylus that transforms iPad Pro into a highly capable electronic sketch pad and notebook, but it’s dead simple design potentially leaves something to be desired for some users. For example, its cylindrical-shaped symmetrical body lacks a basic pen clip for attaching it to your shirt pocket or elsewhere, which makes it look prettier and simpler but means it easily rolls down inclines and can’t attach to cases or pockets. Apple has weighted it internally to sit in place on a flat surface cleverly with the Apple Pencil marking facing upward, but it’s still no match for a slight slant and where exactly are you supposed to put it?

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stylus Stories November 27, 2015

ipadstyluses-1

As mentioned on an earlier Happy Hour podcast, I have a giant collection of iPad styluses, having tested dozens of them since the first iPad debuted in 2010. Earlier this week, my colleague Zac Hall reviewed the best (and most expensive) iPad stylus, Apple’s brand-new $99 Apple Pencil, which is hard to find in stores, and only works with the 12.9″ iPad Pro.

Since the Apple Pencil is two to six times as expensive as some other options, I wanted to spotlight its key strengths and weaknesses relative to rivals, all of which are more broadly compatible and readily available to purchase. During testing, I discovered that the Apple Pencil actually benefits from a surprising little Apple software cheat to make an ultra-fine first impression…

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stylus Stories November 24, 2015

Apple Pencil iPad Pro

[UPDATE: Apple Pencil now supports the 9.7-inch iPad Pro as well.]

Aside from its larger 12.9-inch display and faster A9X processor, the iPad Pro stands out from all other iPads to date thanks primarily to a new accessory: the Apple Pencil. For now, the Apple Pencil can only be used with the iPad Pro, and offers quantifiable differences in both good and bad ways compared with third-party styluses that have previously been sold for iPads.

While Pencil is not required to use the iPad Pro, it’s especially interesting because it’s Apple’s first official solution for handwriting, drawing, and precision input on iPads beyond finger touches and gestures. By contrast, Apple’s Smart Keyboard for iPad Pro is the company’s second or third typing solution for iPads; the company offered an official solution for physical keyboard input on iPads way back when the original iPad launched in 2010 with the short-lived Keyboard Dock, and has sold Wireless/Magic Keyboards as well. What does Apple’s first digital stylus bring to the iPad? Read on…

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stylus Stories November 11, 2015

ipad-pro

Will iPad Pro replace your MacBook? With the iPad Pro officially going on sale today, there is lots of discussion about what this means for the iPad category. Can it be a true Microsoft Surface competitor? Does the addition of official keyboard and stylus companion accessories from Apple mean the company has finally changed its stance on so-called hybrid laptop/tablet devices?

While the majority of reviews praised the bigger form factor, pen input with the new Apple Pencil, and benchmarks on par with some MacBook models, many reviewers pointed out iOS as the limiting factor in making the iPad Pro a PC replacement or hybrid competitor. But does it need to be?

Apple’s marketing message for the new iPad Pro is unmistakably clear. The company is romancing pro users (like Disney and Pixar animators) for the launch of the new device with most of its ads and marketing material focusing on content creation possibilities with the larger display and new Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard. And companies like Adobe are taking full advantage by making sure there is a lot of pro software available at launch. 

But how will YOU be using the new iPad Pro? Will you attempt to replace your MacBook or other device in one way or another? Or will the larger iPad Pro simply complement your current lineup of devices and add new possibilities to your workflow? That’s the question we’re asking in today’s poll, and we’ll be continuing the discussion in the comments below.  expand full story

stylus Stories November 10, 2015

iPad Pro Apple Pencil

With iPad Pro officially going on sale tomorrow (possibly at midnight tonight Cupertino time if Apple follows past launches), it’s time to move our attention to accessories for the device.

Will you go the Apple route and stock up on the official but pricey Apple keyboard, case & cover, and Apple Pencil? Or perhaps you’re looking for accessories with features that aren’t offered by Apple’s. Whatever the case, below we’ve started rounding up the best of the best accessories for iPad Pro. Most are available to order now while a couple are coming soon. We’ll be adding more as they pop up in the weeks following the iPad Pro’s launch. expand full story

stylus Stories October 8, 2015

9to5Toys Last Call: Mac app bundle $18, Belkin Lighting iPhone/iPad Dock $22, PS4 price drop, more

Keep up with the best gear and deals on the web by signing up for the 9to5Toys Newsletter. Also, be sure to check us out on: TwitterRSS FeedFacebookGoogle+ and Safari push notifications.

