I've been using Wacom tablets for about 20 years now. And in all that time, their desktop tablets have been the standard and the most recommended tablets by just about everyone. I love Wacom products. I've had a Cintiq, multiple Intuos tablets, various incarnations of their Bamboo products, a Graphire, and whatever the heck it was they were selling 20 years ago. They have all been great.
I love tablets. I love drawing with a good stylus that works together with the tablet and when built together correctly they become something that feels empowering and wonderful. Endless pages in a sketchbook. All the colors I could ask for. Pencils, brushes, and watercolor all working together in harmony.
Every single stylus that has been made for the iPad or iPhone has been a pile of dog shit when compared to what you can do with a Wacom tablet. Even compared to what you could do 20 years ago with a Wacom tablet. The KoalaPad on an Apple //e was probably better.
It's been hard, and upsetting. And so much money wasted on crappy iOS styluses. I stopped paying attention whenever a new stylus was announced, since I was inevitably let down.
And then this week I got the Apple Pencil (which is Apple speak for a stylus) and an iPad Pro. This new tablet from Apple has the hardware support needed to make a useful stylus. Hardware support that has been missing for five long, very long, agonizing years.
And It's God Damn Amazing.
It feels absolutely right. Super low latency, palm rejection, and … it just works.
Is it the same as drawing in my sketchbook? No. Of course not. I'm rubbing a plastic tip across a glass screen.
It's still God Damn Amazing though.
Is it better? With the right software, possibly, for my use. I've tried a handful of drawing apps and right now my favorite is Procreate, with Adobe Sketch coming in second. If you don't want to pay a few bucks on those apps (shame on you!), the built in Notes app has some pretty decent sketching tools as well.
I find that when using the HB Pencil in Procreate, I get something that is very, very close to what I feel when I'm drawing in my sketchbooks. But of course now I've got layers and many colors and a perfect eraser to work with. And endless pages. I love it. I'm drawn to it. It's wonderful. You should absolutely try one if you haven't already.
Text on a page doesn't do it justice. Videos don't do it justice. Try it out, that's the only way to truly judge it.
I do have minor complaints, such as the price ($99 USD). I wish it was half that, just so it's easier for everyone to purchase. But after using one for a few days, you could double the price and I'd still buy it. It's that good.
People keep on asking me when I'm going to port Acorn to iOS. I have no plans to at this time, for various reasons. I've certainly thought of making a new type of drawing app for iOS, but honestly- I like being able to just use the hardware.
Every single time I fire up Acorn and start using my Intuos with it, I find something I want to change about the brush engine. I find oddball little behaviors I think I can improve, or go off investigating why a particular brush stamp might be off by a pixel or two. So I never actually get to draw anything.
I don't currently have that problem with the iPad. If I'm sketching in Procreate and I come across something that I'd do differently… well, it doesn't matter. I don't have the source code so I can't change anything. I can just sketch and create, and not fret about little things. It's liberating.