Astropad Studio for iPad Pro and Mac. Photo by Astropad
Astropad has just released a new product specifically for use with the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. It’s subscription-based, unlike Astropad Standard, which is still available. Astropad Studio is only for iPad Pro with Apple Pencil, whereas Standard is for iPad2 and up. Whereas Standard is a onetime purchase, Studio is a yearly or monthly fee, and has monthly updates.
Astropad Studio vs. Astropad Standard
Studio has “Liquid Extreme,” which offers a much faster bitrate of 60 frames per second, so less lag. It bas better image quality. Together with GPU acceleration and velocity control, there’s excellent image quality and responsiveness. You can customize program shortcuts in the supported programs, as well as customizing Magic Gestures, which are Pencil/finger combos. If you don’t want to customize, you can use the built-in ones, such as calling up the eraser tool with your finger and the control ring.
Installing both applications is simple, as is the setup. All you have to do get both the Mac and iPad Pro app–the Mac app from the Astropad site, and the iPad Pro app from the App Store.
One nice thing is that you can use the iPad Pro’s USB to connect it to the Mac, instead of Wi-fi, if you’re having Wi-fi issues like I have been lately and can’t get them on the same network.
Magic Gesture. Photo by Astropad
Once that’s done, you’ll see the controls have three program names–Photoshop, Illustrator, and Clip Studio Paint. These are all popular desktop programs and have a somewhat complex workflow. You can still use Procreate, Sketchbook and any apps or desktop programs you want.
The app allows you to customize shortcuts in these programs, which can save a lot of time.
The new improved Liquid Engine is far faster than the old one and I experienced no lag. Lag was an issue for some with Astropad Standard (which is still around).
Astropad Studio is also made to work with any keyboard, so you can use keyboard shortcuts, with one hand on the keyboard and other other on your Pencil.
Magic Gestures are fully customizable and involve that ring, your finger, and the Apple Pencil. Here I’m conjuring the Eraser Tool.
Using a Magic Gesture while taking a photo of using it (awkward!)
You can move the ring around, press on or hold. Pressing and holding it only brought up the choice of full screen or 100%. But there are ways of setting the amount of screen to use. You can also move and zoom. You might zoom in on the iPad Pro to work, then zoom out to see the result. I’m not crazy about two screens, and frankly I prefer to just draw on one. But when doing art with a lot of detail, it really helps to see it on a big screen. Seeing art on a big screen not only lets you see any errors you might have made when drawing, and focus on parts individually.
What kind of monthly updates can we expect? According to Astropad, in the works are functions such as a personalized pressure curve. Not sure we can expect such dramatic moves every month, but that’s OK. In a way I like to know what to expect from an app–but this is ready to deliver a lot even if we don’t know exactly what’s in store. (Let’s just hope they don’t keep redoing parts of the UI, a habit that gets to me with Adobe stuff.)
If you’d rather just draw on the iPad Pro alone, Astropad isn’t necessary. But if you want to see your work on a bigger screen, it does get closer to a Cintiq or other graphics tablet. Some might find it doesn’t completely replace a Cintiq, because a Cintiq has that nice texture, and lets you customize more programs. But the release of Astropad Studio certainly brings a high level of professionalism to the Astropad workflow.
Is it worth the extra cost to invest in Astropad Studio over Astropad Standard? The yearly fee right now is about $65, or you can pay monthly and pay a bit more. You get a monthly update with the subscription. I dislike the idea of subscription-based software, but it’s the world we live in. The monthly update assures you’ll be getting the latest features as soon as they come out.
Is Astropad Studio worth the upgrade?
I found Astropad Studio works as advertised. If you’re a frequent use of Astropad with Photoshop, Illustrator, or Clip Studio Paint, I think Studio is worth the extra investment. If you’re using other programs, you might be okay with Standard, which also allows you to use the iPad Pro. I suggest you download the free trial of Studio, or both, and decide.
For those anxiously awaiting, today’s the day the new Astropad 2.0 is being released. Some improvements:
The Liquid engine, developed by Astropad, is now 3x faster and the company has managed to lower the pixelation by a while lot. The polling rate is much faster to correct issues with latency and improve images. It’s also now using way less memory so you can work longer and not run down your power so quickly. The pressure curve has been improved. Gestures are now available on more programs., including ArtRage, Clip Studio Paint, Mischief, Affinity Designer and Photo, Lightroom, and Sketcbook. You can now auto-hide the cursor. And, the UI has been given an overhaul.
Astropad turns your iPad or iPad Pro into a Cintiq-like input device and allows you to use any programs that are on your Mac. It’s available at the iTunes store. For OSX only.
As if I didn’t feel old enough already, the iPad Pro 2 is already in the rumor mill. Those in the know say it may be announced or even launched in Fall 2016–remember, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro just came out in March 2016. It’s more likely that said iPad Pro 2 will come out in the spring of 2017.
(This concept video was NOT made by Apple, but by someone just guessing that the new device will have stuff like up to 1TB memory and different colors of Apple Pencil. Nice thought. But we really don’t know.)
True Tone display
Likely, the iPad Pro 2 (if it follows Apple’s naming traditions, that’s what it would be called) will have the True Tone display that’s already in the 9.7″ version. True Tone is an adaptive display that adjusts white balance, making it easier to read text in different lighting as well as easier to see the screen in sunlight.
