With iPad Pro and Pencil, Apple aims to win over design professionals. We asked one of them to comment on the news before trying it
So, let's start with a couple of assumptions:
Assumption 1: I work with the drawing.
And by job I don't mean a tag line, like: "Hey, hi beauty, I'm an artist", with his elbow leaning against the club counter, the brush sticking out of Zara's jacket and the straw at the side of his lips.
I work in the sense that I pay for my mortgage, bills and living, (and for clubs I don't go because music too loud and locals with too many people make me anxious after a while).
Assumption 2: I've been a cartoonist for 10 years, and after the first 3 I gave up the paper in favor of digital, so I am 7 years that I design ONLY on screens.
Of capacitive pen screens, in the studio, in 7 years, I have changed and tried quite a few, from my first W770 PL720 to the most recent 22-inch Cintiq, all while remaining, still with regards to indoor hardware, faithful to Apple .
For company gadgets the subject changes.
I saw the announcement of the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, and what I would like to concentrate on for a moment.
From the presentation (and from the Pro in the name) it is clear that a machine designed especially for professionals. A machine with which you can have a more working approach, without ever obviously neglecting that of leisure. The machine is a machine with incredible performance (so they say, and why shouldn't I trust them?) It has a bigger and cooler screen than all the iPads seen so far and super fast and powerful.
The machine is so powerful that it can even manage 3 or four 4k video processes simultaneously with iMovie.
The hot comment of a known friend and colleague, at the news, was:
To all this we add the brand new Apple Pencil (which can ONLY be used on this iPad, at least for now, so not on the old ones, as I understand it).
So, as I was saying before, I abandoned Apple products for work and not for work, I abandoned them for a couple of years, and I realized that I had done well one afternoon when I found myself in a coffee shop in New York while it was pouring out, to play Resident Evil 2 on my Nexus 5 on which I had downloaded the PlayStation emulator. With the iPhone I discovered a couple of weeks ago that, recently, the magnificent possibility of playing at Final Fight. Obviously, it's all a question of priorities (and costs), but I digress.
My alternatives to iPads (I stopped the iPad 3) so far, so there have been many.
Assured that many of the capacitive pens initially came out for iPad they didn't give me job satisfaction…
… I've decided for a long time to abandon apple entirely on the portability side in favor of cheaper shores that will satisfy me more.
In the same app that I usually use (Wacom Bamboo Paper, Sketchbook Pro) one of the best purchases of my life was definitely the Galaxy Note 8, a tablet not very powerful and not very big, that for, to date, the one with which I can do more sketches and drawings on the go.
Many of the designs I post on my Instagram and on Facebook are made with that, that a contraption still on the market and that on Amazon is just over 250 euros, pen included.
(image created with Sketchbook Pro on Galaxy Note 8)
And here we talk about an Android tablet that, at the moment, so while I write this piece, offers to the undersigned, then to a professional designer who sees his own things printed and published, more or less the same park as Apple's professional apps.
Of course, there are exceptions, Procreate is an excellent digital design program and is the exclusive preserve of Apple, but Infinite Painter, its counterpart for Android does his job damn good, complete with perspective functions, nuances, etc.
I made the comparison with Android for a very simple reason, not because I think Android is better, but because at the moment both operating systems (iOS and Android), at program level, can only offer me entertainment. Where by leisure I mean making a kind of designs that, for me, do not have the purpose of printing.
After a couple of damages on the Lenovo Thinkpad, one of the first PCs with capacitive pen (which lasted 4 hours when it wasn't charging and weighed like a fat child of two years sleeping with stones in my pocket) I bought, in 2013, a Surface Pro.
The Surface Pro, which the real rival to which Apple and the iPad Pro are trying to steal the friends of the heart, arrived today at its third model (they are about to announce the fourth). When I took the first one, I considered it a real revolution: as big as a tablet, as light as a tablet, but as powerful as a PC, it gave me great satisfaction, especially in the first period of our relationship.