Today’s can’t miss deals:

Last Call Updates:

App Store Free App of the Week: Wake Alarm Clock ($4 value)

Mac Bundle: 14 Mac Apps incl. RapidWeaver, Voila Screencapture, Kinemac 3D, more: $18

Amazon Students: Belkin Lighting iPhone/iPad Dock $22, 200GB microSD $150, Bamboo stylus/pen $16, much more

Sony announces official PlayStation 4 price drop, bundles now start at just $349

13″ Retina MacBook Pro (newest) 2.7GHz/8GB/128GB: $1,080 shipped (Reg. $1,299)

Giveaway: Trinity Delta aluminum earbuds feature a unique design and top-notch sound ($135 value), 20% discount

More new gear from today:

Handmade at Amazon launches with an eye on knocking off Etsy

  • Daily Deals: Belkin NetCam HD Camera (Refurb) $60, Epson Pro Wireless Projector $450, more
  • Prime Members: Free 4-month subscription for 3 print magazines – GQ, Wired, Health, Reader’s Digest, more
  • Games/Apps: Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD Remaster $30, Power A Moga Android controller $32, iOS freebies, more
  • The absolute best (All-Clad Master Chef) 7-Piece Stainless Cookware Set: $300 shipped
  • Retro Toys 40% off: Pictionary $13, Lincoln Logs set $18, Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots $12, more
  • Canon Refurbished DSLR Sale: T5 w/ 18-55mm/50mm Lens Kit $241 shipped (Orig. $540), much more

More deals still alive:

Headphones: Bose SoundTrue Over-Ear $100 (Reg. $120), Bluetooth Earbuds from $20, more

JayBird BlueBuds X Sport Bluetooth Sweat Proof Headphones $90 shipped (Reg. $130), more

New products & more:

Dyson includes air purification in its newest hot + cool bladeless fan

Ever wonder what a $130K VIZIO Ultra HDTV looks like? Now we know.

stylus Stories September 2, 2015

Bill Graham Civic (Exposition) Auditorium, 99 Grove St, SF

Apple’s September 9th event is set to be one of the company’s largest events in history, as is reflected by the expansive size of its San Francisco venue. Besides a pair of new iPhones, the substantially revamped Apple TV set top box, and new bands for the Apple Watch, Apple is currently planning to debut a pair of new iPads at next week’s event: the long-rumored iPad Pro, and a refreshed version of the iPad mini, according to trusted sources…

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stylus Stories September 1, 2015

jotdash-1

I keep a box with around 20 iPad styluses next to my desk, so every time a new stylus arrives, I can easily compare it against its predecessors and rivals. There hasn’t been much functional innovation in the category for a couple of years, but stylus form factors, batteries, and buttons have changed, generally getting simpler and smaller after each generation. Even so, Adonit’s new Jot Dash ($50) surprised me. It comes less than 6 months after the release of Jot Script 2 (reviewed here), but looks and feels a lot different from its predecessor. Jot Script 2 costs $25 more, feels fairly thick, and uses Bluetooth 4 for (somewhat iffy) palm rejection. Jot Dash cuts both its price and size by dropping the Bluetooth hardware, while keeping the 1.9mm fine writing tip that made Script special.

Why would Adonit simplify its prior electronic styluses by removing Bluetooth? Perhaps because relatively few developers have been willing to add Bluetooth stylus support to their apps. Today, a stylus would be considered to have “good” software support if 30 of the 1.5 million iOS apps included hooks for its special features; Jot Script 2 lists just under 20 fully supported apps. So, like the $60 Lynktec Rechargeable Apex I recently reviewed, Jot Dash doesn’t require special software support — it has a simpler feature set that works with all apps and all iPads, including the iPad Air 2. It similarly includes a rechargeable battery, which gets topped off with any available USB port. The differences are the $10 lower price, and the fact that it feels a lot more like a standard-sized pen…

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stylus Stories August 20, 2015

apexr2-1

Everyone knew the iPad Air 2’s marquee features — a thinner, lighter body, Touch ID, a gold color option and much faster A8X processor — but fewer people realized that Apple also made subtle changes to the new tablet’s screen, not only improving its visibility outdoors but also changing the way it registered touch input. All of the tweaks added up to a noticeably better user experience, but one category of accessories unexpectedly wound up broken: digital styluses. As it turns out, fine-tipped styluses use tiny electrical pulses to trick touchscreens into thinking they’re fingers, and the pulses needed to be recalibrated to work reliably with the iPad Air 2’s new screen. Adonit was the first to release an iPad Air 2-compatible digital stylus, the $75 Jot Script 2 (reviewed here), and now there’s a second, more affordable option.

