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Astropad Standard and Studio Apps Updated With Support for Luna Display Adapter, Which is Now Available for Pre-Order

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Astropad today introduced new updates for both its Astropad Studio and Astropad Standard apps, bringing support for the Luna Display adapter, which is also now available for pre-order.

Introduced as a Kickstarter project last year, the Luna Display is designed to turn any iPad into a wireless second display for the Mac.


Astropad alone mirrors the Mac display, but Luna Display is designed to extend the Mac display rather than simply mirror it.

The Luna Display adapter plugs into a Mac using Mini DisplayPort or USB-C, and then after downloading the app, the Luna Display serves as an extension of the Mac, letting Mac content be accessed directly from an iPad.

Both of the Astropad apps now support Luna Display, and the Luna Display itself can be pre-ordered from the Luna Display website for $69.99.


Astropad also announced today that it is discontinuing all support for third-party styluses. The company says that third-party styluses deliver poor performance compared to Apple Pencil and create engineering complexities.

Astropad no longer recommends third-party styluses for artists. Support will cease at the end of 2018 to allow Astropad to focus on optimizing its apps for the Apple Pencil.

Astropad Standard can be downloaded from the App Store for $29.99. [Direct Link]

Astropad Studio, which costs $11.99 per month for syncing and monthly feature updates, is free to download initially. [Direct Link]

Article Link: Astropad Standard and Studio Apps Updated With Support for Luna Display Adapter, Which is Now Available for Pre-Order
 

macduke

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Jun 27, 2007
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Other apps have allowed wireless display transmission, but at less than optimal frame rates and resolution using WiFi. Is this like some sort of lower-latency USB 3.0 thing with a built-in H.265 encoder or something? It can't be too proprietary considering that the iPad only has Bluetooth, LTE and WiFi to communicate and I don't see a dongle on the iPad end.
 
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ignatius345

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Aug 20, 2015
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Am I understanding this right -- could you take an image you're working on and drag it over to the iPad Pro display and draw on it with the Apple Pencil? (I mean, assuming the app supports that?)
 
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Cindori

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Other apps have allowed wireless display transmission, but at less than optimal frame rates and resolution using WiFi. Is this like some sort of lower-latency USB 3.0 thing with a built-in H.265 encoder or something? It can't be too proprietary considering that the iPad only has Bluetooth, LTE and WiFi to communicate and I don't see a dongle on the iPad end.

The dongle is simply a display emulator. A chip tricking the OS that "hey a display was connected". By doing this you can then capture the "fake" display and stream it as video to the iPad (over WiFi). There is no real magic behind the Luna dongle except it being USB-C. There's tons of this type of dongle available in HDMI-format for cheap:

https://www.headlessghost.com/

https://www.amazon.com/CompuLab-fit-Headless-Display-Emulator/dp/B00FLZXGJ6

Price is 90% less than what Astropad is charging for their dongle.
 
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aevan

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Am I understanding this right -- could you take an image you're working on and drag it over to the iPad Pro display and draw on it with the Apple Pencil? (I mean, assuming the app supports that?)

Just with the app, the iPad mirrors your Mac’s screen and, yes, you can draw on it great. Works really well.

Luna is a smart hardware hack that “tricks” macOS that there is a second monitor present and then the iPad image is “mirrored” from that virtual monitor - esentially creating a separate display on the iPad. You can draw on this too, of course.

So, Astropad - mirrored Mac screen you can draw on, Astropad + Luna - separate Mac screen you can draw on :)
[doublepost=1531323299][/doublepost]
Other apps have allowed wireless display transmission, but at less than optimal frame rates and resolution using WiFi. Is this like some sort of lower-latency USB 3.0 thing with a built-in H.265 encoder or something? It can't be too proprietary considering that the iPad only has Bluetooth, LTE and WiFi to communicate and I don't see a dongle on the iPad end.

It uses wifi or a lightning cable to connect (latency is better with the cable).

The adapter on the Mac is Luna Display, a little dongle that makes your Mac think there is a separate display which it can mirror on the iPad with Astropad. It’s the only way you can get a separate (non-mirrored) image with Astropad.

Please note I’m not affiliated with Astropad in any way - I’m just a user :)
 
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Crash0veride

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Oct 10, 2016
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How good is it for drawing when it comes to latency etc?

