FiftyThree's app Paper has received all sorts of praise because it's both excellently designed and fun to use—it stands apart from many similar apps in the App Store. Now FiftyThree has taken another step to enable its users to create better images, notes, and projects by releasing a piece of hardware to complement Paper's software: A new stylus called Pencil.
The company calls Pencil "the most natural and expressive tool for getting ideas on Paper—a beautiful blend of advanced technology and crafted design." Like Paper, Pencil's design feels both deliberately retro and quite 21st-century, borrowing from the flat, wide graphite pencils beloved of artists. The stylus is available in a traditional walnut finish, made from sustainable hardwood, as well as a more modern aluminum finish.
The stylus features both a drawing tool and an eraser end, can blend lines already drawn in the app, and includes "adaptive palm rejection" so you won't accidentally draw on screen with the wrong part of your hand. There's also a nice "Kiss-to-Pair" trick for pairing the stylus over Bluetooth with an iOS device—intended to be simpler than typical Bluetooth paring because you just hold Pencil's tip to your screen.
Though Steve Jobs famously dismissed styluses as unnecessary for iDevices because humans have fingers that can do the same trick, FiftyThree thought differently when designing a stylus. Perhaps there's no surprise that design played a big role in the hardware's evolution; as FiftyThree explained in an email to Fast Company, some of Xbox's ex-lead designers now "build great tools for creativity" at FiftyThree.
Can FiftyThree change the slight stigma about using a stylus on a tablet with its latest innovation? Or will Pencil remain a niche product bought mostly by designers and artists?