The iPad Pro 9.7″ has a wide color gamut with extreme color accuracy. The 12.9″ iPad Pro display is nearly as good, but not quite, and doesn’t now have, nor support, True Tone. (I still favor the larger size for drawing in spite of this, but am hoping the iPad Pro 2 will let us have our True Tone and eat it too).
Drawing on iPad Pro with Apple Pencil, Sketchbook Pro app
The iPad Pro does not have 3D touch, though iPhone 6S and 6S Plus already have it. So there’s a good chance Apple will add it to the iPad Pro 2, just to give us something to look forward to.
3D touch is a sensor in the touch screen that will cause different things to happen depending how hard you press on the screen. This works differently in different apps–for instance, you might tap lightly to see a photo but harder to open the photo app.
It would be nice if instead of 32GB, 128G was the base model, or at least 64GB. 32GB is not enough for most consumers; maybe it’s aimed at workplaces where employees don’t add a lot of apps or files.
If you’re interested, here’s a writeup on Ars Technica on the beta version of iOS 10.
Somehow I doubt Apple will add an SD card slot, but a girl can dream.
A smaller, 9.7″ iPad Pro with Apple Pencil is has been announced. Apple gave the word in a March, 21 2016 presser, along with its new iPhone 5se and some new Apple Watch bands. This smaller sibling sports nearly the same specs, such as the fast A9X processor and as much storage as the original 12.9″ iPad Pro, and supports the Apple Pencil (yay!) It also gets a Smart Keyboard accessory. The smaller iPad Pro is less expensive than the larger one, and easier to carry. This looks to be replacing the iPad Air line and we’re grateful it’s getting the whole Pro treatment.
iPad Pro review: the Pencil is mightier than the stylus
by Tablets for Artists
12.9″ (diagonal) Retina display, LED backlit, multitouch
4GB RAM, 32 GB and 128 GB models (memory not upgradeable)
Wi-fi and cellular models. Wifi superior to regular iPad
Resolution: 2732 x 2048 (5.6 million pixels, 264 ppi)
Colors: silver with white faceplate, gold with white faceplate, Space Gray with black faceplate
Adjustable refresh rate increases speed
A9X chip with 64‑bit architecture, fast enough to edit 4K video
Speakers directly in unibody enclosure; four hi-fi speakers
Magnetic connector connects keyboard and other accessories
Sound adjusts according to tilt
Update: Additional info about the 9.7″ iPad Pro further down the page. The main advance of the smaller one is the display.
The first thing I noticed about the iPad Pro was how much lighter it feels than it looks. It’s rail-thin, but has a sturdy build. The screen real estate is generous, giving 78% more space than the iPad Air 2, and there’s enough bezel to let you hold the tablet by it. I like the subtle silver trim, a bit of tinsel for the holiday-season release. There’s even a matching silver band near the charger end of the Pencil.
You can keep the screen print-free by using the Apple Pencil, whose sleek, white surface brings to mind a pipette. I’ve always found inspiration in the sight and smell of worn graphite nubs with their flaking ochre paint. But this colorless, plastic implement feels just familiar enough, and its blankness begs you to add color and life. Whereas the MacBook had a pressure-sensitive, Touch Force touchpad, the iPad Pro put that into the screen, and integrated it with the Pencil. It brings to mind Steve Jobs’ pronouncement: “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” (I think we can move past his anti-stylus stance at this point). But for all the great design, it isn’t a complete artist’s paradise, as we will see.
The Pro’s size is the main difference from an ordinary iPad tablet. It’s a heck of a lot faster, too, with performance rivaling many desktop computers, both Apple and PC. It has a powerful graphics and adjustable screen refresh rate, which lengthens battery life. The high-res retina display screen has great color and is sharp as can be. You could probably find a needle in a photo of a haystack.
At about a pound and a half, it’s light enough on its own to carry around easily, but not that comfy to hold in one hand, or hold up to read in bed. The size requires a bag big enough to hold a laptop. And after adding a protective hard cover and keyboard, you end up with as much weight as a laptop.
Drawing with the Apple Pencil
Apple Pencil. (Click image to see it at Amazon)
Apple Smart Keyboard keys
The long, elegant Pencil, powered by Bluetooth, has terrific accuracy. There’s no parallax or jagged lines around the edge, no skips or stepped lines. The processor uses Force Touch to provide pressure sensitivity. Tilt and rotation feel natural. You even draw using the Pencil with the tip on its side to do shading. The line is quite soft and natural looking, like a 4B pencil. It’s the best stylus for drawing that there is. Kudos to Apple for continuing to innovate.
Soft, natural-looking pencil lines
Below are lines and shading done with the tip and then, going toward the bottom right corner, with the side of the Apple Pencil.
Palm rejection works well, unless you put several fingers down at the same time, then it gets confused, but that’s to be expected.
In keeping with the minimalist creed, there are no buttons on the Pencil, and no eraser–a cap covers the non-drawing end, and you take off the cap to plug in the Pencil to charge it. There aren’t settings for the Pencil, you just pair it with Bluetooth and that’s it.
