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The Apple iPad 9.7-inch 2018 model with Pencil as a writer’s tool

2018-05-21

The Apple iPad tablet is a familiar product for many writers and book lovers because of the ibooks application, and other apps on the tablet. Recently, Apple made the 2018 model of the 9.7-inch iPad compatible with the Pencil stylus that allows writing and drawing directly on the screen. How does the iPad help writers at their work?
Apple iPad 9.7 Pencil, woman drawing
During 2018, several new products have addressed the same scenario: a compact portable computer with a long battery life that allows people who read plenty of documents or books to read and to annotate those documents. Writing and drawing may have their own applications, but typically, the devices let users annotate directly on the document that is displayed on the screen.

It is now possible to choose between a tablet or an ereader that allows writing directly on the screen. The iPad 9.7 inch with Pencil represents tablets, and for instance, Remarkable, Sony DPT-CP1 and Onyx Boox Max 2 are ereaders that have a large screen and allow writing.

The interesting thing is that the 9.7 inch Apple iPad with Pencil costs less than the ereaders that come with a stylus. The start price for the iPad 9.7-inch 2018 is USD 329 plus USD 99 for the Pencil (total USD 428).
Apple iPad 9.7 tablet with Pencil stylus
In addition to writing and drawing directly on the screen, the stylus makes it easier to:

Select text
Move objects and text blocks
Highlight text
Annotate and mark documents

It depends on the application you are using which features the Apple Pencil has. The applications Apple has designed and included with the iPad have all the possible features whereas non-Apple apps may allow a subset of features.

Handwriting on the iPad screen with the Pencil feels different than writing with a pen on paper. The glass screen of the iPad and the plastic tip of the stylus establish a hard contact that may feel strange at first. Nonetheless, after a little practice, writing on the screen produces a result that everyone easily can recognize as your handwriting.

Many features are available for handwriting, like line thickness and shading. They can be achieved by tilting or holding the Pencil in a slightly different angle. For drawing, the iPad 9.7 inch 2018 model and the Pencil has many options. Artists and designers can use the tablet and the stylus for quickly drafting sketches. Also writers can easily draft schemas, symbols, and block diagrams that complement written notes.
Apple iPad 9.7 inch 2018, Pencil sketch message

Apple iPad or a 10-inch screen ereader?

A tablet is a multipurpose device. It is really a computer without a physical keyboard – and the iPad happens to be a very powerful computer. Writers who want a compact mobile computer for their research trips should find a tablet a useful tool. Having documents, notes, drafts, and sketches on the tablet and backed up to the cloud is valuable during a project.

Ereaders were originally designed for reading ebooks alone, but since the sharp grayscale screen and long battery life has converted many people to ereader users, companies like Sony and Onyx have designed devices that can be used for writing as well. Although it is possible to write on ereaders, like the Sony DPT-CP1 and Onyx Boox Max 2, they are still ereaders first. Still, writing and drawing on the screen of an ereader can be even more comfortable than on a tablet.

A review of the Apple iPad 9.7-inch with Pencil

Nathan of The Ebook Reader blog has recorded a balanced overview and comparison of the iPad against ereaders. Here is the video.

Apple iPad 9.7-inch 2018 model with Pencil key features and specifications

9.7-inch (diagonal) display with IPS technology. 2048-by-1536-pixel resolution (264 ppi, pixels per inch).
Display works with the Apple Pencil stylus.
A10 Fusion chip, 64-bit architecture. M10 coprocessor.
Rear camera: 8-megapixels, autofocus, panorama (up to 43 megapixels), HDR, exposure control, burst mode, timer, ƒ/2.4 aperture. 1080p HD video recording, slow‑motion at 120 fps, time-lapse, video stabilization.
Front camera: 1.2-megapixel photos, ƒ/2.2 aperture,720p HD video recording.
Wi-Fi.
Bluetooth 4.2
Cellular models can connect to 3G and 4G mobile networks.
GPS and Glonass satellite location.
Fingerprint sensor.
Operating system iOS 11.
Apple Pay.
Siri voice control system.
AirPlay connection to Apple TV.
Height: 9.4 inches / 240 mm, width: 6.6 inches / 169 mm, depth: 0.29 inch / 7.5 mm, weight: 1.05 pounds / 478 g.
Lithium-Polymer battery allows up to 10 hours of web, video and music over Wi-Fi connection.

