iPen 2: a pressure-sensitive stylus for your iPad and Mac

By , Jan 26, 2013

ipen 2

Despite Steve Jobs’ public disdain for styli—who can forget the infamous ‘who wants a stylus?’ line—the accessory has proven to be quite popular among Apple users. And if you’ve ever shopped around for one, you know the market is quite crowded.

But the folks at Cregle are hoping there’s room for one more: the iPen 2. That’s right, the team that brought you the original iPen for iPad are back with a much-improved stylus that works on a number of devices, including your iMac and Apple Display…

The iPen 2 is a pressure-sensitive stylus capable of recognizing up to 1024 levels of pressure. It uses strategically-placed receivers with tiny built-in cameras that capture invisible light emitted from the pen tip to triangulate its location. No Bluetooth here.

The stylus essentially comes in two flavors: one for the iMac and Apple Display, and one for the iPad. They are two separate products, each with their own receivers. On the Mac version, there’s two that attach to the screen, and on the iPad, it’s a full case.

Both versions appear to work great, but they have their limitations. On the Mac, pressure recognition is currently only supported in Corel Painter and Autodesk Sketchbook (it works as a mouse though) and there’s not even a list yet for iOS apps.

Cregle is trying to raise $360,000 through Kickstarter to start production of its new iPen. But with only 10 days left in the project, they’re still about $130,000 short. If you’d like to help, a pledge of $79 scores you an iPad model (or $129 for the Mac).

It has to be said that the iPen 2 comes with a bit of an asterisk. The original iPen took a lot of heat from customers for poor build quality and accuracy (read The Verge’s review). Cregle says it’s worked out all the kinks, and is even offering original iPen backers a chance to get an iPen 2 for just $55. But it’s worth noting. Obviously people still have faith in them, as they’ve raised over $200K.

Admittedly, the stylus looks impressive. But I probably won’t be pledging, just because I don’t think the tech is there and proven. I’m also not sure that I’m sold on the benefits of a stylus for your Mac just yet. I’ll stick with my Adonit Jot Pro for now.

What do you think of the iPen 2?

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  • Christophe

    How we use it on a Mac?

    • Raaed Rizza

      It has 2 sensors which are placed on the top of the mac,

  • Guest

    so what happens when u loose the pen? can u use ur finger? which we do now dont we? :S

  • http://twitter.com/TravisBlu_ Travis Blu

    mini USB instead of micro USB? really?

    • JamesR624

      Mini USB is a hell of a lot more durable than micro. I was happy to hear this.

  • Falk M.

    129 is WAY too expensive for drawing on a vertically positioned screen.

    My Wacom surely is at least tenfold more comfortable.

    If you want to draw directly on your digital picture, pony up the monies for a Wacom with a screen. Expensive? Yes, but just like with Apple hardware you’re paying for a complete all-around-nice package and don’t have to live with such immense drawbacks.

    If you need on-screen drawing, do yourself the favor and invest in a Cintiq by Wacom.

    • http://www.facebook.com/matt.dawson.58760 Matt Dawson

      Aren’t those like $2000??? Not everyone has that kind of cash, $129 is a steal in comparison.

      • Falk M.

        They can be had for 400 bucks if you look around and are ok with used stuff. Tech like this is a-ok to buy used because people treat these kinds of devices pretty well mostly.

        Also, sure it’s more expensive, but you don’t get a half-assed user experience and are more productive and happy.
        So if you really need more than a graphics tablet without a screen, do yourself a favor and get what you’re actually upgrading for: the better experience, not just a different awkward one that is ACTUALLY worse.

        Bear in mind my Wacom isn’t a tablet with screen and even THAT will be way more comfortable than drawing on (or should I say at?) a 90° twisted surface/wall.
        Can tilt your screen? Lucky you! Just 75/80° for ya! /s

      • grungiesmoothie

        Get an arm to support your monitor. OH LOOK. Now you can get whatever tilt you want. Even on my normal stand, my iMac gets enough tilt for me. And to be able to draw on my 27″ high quality display iMac with just a $199 pen, I would take it over a Cintiq any day. And the difference in the pressure sensitivity doesn’t bother me. I had experience with a Wacom Intuos 4 at school and used my friends off brand tablet with 1024 pressure sensitivity levels and actually preferred it.

        Besides, the paper like surface of Wacom tablets wear down your nibs faster, and I’m used to very smooth tablets with virtually no grip. My first Wacom tablet is six years old now and still works like a champ, has a surface with no grip whatsoever, an incredibly worn down nib, and lingers at around 500 levels of pressure sensitivity. Now I just want an upgrade to draw on a screen, and this will cost me the same amount as my first Wacom.

  • a generic user

    but… I thought the reason for touch screens was to get rid of styluses

    • http://Michaelschnier.tumblr.com Michael Schnier

      If you’re an artist, fingerpainting isn’t always ideal.

      • http://twitter.com/jrgibson1 Jayar

        I know it’s probably going to sound wrong, me saying this, but if you’re an artist would the iPad be the correct product for you if you *know* you’re going to want to use a stylus?

        (PS: I liked your comment because I agree with you, but…)

      • http://www.facebook.com/sanil.chitrakar Sanil Chitrakar

        You don’t get it. There are people who likes art as a hobby.

      • http://twitter.com/jrgibson1 Jayar

        You’re right, I didn’t understand…which is why I was asking but if art is a hobby then surely an iPad isn’t the product you’re looking for.

      • wadjj

        Show me another mobile device with apps like procreate and inspire pro and I’ll choose that over iPad.

      • http://www.facebook.com/sanil.chitrakar Sanil Chitrakar

        You’re right, that’s why i’m using ipad 3 less and less everyday. And i’m looking forward to get a note 2 because it has lot of other feature that ipad and iphone doesn’t have and one of them is s-pen like feature.

      • http://www.facebook.com/rudolf.boogerman Rudolf Boogerman

        Nothing to do with hobby. A good artist can use any tool and that includes a clunky pen on iPad ;-) Finger painting is fun in itself, but sketching is difficult without a pen due to accuracy problems. Will iPad replace a Wacom tablet? No, but you can take your iPad with you as a sketchbook. In that sense it is a highly professional tool.

      • http://Michaelschnier.tumblr.com Michael Schnier

        Because the iPads have very high resolution screens with amazing color accuracy. If you’re interested in a tablet for art, why wouldn’t you want to pair the iPad you already have with a pressure sensitive pen? They’re incredibly popular tablets.

  • Daniel Beck

    What about palm rejection? I’m assuming it’s built in but it’s also not specifically addressed. That’s more important to me than pressure sensitivity. It’s pretty tough to write naturally holding your hand away from the screen. Also, the whole case thing is a deal breaker. Still waiting for that perfect stylus for the iPad. Samsung is way ahead with their S-pen. Don’t get me wrong, I love my iPad and prefer it to a Samsung tablet, but a stylus can be very handy for multiple uses. One thing I overwhelmingly disagree with Jobs on.

    • http://www.facebook.com/sanil.chitrakar Sanil Chitrakar

      Very true man.

  • http://www.facebook.com/widarto.adi Widarto Adi

    adonit jot pro and nomad brush…

    • Kevin Phillips

      Adonit Jot Pro is crummy on my iPad 3, with lots of skipping. I’d like to try their “Touch” model, but not with my experience on the regular model, and not at $100.