The Pencil is comfortable to hold, though I think it could feel heavy after drawing for long periods. One neat thing is that you can grip the pencil near the non-tip end and use some wrist action to draw loosely, as you might with a charcoal pencil. This is made possible by the shape of the tip, and the weight helps. Because a fair amount of the tip can leave marks, the Apple Pencil reminds me a bit of a woodless graphite pencil, which I enjoy using in my non-digital time.
Some of the brushes took time to settle into a shape slightly different from what I’d drawn, as if to impart the effect of liquid ink. There was no such delay or change using the Pencil for pencil lines.
There’s no “tooth”; the glass screen is slick. The Pencil’s tip has a hint of cushioning but is pretty hard. It’s difficult to say if or how much the tips will wear down. So far, Apple is not selling replacement tips. If it shows signs of wear, you can rotate it while drawing to keep it sharp, as artists often do with graphite pencils.
One annoyance is that there’s no way to attach the Pencil to the iPad Pro. There’s no pen loop, USB holder, slot, or magnet, as on the Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4. There’s no ridge to stop it from rolling should the iPad be resting at an angle. You gotta have a plan for that.
Worse, the little cap that covers the charger can easily get lost, leaving the charger vulnerable. It would be nice if the cap could fit over the pencil end while the pencil is charging, but it doesn’t.
Is that a charger cap in your hand, or an aspirin for when you lose it?
You can’t use the Apple Pencil on other iPads, only the Pro. Bluetooth styluses and keyboards will still work; the Pencil pairs with the iPad Pro via Bluetooth.
You can draw with the side of the tip of the Pencil. Drawing at a less sideways angle with the Pencil brought better and more realistic results. Drawing directly with the side didn’t look so much like a pencil mark as a soft, spongy brush or big crayon.
This dog is practically drooling over the Lightning Connector.
You can use your finger to make playful marks while also using the Pencil.
My handwriting looked pretty natural, but it felt like a bit more effort to write, and when writing in cursive the letters flattened out a little. That doesn’t happen with Wacom.
You can put your John Hancock onto documents.
In the Notes app, you can pull up a virtual clear plastic ruler and move it around with the Pencil or your fingers, and use it to draw straight edges. Very cool, and useful for drafting. You can use apps that have layers, such as Sketchbook Pro.
You can only use apps, not full desktop programs. There’s no easy way to access your files to open them in different apps, and, annoyingly, no central way of saving them.
Here is a video with Jony Ive, chief Apple designer, showing the Apple Pencil.
Display: 12.9″ iPad Pro vs. 9.7″ iPad Pro
The gorilla glass is pretty slick, and the Pencil slides across it, but it isn’t as slippery as some screens. Colors look great.
Both the larger and smaller iPad Pros cover and slightly exceed the whole sRGB gamut. The 12.9″ iPad Pro has excellent color accuracy, and the 9.7″ very good, with a very bright screen, about 430 nits. The larger Pro is less bright, at about 375 nits. The smaller one, though, has TrueTone color, which adapts itself to your surroundings, and is supposed to emulate paper. Don’t worry, you can disable TrueTone in the settings if you want.)
It also uses a second color gamut, the DCI-P3 Wide Color Gamut. That’s what’s used in 4K UHD TVs as well as digital cinema. It also has Night Shift, which takes out the blue light that keeps you up (similar to fl.ux, a free Windows app). The smaller iPad Pro has virtually perfect color accuracy.
So is the amazing screen a reason to choose the smaller one? Maybe, but I still prefer the larger screen. Hopefully Apple will make the next version of the larger one with an equally great display.
Now instead of just charging your iPad, the Lightning Connector is bidirectional–it can give, and take, power. On the iPad Pro, it serves to not only charge the device, but to connect a keyboard and charge the Apple Pencil.
The Pro has 10 hours of battery life, and the Pencil lastsfor 12 hours on a full charge. And charging the Pencil for just 15 seconds, a deed akin to sharpening a wooden pencil, gives you 30 more minutes of drawing.
The charging port is on the side of the iPad Pro, so that the Pencil point sticks out at a perpendicular angle into the air–so be a little careful in crowded coffee shops.
The iPad Pro pushes pressure-sensitive tablets into the mainstream. Some users are finding that it substitutes for a laptop and a tablet, while some who already have a laptop and tablet can’t find much use for it and think the size is awkward. It wears many hats (caps?)–people are using it as a TV, a newspaper, ebook reader, a way to get work done on planes, trains, and buses, and a not-the-most-efficient laptop once you connect a keyboard. One iPad Pro review by an attorney praised it for saving a lot of paper, as you can pull up and sign PDFs so easily. It is ideal for paperwork. Professional artists doing an iPad Pro review seem to pretty much agree that it’s a sketchbook, not a substitute for a computer with desktop apps. Using the Apple Pencil for drawing is a hit with most people. Many iPad Pro and Apple Pencil reviews rave that the Pencil beats Cintiq pens. I do agree that it gives a new level to the digital drawing experience, and is fun as well.