A digitally connected pen for writers who like to write by hand

2016-01-11

There are writers who still like to type on a mechanical typewriter or write by hand. We also like to sketch new ideas with a pen, but pretty soon those words and drawings must be retyped and redrawn on a computer. The idea of a pen that is connected to a computer is nothing new, but so far only few products have worked well. Stabilo, a German company renowned for its pens, has introduced the Digipen that tries to provides writers what they need.
stabilo digipen
The Stabilo Digipen is used like an ordinary pen. You can write and draw on paper (you can see what you do and you get a paper document) or any other surface. The pen tracks the movement of its tip, the pressure you apply on it and the angle you hold it. The data is transmitted to a smartphone, tablet, or PC that is connected to the pen via wireless Bluetooth. If the transmitted data contains words, they are converted into text that can be further processed as any text on a digital device.

There is a battery in the pen that must be kept charged. If the Bluetooth connection doesn’t work, the pen can be connected to another device via USB cable.

In principle, if words suddenly start flowing from your head and you quickly want to write them down, but you happen to be queuing for customer service at a bank, you can pull out your Digipen, use any solid surface as your writing pad and write. The words are automatically stored on your smartphone (if you have connected it with the Digipen).

A video by Liliputing shows how the pen works (the pen was connected to a tablet via USB cable because wireless connections on a busy show floor didn’t work):

The Stabilo Digipen was announced at the CES Show in early January 2016, but the company didn’t tell the product price or availability.

Apple iPad Pro is both an ebook reader and a computer for some serious work

2015-09-10

Tablets became an instant hit product category in 2010, when the original Apple iPad was introduced. Five years, and several iPad models later, Apple has decided to make the iPad bigger. The iPad Pro has a 12.9- inch display which promotes the tablet into the same size category where laptops such as the MacBook and Macbook Air already are.
apple ipad pro, man on a beach
The starting price for the iPad Pro is $799 (models with higher specs are $949 and $1079), making it a bit cheaper than the MacBook or Macbook Air. As the name implies, the iPad Pro is targeted to professional use: enterprises, entrepreneurs and artists.

If you want to use the iPad Pro as an ereader, you can load your EPUB and PDF ebooks to the included iBooks app. The large screen is well suited for reading PDF-books and documents. Also fixed layout multimedia books created in iBooks Author shine on the large high-resolution display.

Because of its price, using the iPad Pro solely for reading and web surfing, however, may not justify the investment.

If you want to use the iPad Pro also as a computer where you write your next bestseller, you probably want to buy a detachable keyboard from Apple or from a accessory manufacturer, like Logitech. Apple’s keyboard for the iPad Pro is a protective case that can be folded and used as a stand and as a keyboard. The Apple keyboard for the iPad costs $169.
apple ipad pro, pencil drawing
Authors, artists and graphic designers may find a stylus that Apple has developed specifically for the iPad useful. It is called the Pencil, and its price is $99. A reason for the high price of the Apple stylus is that it comes with embedded electronics. The Pencil can sense the angle how it is held in the hand and the pressure it is pushed against the screen, and the tablet app behaves accordingly.

iBooks Author is not on the list of applications that are available for the iPad Pro. iBooks Author is an application that runs on Mac computers (OS X). It is used for creating fixed layout multimedia ebooks, such as books about movies or travel guides.

A similar product with Apple’s large tablet is Microsoft Surface Pro. It has a 12-inch display, and a stylus is included in the product package. Incidentally, the Surface Pro prices start at $799. Microsoft introduced a soft case that doubles as a decent keyboard for the tablet already two years ago.

Other large screen ereaders and tablets are, for instance, Sony DPT-S1 ereader with 13.3 inch black-and-white E ink screen and Samsung Galaxy Pro Android tablet with 12.2-inch screen.

View a hands-on video of the iPad Pro where you can see the keyboard case and pencil as well:

Apple iPad Pro key features and technical specifications

– iOS 9 operating system software with multitasking.
– iBooks ebook reading app pre-installed.
– 12.9-inch LED-backlit display.
– Resolution 2732 x 2048 at 264 pixels per inch (ppi).
– Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic, antireflective coating.
– 8 megapixel camera.
– Camera features: autofocus, ƒ/2.4 aperture, face detection, exposure control, panorama images (up to 43 megapixels), timer, geotagging.
– Video mode: 1080p HD video recording (30 fps), slow motion (120 fps), time-lapse video, image stabilization, geotagging.
– Front camera: 1.2 megapixel photos, 720p video recording.
– Two microphones for video calls and recording.
– Wi‑Fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac).
– Bluetooth 4.2.
– Models with mobile network: 3G and LTE.
– GPS in models with mobile network.
– 64‑bit processor A9X. M9 motion coprocessor.
– Apple Pay.
– Siri.
– Battery life: up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi‑Fi, watching video, or listening to music.