Lynktec is one of several stylus makers that have sought a middle ground between expensive $80-$100 Bluetooth styluses and entry-level $20-$30 styluses that lack electronic hardware. The second-generation Rechargeable Apex Stylus ($60) is, like its predecessor, a mostly silver pen with a battery inside and a shirt clip on its edge. It loses the plasticky black top and bottom in favor of a more thoroughly metallic appearance, retaining five rubber finger grips near its tip for comfort. And while it keeps the 2mm polymer writing tip of the original Rechargeable Apex, it’s now backed by electronic circuitry that works properly with the iPad Air 2, as well as all earlier iPads and iPhones…

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stylus Stories August 19, 2015

ipad-pro-03

According to respected and generally reliable analyst Ming Chi-Kuo from KGI Securities, Apple’s long-awaited 12.9-inch iPad Pro will feature Force Touch stylus support—perhaps for something like an enhanced Pencil from Paper’s FiftyThree. Earlier this month, we detailed what to expect from Force Touch on iOS including support for an enhanced stylus paired with the larger iPad models.

He expects the larger tablet to go in to production between September and October and that the stylus will be able to take advantage of the new iPad’s Force Touch-enabled screen. It’s being imagined as a feature which could help users more easily navigate the larger display of the iPad Pro. KGI has predicted an optional Lightning-charging stylus sold alongside the larger-screened iPad since earlier this year.

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stylus Stories August 10, 2015

forcetouch

While Force Touch on the Apple Watch allowed Apple to add an additional layer of buttons to a small display, the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus screens don’t lack for either real estate or buttons. So why would Force Touch be desirable on larger displays? Following up on our May report that Force Touch is coming to Apple’s next iPhones, sources who have used the iPhone 6S have provided new details on how Force Touch works and feels under iOS.

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stylus Stories May 7, 2015

9to5Toys Last Call: Belkin/Kensington iPad Keyboard cases $30, Photoshop+Premiere Elements 13 $68, more

Keep up with the best gear and deals on the web by signing up for the 9to5Toys Newsletter. Also, be sure to check us out on: TwitterRSS FeedFacebookGoogle+ and Safari push notifications.

Today’s can’t miss deals:

Last Call Updates:

Amazon Gold Box Tech Accessories: Belkin/Kensington iPad Keyboard cases $30, Pencil/Adobe Stylus $40, Bags, more

Adobe Premiere+Photoshop Elements 13: $68 download or CD, Adobe CC Photography+$40 Credit: $10/month

Apple iPhone 6 Factory Unlocked 64GB in all colors for $710 shipped (Reg. $749)

The ultimate lifeline: this $60 power bank can jump start your car and charge your iPhone

Hub+ USB-C accessory adds connectivity options to a MacBook & charges your iPhone

Pixelmator image editor and effects app for iOS now 50% off: $5 (Reg. $10)

GTA San Andreas for iOS now available at its lowest price ever: $3 (Reg. $7)

Review: iOttie’s Active Edge bike mount safely puts your iPhone front and center, exclusive 30% promo code

More new gear from today:

Spigen iPhone 6/Plus cases in multiple styles/colors 60% off, deals start at $5 Prime shipped

Samsung 850 EVO 500GB 2.5-inch Internal Solid State Drive $170 shipped (Reg. $200+)

More deals still alive:

Grab any Apple iPad w/ LTE for $100+ off at T-Mobile during its Mother’s Day Sale

 Twelve South rare sitewide discount: HiRise Deluxe iPhone/iPad stand $53, BookBook iPad case $70, more

New products & more:

Classic adventure game Myst reportedly making a return with a new original Hulu TV series

stylus Stories April 6, 2015

jotscript2-2

Up until last year, digital styluses — ones with electronic parts inside — worked pretty well across multiple iPad models. Developers including Adonit took over two years to develop electronic iPad writing tools that were thinner-tipped than fingers and rubber-domed styluses, but they succeeded, enabling iPads to serve as notepads and sophisticated canvases for artwork. Then the iPad Air 2 came out, subtly changing the touch-sensing technology that digital styluses relied upon, breaking some and reducing the accuracy of others. Stylus developers quietly acknowledged that new hardware would be needed.

Adonit’s new Jot Script 2 ($75, aka Jot Script 2 Evernote Edition) is the first digital stylus I’ve tested with full iPad Air 2 compatibility. As the sequel to Adonit’s 2013-vintage Jot Script Evernote Edition, it borrows a lot of its predecessor’s design and functionality, but also improves upon it in several ways. Beyond adding iPad Air 2 support, it has a thinner body, and a rechargeable battery rather than a disposable one, all at the same price as last year’s model…

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stylus Stories March 24, 2015

pd_inklet_iso

Ten One Design has released an updated version of its drawing plug-in, Inklet, adding pressure-sensitive drawing on the new Force Touch trackpad in all Mac drawing apps, including Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture and Illustrator. The new trackpad was introduced by Apple on the 12-inch MacBook and 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display.

This means MacBook owners with the new trackpad will enjoy enhanced, highly-accurate pressure sensitivity when drawing on the trackpad whether drawing with a stylus or with a finger.