Pencil has excellent accuracy
Tilt and rotation sensitivity, including using the side of the tip
Excellent palm rejection
Good for note-taking
4:3 aspect ratio
Good for tasks such as signing documents, dealing with PDFs–can replace a lot of paper
Not that many apps that take advantage of the Pencil (this will undoubtedly change)
Cost of device and of Apple Pencil
No way to tether Pencil to the iPad, or the end cap to the Pencil
Lack of eraser tip
OS doesn’t allow for convenient file management
Cannot use full programs such as Photoshop
no USB port
No SD card slot; storage not upgradeable
Can’t use mouse or touchpad
Apple Pencil. Click image to see at Best Buy
Apple Smart Keyboard. Click image to see at Best Buy
Is the iPad Pro a substitute for a laptop? Not really. Even using the iPad Pro with a keyboard is limiting. The keyboards for it can’t provide touchpads, you can’t use a mouse, and you can’t adjust the angle of the screen.
Is it a substitute for a Cintiq? Not really. You can only use apps with the iPad Pro, pressure sensitivity is app-dependent. The Pencil is not the issue here, nor is the screen. It does supply more of an “experience,” and solves the small, irritating issues with lines that affect Wacom, N-trig and other digitizers. But the OS is limiting. You can’t use full Photoshop or Illustrator or do efficient file management.
On the positive side, I think anyone could pick this up and intuitively go with the flow, just draw, without any learning curve, and that’s motivating. Drawing could get pretty addictive, especially with the ability to share the drawings so easily. Even the Wacom Cintiq 6D art pen doesn’t perform the side-shading feat. Beginning or hobby artists would love this, and professional artists would enjoy it as a very cool-looking digital sketchbook. I have no doubt it will be popular.
Apple hasn’t deigned to tell us how many levels of pressure sensitivity there are. Guess we shouldn’t worry our pretty little heads about it.
If you’re looking for a less expensive digital sketchbook, we recommend the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 9.7″ with S Pen, an Android tablet with a Wacom digitizer. While it’s not high-resolution, it offers a lot for the price. The Toshiba dynaPad, a mobile Windows 10 tablet, is also one to consider if you’re seeking a portable sketchbook.
The Surface Pro 4 is probably the main competition to the iPad Pro as far as non-art issues; the Pro 4 will let you use Photoshop.
If you’re looking for a handmade iPad Pro case that with an amazing set of positions, read our post about the FlipSteady.
Well, the big day is here. Apple is releasing the iPad Pro, with a larger screen and features like multitasking is here! It will have more speed as well as features like multitasking and a split screen, similar to Android tablets such as the Galaxy Note. The iPad Pro will have a 12.9-inch diagonal screen with 5.6 million pixels. Now that’s resolution! It will start at $799.
Here’s a look at the new, $99 Apple Pencil Stylus.
Artists take note: an iPad case with notepad and pen holder is a big draw
by Tablets for Artists
Nothing’s worse than forgetting a great idea, and sometimes the iPad isn’t charged. Worse yet, you’re digging in your bag for your stylus. Now there’s reason for hope. There are high-quality and affordable iPad cases with notepads, pen holders, or both.
First of all, make sure the case will fit your iPad.
Here’s how to check your iPad model number: Look at the very small type on the back of your iPad for these numbers.
iPad 1: A1219 or A1337; iPad 2: A1395, A1396, or A1397; iPad 3: A1416, A1430, or A1403; iPad 4: A1458, A1459, or A1460; iPad Mini: A1432, A1454, or A1455; iPad Mini with Retina: A1490; iPad Air: A1474 or A1475
While most pen loops will fit most styluses, some of the thicker styluses may be too large.
iPad cases with notepad and pen holder:
Grifiti Dootle iPad Air Folio Case for Ipad Air
This is an attractive and versatile iPad case with notepad and pen holder being the main draws, so to speak. We also like that the iPad bezel is exposed; it just looks nicer. The corners and sides are protected by an imitation-leather cover. The case is reversible and ambidextrous; you can set it up for right-handed or left-handed use by switching the positions of the iPad and Dootle Pad (as the notepad is called). It’s compatible with the Apple Smart Cover.
It comes with a 6 x 9″ combo ruled and grid Dootle Pad notepad that’s basically graph paper. Your stylus or pen (would be nice to have two loops, huh) will perched in a pen loop on the outside of the case. The sturdy back cover is form-fitting and cutouts allow access to all ports as well as the camera. The case also has a cover pocket for business cards, cash, or notes. The iPad secures to the case via good old Velcro. You can put your Apple Smart Cover inside this case if you wish.
It has a large outer slip pocket on the back into which you can put the doodles you’ve drawn on the Dootle pad, or anything else you want to put there. Since it’s on the outside, it’s not meant for things like cash or credit cards, though.
Cons–a little heavy and bulky, which makes sense as it has a notepad.
Here’s the version for the iPad mini 1, 2, and 3. Like the larger version, it’s also Apple Smart Cover Compatible.
The Booqpad for iPad mini is similar to the iPad Air, but comes with both a stylus holder and notepad, making this a great choice for those who scrawl in multimedia (digital and paper). The cover also has clever pockets for business cards, tickets, cash, what have you–you can hide them away. Like its larger cousin, it’s ambidextrous. The notepad is made with 30% soy ink. The paper notepad is 4-1/8th x 7-1/4th inches. You can find paper refills here on the Booqpad site–the notepad that says mini.
Cons: no wake/sleep; cover does not fold into a stand; no camera hole; pen loop caused problems for some, loosening the back flap when it had the pen in it and some didn’t like the way the pens fit. Seems this case is nice-looking, and most users loved it but some had some issues with it.
