IPad - the missing ingredient

elgrecomac

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 15, 2008
1,159
158
San Diego
I really like my iPad 2. It has replaced a lot of my computer-based needs and has added several new ones.

The one big hole is its less than stellar ability to be used as a note taking device for either work or school. YES, I have purchased the best apps for this use but the problem is the writing device. For note taking, your finger tip doesn't cut it. I have purchased several different types of "writing pens" for the iPad but they are no quite right because the pen tip is to wide. It's like taking notes with a highlighter rather than a pen or pencil.

There needs to be a fine (and ultra fine) point writing device but as of now, to the best of my knowledge, there are none. EStylo looks very promising but the company is brand new and not commercially available unless you were one of their Initial investors.

I want to eliminate the need for a physical note taking pad of paper forever but using my finger tip or a wide tipped writing stylus is not the answer. It must mimic a pen or pencil.

Does anyone have a suggestion?
 

jojoba

macrumors 68000
Dec 9, 2011
1,582
21
The 'magnifying glass' function on Notability is what makes it work for me. Did you try that? I take all my notes on my iPad now and will not look back.
 

andiwm2003

macrumors 601
Mar 29, 2004
4,343
402
Boston, MA
people recommend the bamboo stylus but when I looked at it it has the same shaped tip like all other stylus brands.

It semms to be a technical limitation that they need a large surface area for the stylus to work.

Since Apple is opposed to the use of a stylus I don't see a chance that Apple would provide a API so that developers could change the sensitivity of the capacitative screen to make a fine tip stylus work.

The lack of a good stylus support together with the lack of a real file system are the main reason I din't upgrade to the iPad2.
 

Arelunde

macrumors 6502a
Jul 6, 2011
980
28
CA Central Coast
Try the "Just/mobile" aluminum stylus - It's a bit like holding a fat crayon, but it works beautifully. Smooth writing and responsive screen actions. You can make a fine line by selecting it in settings for most note apps.

However, I agree that it would be so much better to have a pen/pencil-like stylus for writing notes. Maybe someday...
 

APlotdevice

macrumors 68040
Sep 3, 2011
3,120
3,790
Check out the eFun aPen and upcoming Cregle iPen. These two very similar products use an external sensor (which plugs into the dock connector) to achieve a much finer point, as well as perfect palm rejection.
 

porcupine8

macrumors 6502a
Mar 2, 2011
843
5
I have honestly found that the software makes all the difference. The same stylus (I have a Targus) can write like crap or wonderfully in different programs - and I agree with jojoba that a zoom function is an important part of that.
 

littledude8209

macrumors regular
Jun 18, 2009
120
0
Try the Jot Pro. I absolutely love that stylus. They also have the Jot Studio app on iTunes for free for this week!
 
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jojoba

macrumors 68000
Dec 9, 2011
1,582
21
I have honestly found that the software makes all the difference. The same stylus (I have a Targus) can write like crap or wonderfully in different programs
Agreed. I think I tried more than ten different ones before I settled on Notability, all with the same stylus. HUGE difference.
 

elgrecomac

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 15, 2008
1,159
158
San Diego
Thank you all

It appears that there is hope. But I sincerely hope that Apple integrates handwriting tools into their IOS products as it is a natural fit. You know, "I've got my school books here. I've got my research tool here. And I have my class room note taking tool here." It just makes sense.

The typical Apple stubbornness about such things as a writing device for an iPad or, historically, a two button mouse for its computers has always seemed silly to me.
 

zipur

macrumors 6502a
Mar 3, 2011
583
75
The great state of Texas
Try the Ifariday and notability with the zoom feature. You write on the lower quarter of the screen and it works vert well. Also consider that the ipad3 could be a game changer in this area. I would think they could further own the market if they designed an Istylis.
 

anthonymoody

macrumors 68030
Aug 8, 2002
2,642
704
Too lazy to look for the link right now (sorry!) but google the upcoming app from the guys who make readdle. They demo'ed it at Macworld 2012 recently. There's a good video showing some of its features including some pretty great stylus use.
 

mattraehl

macrumors 6502
Feb 26, 2005
384
1
From a hardware perspective capactive touch screens are not as well-suited to very finely detailed input (e.g. handwriting) as the type of stylus-only ("activie digitizer") screen that is in traditional tablet PCs. My understanding is that speaking purely on handwriting input, the iPad can't touch a stylus-based tablet PC.

