Advanced engineering meets beautiful design in a new hardware tool for touch-screen devices. With features such as erase, blend and adaptive palm rejection, Pencil feels natural to use and opens up a world of creative possibilities.
Pencil is the latest product from FiftyThree and has been created to work in conjunction with the company’s debut app ‘Paper’, which essentially turns an iPad screen into a sketch pad. Having received iPad App of the Year 2012 by Apple, the design team soon decided to follow it up with a bespoke means to get these ideas onto Paper.
When deciding on a style for the Pencil they chose the carpenter pencil form as they liked that it’s been used by builders and makers for centuries. Its tapered tip is suitable for both fine lines and broad strokes. It’s also designed to be as thin as a real pencil, feeling just right in the hand.
With the philosophy that the best tools don’t require a lot of fuss to work, FiftyThree wanted to simplify the product as much as possible. Although there is a lot going on inside, the Pencil looks sleek and easy to use on the outside. Like a real pencil, it’s also made from natural, high-quality materials including ‘Walnut’ – made from sustainable hardwood – and ‘Graphite’ – made from brushed aluminium with a black anodised finish.
The designers worked hard to make Pencil as simple and easy to use as possible. To get started, all the user needs to do is press the Pencil’s tip to the screen and the Kiss-to-Pair functionality will recognise it via a wireless Bluetooth connection. An additional feature is Palm Rejection, which knows whether it’s the user’s palm or Pencil touching the screen. This means that resting your hand on the screen, like you would naturally with a sketch pad, will have no effect on the drawing.
There are some interesting details on the Pencil itself, such as the eraser tip, allowing the Pencil to be flipped so any mistakes can be rubbed out easily. The tip has also been carefully friction-tuned to feel natural on the screen. Additionally, the user can use their fingers to smooth rough edges and blend colours directly on the page.
Although designed for the Paper app and to be connected to iPads with Retina display and iPad mini (not iPad 2), Pencil can be used as a basic stylus with any touch-screen device. It is available in the US and Canada from FiftyThree’s online store, with Graphite priced at $49.95 and Walnut at $59.95.