Inklet for Mac adds an icon to your menubar that you click when you want to draw on your trackpad in your chosen app …  expand full story

stylus Stories February 5, 2015

Paper by FiftyThree

Paper by FiftyThree, the popular illustrating app for iPad, is making a significant change to its app price today. While Paper for iPad has been free to download and use since its debut, the app has also had tools for drawing and illustrating available for unlocking through in-app purchases as well.

Starting today, FiftyThree is making the all tools offered in Paper free for everyone to use. FiftyThree is now including the Draw, Sketch, Outline, Write, and Color tools for every Paper user. Previously, the essential tools were $3.99 to unlock as a package while individual tools could be have for $0.99 each. expand full story

stylus Stories January 30, 2015

Pencil Gold

Earlier this month FiftyThree’s popular Pencil stylus for iPad joined the accessory lineup in Apple’s retail stores, and today FiftyThree is unveiling a new gold brushed and anodized finish variant of its Bluetooth stylus. FiftyThree’s Pencil Gold color matches that latest iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 which are both available in gold versions, while the new Pencil holds the same $59.95 price tag at the existing Walnut option.

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stylus Stories January 18, 2015

applestylusitisapplied

According to a new report by KGI, Apple will soon introduce a stylus accessory for its iPad products, targeted at the expected (but still officially unconfirmed) larger-screened ~12 inch iPad Pro. Both products are quoted for release sometime this year, with KGI most recently quoting a Q2 launch window. The stylus would apparently charge using a Lightning cable.

Although KGI reports tend to be based off of supply-chain sources, which have proven very reliable in the past, Ming-Chi Kuo does not allude to any such indicators for the stylus prediction report. Instead, he highlights a number of patent filings in recent years by Apple on tablet styli and a need to differentiate the upcoming more premium iPad aside from screen size.

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stylus Stories January 12, 2015

9to5Toys Last Call: Retina iMac w/ AppleCare $2,299, Samsung 50″ Smart LED HDTV $650, Razer up to 50% off, more

Keep up with the best gear and deals on the web by signing up for the brand new 9to5Toys Newsletter. Also, be sure to check us out on: TwitterRSS FeedFacebookGoogle+ and Safari push notifications.

Today’s can’t miss deals:

Last Call updates:

Apple 13.3″ MacBook Air (newest version) 1.4GHz/4GB/128GB: $850 or $800 w/ .edu (Reg. $999)

Valiant Hearts: The Great War is IGN’s free iOS game of the month ($4.99 value)

Brother Monochrome Laser Printer $55 shipped (orig. $120)

Small States: Bison Made crafts heirloom quality iPhone 6 wallets and other men’s accessories

More new deals:

More deals still alive:

New products/ongoing promos/info:

stylus Stories December 18, 2014

Adobe Illustrator Line & Photoshop Sketch iPad apps gain Pencil/Wacom stylus support, auto save, more

Adobe updated two of its creative iPad apps today with new features and additional Bluetooth stylus support. Both Illustrator Line and Photoshop Sketch were updated to version 2.1 and picked up support for FiftyThree’s Pencil Bluetooth stylus and Wacom’s Intuos Creative Bluetooth stylus when drawing in each app. Both new app versions also added the ability to auto save sketches to Projects and your usual performance improvements.

stylus Stories December 9, 2014

9to5Toys Last Call: Adonit Jot Touch Bluetooth iPad stylus $50, MacBook stickers BOGO, affordable UHDTVs, more

Keep up with the best gear and deals on the web by signing up for the brand new 9to5Toys Newsletter. Also, be sure to check us out on: TwitterRSS FeedFacebookGoogle+ and Safari push notifications.

Today’s can’t miss deals:

Adonit Jot Touch w/ Pixelpoint Bluetooth LE pressure sensitive stylus for iPad $50 (Reg. $100)

MacBook/iPad stickers (multiple options) Buy One, Get One Free: $4 shipped (Reg. $40)

Amazon flips the switch on free 4K streaming for Prime members, here are the 4K UHDTVs you want to watch it on

More new deals:

More deals still alive:

Holiday Gift Guides:

New products/ongoing promos:

stylus Stories September 16, 2014

Mix Paper FiftyThree

Paper by FiftyThree is getting a whole lot more social today as the popular sketching app for iPad launches Mix, a community platform for sharing creations made in Paper. Mix allows users to share and view other sketches made in Paper on the web or right in the app.

With Mix, Paper uses can follow other creators, adding sketches to your own journal, view iterations of sketches, “star” ideas for viewing in a collection, and open sketches on the web. Probably the best feature of Mix is being able to use someone else’s sketch for inspiration for your own. You can jump right into a sketch found on Mix and add your own ideas and creations.

As part of the debut of Mix, 9to5Mac and FiftyThree will be giving away two Pencils by FiftyThree, the company’s stylus made specifically for Paper for iPad with surface pressure detection coming with iOS 8, blending, erasing, and palm rejection. Read more about Mix in Paper by FiftyThree and how to enter the giveaway below. expand full story

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