Solo Vintage Collection Colombian Leather Padfolio for iPad 1, 2, 3, 4
This Colombian leather, high-end folio case fits iPads 1-4. It has an unusual ziparound (zipper) closure. It’s sleek and luxurious, but ready for business. Inside it (there’s only a small photo) are a 5 x 8″ paper notepad, and pockets for business cards and other items–a mini-organizer. The gold stitching forms a nice contrast with the case’s warm espresso color. There’s also a pen holder on the inside. This case isn’t form- fitting, so can hold iPads 1-4.
Cons: Lacks a back camera hole.
A little bulky to put in a handbag, but great to carry the iPad around by itself.
iPad case with Bluetooth keyboard and space for notepad and pen
Kensington KeyFolio Executive Zipper Folio Case with Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad 4 Retina, iPad 3, iPad 2
You might not think of yourself as an executive, but artists are the CEO of their own businesses and lives. This case has it all–space for a notepad and stylus (you’ll have to supply your own) as well as a Bluetooth keyboard, all neatly zipped up. Accepts notepads up to 7.5″ x 9″. Cover folds into a stand with viewing angles from 20 to 70 degrees. You can access all ports and cameras with this cool case. I could see Don Draper with one of these, if he’s still in the biz.
The stylish, versatile Booqpad iPad case with notepad combines an inner, hard, magnetically attached polycarbonate shell with an outer, suedelike folio. It works for both left- and right-handed users (you’re going to have to turn the magnetic case upside-down to switch the notepad to the right side). Ports and cameras remain accessible at all times. The 50-page notebook is included, as are a screen film and cleaning cloth. Unlike the mini version, this has no pen loop. When closed, the notepad gives the iPad added protection. The cover folds to offer two viewing angles and a typing angle. The case can take standard 6 x 9″ refill pads, though the notepad it comes with is slightly smaller. You can find notepad refills here on the Booqpad site.
Don’t need a notepad with your iPad case, but want to carry your stylus with you? Here are some top choices:
iPad Air 2 Case Cover by FYY
Constructed with PU synthetic leather and featuring a handy exterior pen loop to hold a stylus, this handsome case folds into a stand with slots that give three viewing angles, all landscape orientation. Most of the iPad’s bezel is covered. Anti-skid interior doesn’t slip. It sports pockets for credit or business cards, a smaller pocket for a storage card, a longer pocket for cash or travelers cheques, and a handy hand strap to hold it sturdy. Features a sleep/wake function. All ports and cameras are accessible via carefully aligned cutouts. Shuts with Velcro. Comes in 8 bright colors.
Cons: a little bulky, weighs more than some cases; PU leather doesn’t always stand up to a lot of wear and tear over long periods.
Lifetime guarantee! This folio-style smart cover from Snugg comes in many colors and two patterns, Blue Denim and Digital Camo. It covers the iPad’s bezel but allows access to all ports and cameras. It’s made of Nubuck, which is real leather that has been buffed to resemble suede, but it’s more costly than suede. The workmanship and materials on this are high end. The cover opens into a kickstand that gives you a couple of viewing angles, both landscape.
The hand strap is ideal for using your iPad while standing, whether reading, writing/drawing, or giving a presentation.
The pen loop will keep that stylus from getting lost. Sleep/wake function keeps your iPad well rested.
Cons: Taking photos requires holding the cover flap up because there’s no cutout for the camera on the back.
This cute folio-style iPad mini case comes in 20 groovy, bright colors and patterns with appeal for teens, tweens, and anyone who would love an iPad case with animal print. It has a neat pen loop for a stylus. The case is vegan (all the non-leather ones are) with a sleep-wake function. The cover folds back into a stand in landscape orientation. The inside has soft microfiber lining that won’t scratch your iPad. The sides get protected and the bezel mostly covered. It’s easy to put the iPad into this Fintie case; simply insert it and close the Velcro flap. Though the back is not a polycarbonate shell, it’s quite sturdy and protective.
Cons: a few people had problems with the sleep/wake, but the vast majority did not.
KAVAJ iPad Air 2 “London” cognac brown leather case cover
This luxurious case of of London Cognac brown leather lined with soft flannel has a sleep/wake feature and a fancy pen holder. The cover folds out into a stand that offers two landscape viewing positions, one of them quite upright. Best of all, it comes with a Kavaj ink pen that doubles as a stylus. There is a hidden Velcro strap that secures the iPad. A wide interior pocket allows you to stash things made of paper. The case allows some of the iPad bezel to be exposed, which is a nice design feature.
There are many iPad cases, most made by companies other than Apple. Ipad cases can be broken down into different types with different features for the varying lives led by iPad users. The types of cases are available for all
models of iPad, including the iPad Air and iPad mini.
If you specifically want one with a notepad and/or pen holder, see our post here.
This extreme multitasker would need a drop-proof case.
Things to Consider
When deciding on the best iPad case for your needs, consider how you use the iPad.
Do you use it a lot? If you do, consider higher quality materials that will last.
Do you need a keyboard?
Do you tend to drop things? In that case you would want good impact resistance, especially if you have uncarpeted floors.
Do you use your iPad near food or drink?
