The Shape of Everything
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May 22, 2015

Check out Phree, which is a bluetooth stylus which works with phones and tablets. But there's a difference with this one, which is that you don't write on the display but rather on any surface around you. I think Phree is a pretty neat idea, and I hope it actually works as well as they claim.

I imagine if you haven't used something like a Wacom tablet, you might not quite get the point of Phree. Why would you want something like this, which isn't drawing directly on your screen, over one of the existing styli that do?

Because precision.

The current fat finger styli that work with iOS devices today stink. Using one is like drawing with a sausage, which is obviously a horrible tool to make accurate lines with. Sure, anyone can point to some amazing work that's been made with a sausage, but that doesn't make it a good tool. I can point to some amazing art made with Microsoft Paint, but that doesn't mean everyone should dump Acorn and start using it.

Instead, Phree ignores the crappy fat finger input that everyone is already doing, and has come up with what looks to be a great new one.

But of course, it's on Kickstarter, which means it'll be three years late and won't quite deliver on what it promises. I can always hope though.


I still find it hard to believe that five years after its introduction, we don't have real stylus support for iPads. Rumors pop up every once that Apple will be adding support via an iPad pro or something like that, but my fear is that they will just plop in Force Touch and call it a day. If your stylus doesn't support more than 200 levels of pressure sensitivity, you're not going far enough (for comparison, the Wacom Intuos supports 1024).

Ironicly, the Microsoft Surface has a real pressure sensitive stylus. And MS is even looking to support Objective-C (and possibly Swift) soon. Who would have thought that five years ago?

And it seems to me that having first class stylus support would be a nice boost to the iPad. I'm not going to hold my breath though.