Jobs' well-publicized disdain for styluses notwithstanding, the number of styluses and note-taking apps out there tell me that people want to be able to do this with their iPads, hopefully the iPad can be improved in this area.
 

jsh1120

macrumors 65816
Jun 1, 2011
1,037
1
From a hardware perspective capactive touch screens are not as well-suited to very finely detailed input (e.g. handwriting) as the type of stylus-only ("activie digitizer") screen that is in traditional tablet PCs. My understanding is that speaking purely on handwriting input, the iPad can't touch a stylus-based tablet PC.

Jobs' well-publicized disdain for styluses notwithstanding, the number of styluses and note-taking apps out there tell me that people want to be able to do this with their iPads, hopefully the iPad can be improved in this area.
What he said... Master salesman that he was, Mr. Jobs was always capable of treating a product weakness as a strength. ("It's not a bug; it's a feature.") The capacitive screen is both cheaper and lighter (requires less hardware) than PC's designed for stylus input. Where it fails is in terms of fine detail input.

Having said that, the Jot Pro does a fairly good job of identifying the "marking point" that is the center of the larger "touch point" circle on the iPad's capacitive screen. It does so by employing a transparent disc for the touch point and enables the user to see where the center of that disc appears on the screen.

The Jot Pro has had other problems, however, largely "missed strokes" stemming from faulty manufacturing and/or a decline in conductivity between the disc and the point. (This can be remedied with a tiny dab of conductive grease applied to the point before inserting it into the disc. A simpler fix that sometimes works is to immerse the disc and point in dish washing liquid, rinsing and drying thoroughly.

Still another option is to select a stylus with a smaller "tip" than is common among those with a rubber "globe." The iFaraday models use a conductive fabric tip that is smaller than most styluses and once you "learn" where the "marking point" is for your particular writing style, they work quite well.

Finally, it's important to understand that there is simply NO SOLUTION to the problem that writing on a glass screen is different from writing on paper with a pen or pencil. The various note taking apps differ in terms capabilities and features but they all share one overriding characteristic; you must practice, practice, practice in order to use one effectively. When you were 7 you didn't learn to use a pencil and paper to write efficiently in a few hours. Consider yourself a seven year old and learn to write with the tools you have. It is a PITA of the first order but if you're going to use the iPad for handwritten notes, it's your only option.
 

ThunderSkunk

macrumors 68030
Dec 31, 2007
2,962
2,507
Milwaukee Area
Apple can be as anti-stylus as they want right now, but eventually, tablet mfgs will start to get desperate for additional hardware to pack in their annual upgrades. Precision writing, drawing, and illustration, will be a big push as creative apps stack up in the app store. At some point, MFG's begin to license Wacom digitizer layers, and Apple will either integrate one or take the costly approach & be the straggler. Wacom won't want to cut any deals as long as they're sitting on years worth of Cintiq's & whatnot, but I think they're not dumb, and realize the future of their business isn't trying to sell thousands of their own tablets & monitors, but putting one of their digitizers in each of hundreds of millions of other MFGs tablets, and an OSX interface app in the store.

If I were Apple, I'd buy Wacom now.
 

thekev

macrumors 604
Aug 5, 2010
6,781
2,063
Apple can be as anti-stylus as they want right now, but eventually, tablet mfgs will start to get desperate for additional hardware to pack in their annual upgrades. Precision writing, drawing, and illustration, will be a big push as creative apps stack up in the app store. At some point, MFG's begin to license Wacom digitizer layers, and Apple will either integrate one or take the costly approach & be the straggler. Wacom won't want to cut any deals as long as they're sitting on years worth of Cintiq's & whatnot, but I think they're not dumb, and realize the future of their business isn't trying to sell thousands of their own tablets & monitors, but putting one of their digitizers in each of hundreds of millions of other MFGs tablets, and an OSX interface app in the store.

If I were Apple, I'd buy Wacom now.
Other companies have hired Wacom to write their tablet drivers in the past, so it's entirely possible. I don't know what their sales volume is like. They make a few different things. The wacom tablets are a niche market, but they basically have a monopoly on it. It's a smaller market, and they keep their drivers up to date for many years.
 
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