Do you want to stand the iPad up? Would you like the angles of the stand to be flexible? Would you want the stand to be only horizontal, or allow rotation to portrait mode as well?
Do you want a carrying strap or handle? Some carrying straps can securely attach to your hand, arm, or even leg.
Do you want to carry your stylus?
Do you want a place to carry the charging cord and other accessories?
Do you have or work with young children who drop-kick your iPad?
Or do your children have iPads that they use regularly?
Do you use it over carpeting?
Do you use it out in the field?
Would you want to use it underwater, for instance, to take photographs?
How much of an issue is the weight of your Ipad case?
What type of bag do you carry it in?
Do you travel a lot? Would you pack your Ipad into luggage or perhaps into a bag or briefcase that contains other
things as well?
If you vary in your activities, you might find that one type of case is not enough. The good news is, there are
now a lot of good, relatively cheap iPad cases. The more you know what features you want, the easier it is to
narrow down the best iPad case for you.
Which model iPad do you have?
First of all, determine which iPad you have. While it might seem that most people would know, perhaps you got it as a gift, or have forgotten. Figure out which Ipad you have by squinting very hard at the tiny print on the lower back of your iPad. This chart will take us on a trip down Memory Lane through iPad history. Notice most iPads have a few different model numbers; this is because models with wifi and 3G, or GSM/CDMA/LTE models get different numbers.
When choosing an iPad case, be sure it’s right for your model number. Cases have customized cutouts to fit particular models, so be very sure–check your iPad model number, or ask the store where you purchase it for help.
Though iPads can appear similar in size and design, subtle differences can make cases incompatible. For instance, models after the iPad 3rd generation have lightning connectors, not 30-pin ones. And, the micro-SIM tray is on the right side in the GSM model of the iPad2.
iPad Air. Year: Late 2013. Model nos. A1474, A1475, A1476
iPad mini 3. Year: late 2014. A1599, A1600
iPad mini 2. Year: late 2013. Model nos. A1489, A1490, A1491
iPad mini. Year: late 2012. Model nos. A1432, A1454, A1455
iPad (4th generation). Year: Late 2012. Model nos. A1458, A1459, A1460
iPad (3rd generation). Year: early 2012. Model nos. A1416, A1430, A1403
iPad 2. Year: 2011. A1395, A1396, A1397
iPad. Year: 2010. Model numbers A1219, A1337
Choosing and using an iPad case
Some cases say they are “one size fits all” for similar sizes of iPads and other brands of tablet. Unless these are pouches or bags, a one-size-fits-all solution is not the best case for your iPad. You want a snug, protective haven, and you want to be able to access the controls, speaker, dock connector, and cameras, which means having cutouts that fit perfectly and a form-fitting surrounding. If your case has cutouts, make sure the cutouts are cut so that those show through. Some cutout cases have flaps that can cover the cutouts for further protection. Many cases are lined with soft microfiber to keep the screen and body cozy and unscratched.
Also, when using a case, be sure your iPad is facing the right way and the cutouts are lining up. You’d be
surprised at how easy it is to get it wrong with some cases.
Most of all, choose one that fits your lifestyle. A business user might want a sleek folio, and a hiker who likes to dive into a pond with an iPad to snap pictures don’t have the same needs. Often we wear many hats, and there are some combination cases that could both look stylish and give heavy protection. Tradeoffs might include weight or difficulty taking the iPad out of the case or putting it in (with these you can usually just leave the iPad in).
working on ipad that’s in a case that folds back to create a stand.
Types of iPad cases
There are many types of coverings: cover, folio, skin or shell, rugged and waterproof, sleeve, bag, carrier, and body and screen film. Choosing the best iPad case depends on your usage (see Things to Consider, above). You can have keyboard covers and combination covers. These types of cases exist for all models of iPad as well as Android tablets.
If you use the iPad out in the field, or you tend to drop things or have small children who like to use your
fragile, expensive device as a football, you probably want a rugged iPad case. These are the most durable,
protective cases, some of them waterproof or water-resistant.
A cover, such as the Apple iPad Smart Cover, attaches via magnet and covers only the screen. They are usually made of metal or polycarbonate, which is a hard, impact-resistant plastic. Some of these include keyboards.
Folio cases cover the whole iPad and open like books to show the screen. Often the covers fold to create a stand. Folios are often very stylish. They are often made of synthetic leather, real leather, or fabric. Sometimes they are hard polycarbonate. Some lack a cutout for the rear camera. Browse folio cases
Skins and shells usually cover just the back and sides while leaving the screen open. Usually shells are made of polycarbonate or thick plastic, and skins of silicone. Sometimes a shell also refers to a tanklike case that covers the whole iPad.
Combination covers can be both a shell and a folio, and a keyboard as well. Combo covers often combine metal and plastics so that the case is impact resistant where it needs to be but doesn’t scratch the iPad.
Keyboard covers can be folio or clamshell covers. They basically turn your iPad into a small laptop or netbook.
Rugged iPad covers are tanklike creations that cover the entire iPad, keeping it safe from drops, spills, dust, kids, and weather. These are good if you are out in the field. Often the cutouts have flaps that go over them. Some are waterproof or water-resistant. The Otterbox defender is considered one of the best iPad cases in the rugged category, though there’s plenty of competition. Some rugged cases are water-resistant or waterproof. Browse rugged cases
Waterproof cases sometimes are skins or shells that cover the back and leave the front open with a screen protector.