It's pretty impressive over wifi, I haven't used lightning too much as I haven't felt it necessary. I have a solid home network though with my iMac on LAN. Not perfect obviously with an occasional lag, but better than anything else I've tested.

Yes a dongle that emulates the display isn't new but the power here is Astropad Studio connection. It works better than apps because it directly taps the graphics cards.

For hackintosh users, I've had mixed success on my hacktop, probably mostly due to usb-c issues.
 
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jlc1978

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The dongle is simply a display emulator. A chip tricking the OS that "hey a display was connected". By doing this you can then capture the "fake" display and stream it as video to the iPad (over WiFi). There is no real magic behind the Luna dongle except it being USB-C. There's tons of this type of dongle available in HDMI-format for cheap:

https://www.headlessghost.com/

https://www.amazon.com/CompuLab-fit-Headless-Display-Emulator/dp/B00FLZXGJ6

Price is 90% less than what Astropad is charging for their dongle.

Except the examples simply emulate a display being attached so the computer is tricked into acting as if a remote display is attached. The Luna, unlike your example, then connects to an iPad and gives you a second display.

As someone who uses Duet a bit and has preorders a Luna I am interested to see how it performs.
 
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JayMysterio

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Apr 24, 2010
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Except the examples simply emulate a display being attached so the computer is tricked into acting as if a remote display is attached. The Luna, unlike your example, then connects to an iPad and gives you a second display.

As someone who uses Duet a bit and has preorders a Luna I am interested to see how it performs.
I'll be interested to hear your thoughts on the Luna, when you finally get a chance to use it for a bit.
 
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aevan

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How good is it for drawing when it comes to latency etc?

Very good - you can definitely do professional work on it with ease. This is coming from someone who used various Cintiqs and Intuoses. Please note that I use a lightning cable for best results.
 
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ipedro

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What’s the difference between Standard and Studio?

I used to use Astropad but the pixelation sucked and Duet was better. Then Duet started requiring a subscription to use the Pencil so I stopped using mirroring apps like these alltogether and went with using native apps for Mac and iOS that could open each other’s files (I.e. Lightroom for Mac and iOS).

I’d consider going back to Astropad if it works with Apple Pencil and has solved the pixelation problem. I already paid for Astropad, I’m not going to pay for a subscription too.
 
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cocoua

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May 19, 2014
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What’s the difference between Standard and Studio?

I used to use Astropad but the pixelation sucked and Duet was better. Then Duet started requiring a subscription to use the Pencil so I stopped using mirroring apps like these alltogether and went with using native apps for Mac and iOS that could open each other’s files (I.e. Lightroom for Mac and iOS).

I’d consider going back to Astropad if it works with Apple Pencil and has solved the pixelation problem. I already paid for Astropad, I’m not going to pay for a subscription too.

Subscription is way too expensive...
 
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aevan

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What’s the difference between Standard and Studio?

I used to use Astropad but the pixelation sucked and Duet was better. Then Duet started requiring a subscription to use the Pencil so I stopped using mirroring apps like these alltogether and went with using native apps for Mac and iOS that could open each other’s files (I.e. Lightroom for Mac and iOS).

I’d consider going back to Astropad if it works with Apple Pencil and has solved the pixelation problem. I already paid for Astropad, I’m not going to pay for a subscription too.

Duet can’t really compare with Astropad when it comes to drawing. Not even close. Yes, there used to be pixelation in Astropad before, but that was because the app was art-focused, putting low lag before picture quality. But now even that is fixed. If you want a second screen, Duet is fine, but for actual art, Astropad is the only choice.

As for Standard and Studio - Studio has some nice gestures, shortcuts and pressure curve settings. Standard has the same performance and the most important features. If you plan on using a keyboard instead of gesture shortcuts, Standard is perfectly fine.
 
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Bryan Bowler

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For those doubting this, it's an outstanding product. Once it gets in the wild, you'll see.
 
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holodoctor1

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Dec 1, 2012
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I have one of these (was on the Kickstarter). It works very well and seems to be very low latency. The biggest gamble is losing the dongle!
 
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aevan

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I have one of these (was on the Kickstarter). It works very well and seems to be very low latency. The biggest gamble is losing the dongle!

