Artists are increasingly turning to the iPad for their latest creations, so it should be little surprise to find that longtime drawing tablet maker Wacom is now jumping into the stylus market with an iPad-specific offering.
I have a life-long passion for art. Unfortunately, due to the usual demands of adulthood, I haven’t drawn since architecture school 20 years ago. I’ve also been slow to try my hand at creating digital art because the software and graphics tablets seemed too darn expensive.
Andreas Haas is persistent, I'll give him that. Approximately three years before the original iPad was released, the co-founder and his company Axiotron, attempted to bring the world its first MacBook Pro tablet. Using the insides of the MBP, Axiotron's engineers were able to design a tablet computer running OS X. Axiotron didn't take off, but Haas and his OS X tablet dream never died.
Today, Haas and his new company Modbook Inc., announced that he once again will venture into the OS X tablet market. The tablet market in 2012, traditionally consists of a mobile platform. Haas however, plans on releasing "the world's most powerful and largest-screen tablet computer" this fall, running the soon to be brand new, OS X Mountain Lion.
Remember Lloyd Dobler’s classic line, “I gave her my heart, and she gave me a pen”? Poor Lloyd. Maybe if Diane Court’s lame parting gift was a pen with integrated iPad stylus, some of that heartbreak would have been ameliorated. But they got back together by the end of the movie, so I guess it’s OK.
Graphics tablet users are an odd bunch. They’ll tell you how a mouse is a horrible input device. How you’ll eventually end up with a medical device wrapped around your wrist while they draw pretty pictures of flowers and mock up logos with a pen. That love of the tablet inevitably leads them to one company: Wacom. Frankly, there isn’t another tablet maker out there that even comes close--which puts the company in an odd position. How do you upgrade a product that’s already near perfect?
Wacom’s Inkling is a fabulous concept: draw in your own notebook, with a real pen, and easily download digital versions of those drawings onto your computer. In theory, it improves on existing digital tools--support for layers makes it more flexible than a scanner, and real ink and paper offer better feel and control than a tablet. The Inkling should be a perfect bridge between digital and analog art. Unfortunately, the product still has a few kinks to work out before we can truly sings its praises. The Inkling certainly does what it sets out to do--it effectively captures a digital likeness of anything you sketch. We just wish it did a better job.
In more ways than one, the Bamboo Connect is the pen tablet for people who don’t need pen tablets. Graphic designers and other digital artists won’t be satisfied with its small active area, plasticky pen, or featureless simplicity. So who would get something out of it? Pretty much everyone who’s curious about a tablet but isn’t willing to drop a lot of money on that curiosity. Even the box advertises how awesome it is for things like “handwritten notes, sketches, and doodles.” In other words, no matter who you are, you don’t need it. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth buying.
Despite what it might sound like at first, Wacom’s Cintiq monitor/tablet combo isn’t just a wacky gimmick--although it does feel pretty sci-fi and futuristic. Essentially, it’s all the technology of the Intuos4 tablet crammed into a 21.3-inch touch-sensitive display. The Cintiq boasts 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity--double that of the previous generation--and the ability to recognize the angle of the pen in applications like Photoshop and Painter. Our tests revealed smooth lines while painting with the Brush tool and more realistic strokes as the Cintiq matched our natural drawing angle.