Sleeves are soft pouches that you simply put the iPad into. They envelope and protect the iPad, and you take the iPad out to use it. They are sometimes only large enough for the iPad, or sometimes are carrying packs that let you tote gear such as Bluetooth keyboard. Often you can use the sleeve for other tablets as well. Sleeves can be made of fabric, foam, leather, faux leather, or other materials. If you like to use the iPad without any added weight while you are using it, or you want a versatile case, a sleeve may be your best choice of iPad case. Browse sleeve cases
Bag cases are bags where you can carry the Ipad and other gear. They have pockets for the iPad and accessories, and are cushioned. You can often use these for other types of tablets too, or for general gear when not carrying the iPad.
Screen films are thin plastic screen protectors. They can be difficult to put on without leaving air bubbles. Some cases come with them as part of their structure. browse screen film
Body films are very thin, clear coatings cover the back and sides of your iPad. They sometimes come with screen films.
Kids’ iPad cases tend to be of bulky plastic and have bright colors and kiddie style. browse kids’ cases
If you just want to browse all iPad cases on Amazon, click here.
Below are our picks, just a sampling of the smorgasbord of quality, eye-pleasing, functional iPad cases.
Figure out which features combine into the best iPad case for you
As you can see, when it comes to iPad cases, just about everything under the sun exists. Many of these also exist in combination. When choosing the best iPad case, most shoot for a middle ground with a protective case that’s not necessarily military-grade protective, because that adds weight. Though some do need those extremely rugged cases. If looks are important, folio cases can provide protection and come in various materials.
Our reviews of the best iPad cases will always tell you their weight. Some iPad cases weigh more than the iPad itself. The iPad air, being thinnner lighter, has also allowed case designs to slim down.
Try to come up with a list of features you want. As an artist, you might want a hard shell to protect the iPad. You might want a removable screen protector as you might sometimes want to use the iPad without it to get full sensitivity (some screen films do affect visuals or sensitivity in small ways). You probably also want an inner or outer loop for your stylus or styluses.
If you narrow it down, it shouldn’t be overwhelming to find the best iPad case you could possibly want. Remember, if you’re like most people, you’re not going to “trade up” to a new iPad every year, so pick something that will last and that fits. end of The Best iPad Case, Part 1
Many artists enjoy drawing and painting on their iPads. An iPad is a valuable digital sketchbook, and styluses and art apps have made fast progress in expanding the iPad’s art capabilities. While tablet PCs, Cintiqs and similar art tablets are still the usual choice for professional artists, and you can now do sophisticated art on the iPad. Some iPad styluses use Bluetooth to get 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity, as much as any art tablet does. These styluses only achieve the pressure sensitivity in that are designed to provide it. There are art apps for Android that get pressure sensitivity as well.
Here’s a handy comparison chart that will help you shop for the best iPad stylus for drawing.
Our Rating/Check price on Amazon
Adonit Jot Touch with Pixelpoint
Bluetooth; 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity;
shortcut buttons; diskless, precision tip;
connects to Adobe Creative Cloud; works with many apps
palm rejection; eraser; blends; best with Paper app; wood or metal; rechargeable; magnet snaps to Apple Smartpad case; Bluetooth; surface pressure (change marks according to how you hold the tip). For writing, try Noteshelf app
Although Steve Jobs famously said, “If there’s a stylus, they blew it,” plenty of people choose to use them with their iPads. And in 2011, Apple filed for a patent for an active stylus, so let’s keep our eyes peeled for developments. UPDATE: The Apple Pencil and iPad Pro will be available in November 2015! The Apple Pencil is made only for the iPad Pro. The styluses below will work on any iPad.
If you can use a stylus on the iPad, you can use it on other capacitive touchscreens too, such as the iPhone, Android tablets, and Kindle Fire.
What to look for:
Pressure sensitivity. This feature is only possible via Bluetooth with specific apps, and only some iPad styluses offer it. It means you can vary the width of the line, just as if you were drawing with a real pencil, pen, or brush. The sensitivity should work as a smooth curve, not suddenly changing line width. Apps are what make variations in pressure possible on an iPad or iPhone. Otherwise you will get a same-width line. Most artists prefer a varied line, but it depends on your own art style. Examples of iPad styluses with pressure sensitivity are the Adonit Jot Touch with Pixelpoint and Pencil by FiftyThree.
Palm rejection. The things to look for in choosing the best stylus for iPad for drawing are accuracy, responsiveness, ease of use, and reliability. You also want palm rejection. Without palm rejection, the iPad cannot distinguish between your hand and the stylus, since you can finger paint on the IPad. If your stylus doesn’t have palm rejection, you have to do a Michael Jackson move and wear a glove with cut-off fingers on one hand. And even with that, it may not be enough. The best is not to touch the screen at all with your hand. Still, some of the most popular IPad styluses for drawing do not feature palm rejection. Artists are a resourceful lot and work around this problem.
Rechargeable. Also desirable is having a rechargeable stylus. While some of the best styluses for iPad lack rechargeable batteries, this becomes an added expense, and creates waste, not to mention your stylus may suddenly stop working when you’ve forgotten to tote an extra battery. But, some of the best iPad styluses for drawing use nonrechargeable batteries. You can always buy a separate rechargeable battery and a battery charger.