My biggest fear is that it is, esentially, a hack. It's a very safe hack, I mean it just acts as a second monitor, but I'm always scared with these things that Apple will do something to make it stop working. But, as I said, it's not something really weird, it basically tells the system there is a new monitor attached to your Mac, only this monitor doesn't have the screen (but the system thinks it does). Then this is mirrored to your iPad.

I might actually get one, I just think that I'll have to wait quite a bit before they ship out all the Kickstarter orders.
[doublepost=1531381708][/doublepost]

Ad or not, this is some valuable information for a lot of Apple users. As I keep saying: I don't mind ads when they offer products of value to me and are done with taste. I don't know if this article was payed or someone in Macrumors is just a fan of Astropad (I can imagine both) - but either way it's a great product iPad users should know about. And this discussion here is informative too - for example, people interested in lag, how it compares to Duet, how good is Luna, etc.
 
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Cindori

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Except the examples simply emulate a display being attached so the computer is tricked into acting as if a remote display is attached. The Luna, unlike your example, then connects to an iPad and gives you a second display.

As someone who uses Duet a bit and has preorders a Luna I am interested to see how it performs.

The Luna dongle does nothing to connect to your iPad. It is literally just the same display emulator as the $9 ones I linked.

The display streaming is done over WiFi using software and has nothing to do with the dongle.

You can achieve practically the same result by buying one of those $9 ones and using a VNC app of your choice. Although I expect Astropad made some improvements using Apple Pencil with their app.
 
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jlc1978

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Aug 14, 2009
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The Luna dongle does nothing to connect to your iPad. It is literally just the same display emulator as the $9 ones I linked.

The display streaming is done over WiFi using software and has nothing to do with the dongle.

You can achieve practically the same result by buying one of those $9 ones and using a VNC app of your choice. Although I expect Astropad made some improvements using Apple Pencil with their app.

Fair enough. None f them had software hence my comment. My experience using VNCs is they are slow and do not extend your screen, just give you access on a remote device.

The adapter you listed were HDMI plugs, I wonder why AstroLabs chose USB instead; it would seem a lot easier to simply source an OEM HDMI dongle and develop the appropriate software to use it. Any idea what might be the advantages of USB?

I agree, however, it is the software that is key, not the hardware, since that adds the real capabilities. If AstroLabs makes an iPad act like a second dismal with no noticeable lag and adds in pencil support it will be a useful product for me. Duet also added a Touch Bar to the iPad, which I found useful as well.
 
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Cindori

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Fair enough. None f them had software hence my comment. My experience using VNCs is they are slow and do not extend your screen, just give you access on a remote device.

The adapter you listed were HDMI plugs, I wonder why AstroLabs chose USB instead; it would seem a lot easier to simply source an OEM HDMI dongle and develop the appropriate software to use it. Any idea what might be the advantages of USB?

I agree, however, it is the software that is key, not the hardware, since that adds the real capabilities. If AstroLabs makes an iPad act like a second dismal with no noticeable lag and adds in pencil support it will be a useful product for me. Duet also added a Touch Bar to the iPad, which I found useful as well.

There is no advantage in using USB-C except for compatibility with modern Mac's without requiring adapters. Which is a lot more appealing as a product.
The fact that they had to design, test and manufacture their own design likely added a ton of cost which is reflected in their high price.

I also agree that the software is key. Which is why users should know what they are buying before paying $$$ for the dongle.
 
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jlc1978

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There is no advantage in using USB-C except for compatibility with modern Mac's without requiring adapters. Which is a lot more appealing as a product.
The fact that they had to design, test and manufacture their own design likely added a ton of cost which is reflected in their high price.

Modern Mac's have HMI which the adapters use. I guess they wanted to make it easier to connect with a cable to the iPad since both would use USB.

I also agree that the software is key. Which is why users should know what they are buying before paying $$$ for the dongle.

It will be interesting to see how they differentiate their solution from a NC or Duet. Having a real second monitor and not merely a mirror of the Mac is why I use Duet when traveling.
 
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holodoctor1

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Dec 1, 2012
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My biggest fear is that it is, esentially, a hack. It's a very safe hack, I mean it just acts as a second monitor, but I'm always scared with these things that Apple will do something to make it stop working.

I totally understand the fear here. My hope is that Astro will continue to update around Apple’s updates :). It’s all an arms race! Just like how Apple deactivated Duet with an update and now (I think) it’s back?
 
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