With a Wacom pen of 1024 pressure levels (the Cintiq have 2048, I tell you, in case you don't wash said before, but I don't remember and don't feel like re-reading everything), 4GB of RAM, 128GB of hard disk and Windows 8 how it works, was the first portable device that allowed me to work in a really professional way, around the world.
The Surface Pro has occupied my personal podium as the best product (remember: PROFESSIONAL) on the go, for 7 months, at the end of the seventh month, for, with the arrival at the home of the Cintiq Companion, license plate Wacom, I really realized the limits of which Surface suffered.
Many sites and many professionals of the sector consider the so-called pressure levels a negligible element in a tablet accompanied by a capacitive pen.
Here, the thing is not entirely true.
All (or almost) the models of professional Wacom graphics tablets (on screen and not) currently on the market, allow you to have an intensity of the pressure level of the pen on the table equal to 2048 levels, it means that the possibility of enlarging and diminishing, or of fading, the stroke of the pen at its passage, extremely wide and precise.
The first two models of the Surface Pro and many models of the Galaxy series, have a pen capable of supporting up to 1024 pressure levels, which is half of those offered by Wacom (the Surface pro 3 has even only 256). If this problem could be of little importance for artists who do color stuff (for explanatory but not limitative purposes: illustrations for magic cards, concept art for video games, illustrations for children's books, portraits of unamis without clothes that then can't finish because it was an excuse, among other things excellent, for trombarsela), the same rule does not apply to cartoonists who produce high-resolution images, in black and white, for printing.
The incredible precision of a product that offers 2048 levels of pressure, allows, in fact, to have a reliability, especially in inking, superior to any other device, making the line, which will then be printed on paper, as close as possible to a stroke obtained with a real pen on a real sheet in the real world.
The devices that offer 1024 levels of pressure or less, placed in front of a professional press, show, with an attentive eye, on the lines, an annoying zigzag typical of the lines made with an electronic accessory not powerful enough, and therefore, not suitable for replicating a line made specifically for the press.
Now, maybe some of you will react:
But that's the point.It may seem unanimous, yet, the whole key here.A professional device that can be useful to you from someone who does not, I recognize it exactly from this, from the way it succeeds it comes out to work completed, finished, printed.
LiPad Pro, on paper, an incredible machine. If the Apple Pencil were able to support 2048 pressure levels (which we still don't know) and the App Store will finally have professional programs such as Photoshop and Manga Studio with all the functions of the case, it could really be a machine capable of competing with the Surface Pro and the Wacom Companion.
At the moment, as far as I'm concerned, and, I suppose, the people who do the same job as me, a tablet of the kind can be considered to be great fun, but surely a difficult substitute for a Wacom Cintiq Companion that, with all the faults that many complain (to me it hasn't given many problems in 2 years that I have it) and despite being, I imagine, less powerful on a hardware level than this new iPad, anyway to an operating system that supports all the programs more powerful pros, two USB sockets, a microSD slot, 128GB of hard disk and 99 euros away from the 1000 euros model of this iPad Pro (the 99 euros more than Wacom are calculated on the 1300 of the iPad, if we add keyboard and pen for the 128GB model).
Oh, then I'm doing all these considerations on paper. But above all I'm doing it based on that Pro written after iPad.
The Wired guys told me they let me try it as soon as it arrives. If so, I will be happy to make tests and give more detailed considerations. That one thing is clear after all this talk, if I see that cool and funny as it seems, I'll buy it, asking Adobe to release a stupid version of Photoshop as soon as possible where you can, at least, make stupid layouts.
That as a good compulsive buyer of ALL products have a built-in pen, an excuse to justify the purchase I have always been able to tell.
On the sidelines: if you bought my bi-monthly A Panda Likes the adventure published by Panini comics, you will notice a substantial difference between the number 1 and 2 (realized with Surface Pro) and the numbers 3-8 realized with Wacom Cintiq Companion, as proof of the fact that I don't invent things and I don't tell lies, as it does, like, boh, I think of a random name, Matteo.