Nibs that last a long time or do not cost a lot to replace. Some tips or nibs wear out quickly with use, so you should check into ease and cost of replacement before choosing your iPad stylus.
Compatibility with your favorite apps. The quality of compatibility of styluses with apps can vary quite a bit, so try out different apps with different styluses. You can’t pick the best iPad stylus for drawing without taking what apps you want to use into consideration.
Other things you may want to consider:
Noise. Some styluses make a clack-clack sound. Are you noise-sensitive? Will you be using your stylus in classes and meetings, to take notes or sketch? The model of the Adonit Jot Pro (without pressure sensitivity) has a plastic disk on the end that clacks on the screen, but they added a “dampener” to soften the sound.
Traction and glide. Make sure you are happy with the relative slipperiness of your stylus across the iPad glass. A screen protector can add traction with some apps; others, such as Paper, advise against using one. Your drawings can be affected; some people prefer a lot of glide for long lines, others don’t. Some users have mentioned in reviews that though they thought they were getting the best iPad stylus for drawing, but slipperiness was a big enough issue that they ended up returning the stylus.
Looks. Do you get inspired by a sleek, or maybe a funky art implement? While I wouldn’t pick by looks, if all else is equal you might want to make a fashion statement.
Comfort. Very important, especially if you draw for hours on end. Does the stylus feel good in your hand? Are there certain angles you need to hold it at to get it to work best? Is it lightweight, or heavy? Is the length of the stylus comfortable to you? What about the thickness?
Grip. Does it have a good grip in your hand, or does it slip?
Writing. Everyone has to write sometimes, and sometimes a stylus that’s good for drawing is also good for writing, but that’s not always the case. It’s often app-dependent. You might have trouble writing in some art apps but do fine writing in note-taking apps. The best iPad stylus for drawing is not always the best iPad stylus for writing.
Painting. Some styluses are actually like paintbrushes. While you can do digital painting with any stylus, if you want a painterly look you might want one of these brush styluses in your toolbox. These are not that expensive and you can get beautiful effects with them. The Sensu brush and tablet stylus gives you both a brush and stylus, and we recommend this painting and drawing tool as a good addition in your search for the best iPad stylus for digital artmaking.
iPad for Artists is an illustrated book with tons of tips on making digital art, choosing the best iPad styluses, the best iPad drawing apps, and more
If you’re looking for a book with an in-depth discussion of tools and techniques for iPad art, digital illustrator Dani Jones’s iPad for Artists: How to Make Great Art With Your iPad is your ticket. It’s available only in paperback form–here it is on Amazon. We wish it were available as an e-book that we could read on IPad. But on paper, we can read it while working on your iPad at the same time, so paper makes sense.
The author is an excellent digital artist whose site is at danidraws.com. Here is one of the many books she has illustrated:
Jones reviews styluses, art apps, and more. The book contains many illustrations in her delightful style, as well as artist spotlights to show other artists’ work.
Her favorite iPad painting and drawing apps
Her favorite painting and drawing apps for iPad are Sketchbook, Procreate, ArtRage, and Brushes. You get those from the app store on your iPad, and they will install onto the iPad.
Besides introducing tools, she takes you step-by-step through creating a work of art on your iPad. You will learn to use layers and other important features. She used to have a lot of great tutorials on her blog, but she has changed her focus and taken them down–so you’re going to have to buy the book to get her excellent instruction.
She covers creating art that looks as if it has been done in different media, including pencils, cartoons, watercolor, oil paint to create portraits, landscapes, and other types of art. She does children’s books. (You may be surprised that a lot of kids’ books are done digitally, but it’s quite normal now.) You’ll also learn about working with photos. an She takes you through creating slideshows and organizing your work.
She also talks about which iPad is best for artists. Any iPad is fine and they all can be used with all the art apps. Newer versions are faster. iPads with more memory will allow you to store more artwork. However, storage space isn’t that important as far as the amount of pictures, as if you have a lot of iPad high-resolution art, you can store them in ICloud, or transfer them to your computer.
Her favorite iPad styluses
As for styluses, she prefers the Adonit Jot Touch, and the Wacom Bamboo iPad Stylus.
The apps are up to date as of now, but we hope she releases a new edition. The apps have universal characteristics, and this book will show you those, so it should help with any finding the best art apps for iPad, new or old. iPad for Artists does not cover every single app out there, but it’s plenty to get you up to speed.
She points out that while tablet PCs have a much wider capability for artists, the iPad is a popular item, is portable, and versatile. More and more art apps and styluses are made for IPad.
The book will get you much farther than just playing around on the iPad, though playing around is a must for any artist of any kind–it makes you understand the tools and media, and to overcome limitations.
We highly recommend Dani Jones’ iPad for Artists: Make Great Art with your iPad, for those starting out on the iPad and for artists making the transition to digital. It covers not only tools, techniques, and apps, but helps you become a better artist.
The Wacom Bamboo Stylus comes in lots of colors! You can use it on your iPhone, Kindle Fire, Android phone, and any other tablets that use a capacitive stylus. See our article on best iPad styluses for artists.
End of review of digital art book iPad for Artists