Today, the iPad stylus takes another step away from stupid stick and closer to expressive artistic tool. FiftyThree’s Pencil–a wooden stylus made for the impressive iPad sketching app Paper–will soon allow you to vary the width of your line as naturally as drawing with a real pencil or marker.
As the video shows, you simply tilt the tip of the Pencil to go from fine point to thick line while sketching on screen–just as you would with the real thing. In other words, digital drawing on the iPad can feel a step more intuitive than it has.
While the Paper app–also developed by FiftyThree–has some incredible algorithms inside that enable intuitive color mixing and for you to rest the palm of your hand on the screen as you draw, this update actually comes largely as courtesy of Apple. Amongst countless updates in iOS 8 is a powerful feature that most of us missed: The iPad’s touch screen can now recognize objects of various size. So instead of treating a thumb or pinky as the same sized orb, it can accommodate the precision necessary for the Pencil’s tip to begin simulating the multitude of subtle thicknesses we’d find in any natural drawing tool.
If you already own a Pencil, there’s no need to buy anything new. Free software will update the feel of the hardware. Timing will coincide with the public release of iOS 8 in the fall.