Steve Jobs may hate the idea of using a stylus on his touchscreen devices, but the fact remains that some consumers simply prefer an intermediary accessory for interaction. Whether it’s too cold outside for direct contact, you’re worried about touchscreen germs, or you need a sketching tool, sometimes a stylus can be a good thing. Accessory manufacturers seem to agree, having produced a plethora of styluses for Apple’s iOS devices.
As some people know, in my not-so-secret other life, I enjoy drawing cartoons. Since I bought my first iPad back in April 2010, I’ve been using the device for quite a bit of my scribbling and colouring—most of that with Ten One Design’s Pogo Sketch. So I was excited to play around with some of the other offerings on the market to see how they compared. I’ve spent the past few months testing many, many styluses on both my iPad and iPhone, focusing primarily on the control, feel, and fit of the accessories when sketching or writing (though I also ran through basic navigational tasks).
Note that, as of yet, Apple does not provide access to software APIs that might allow for pressure sensitivity on the iPad. Apps such Sketchbook Pro and Brushes have settings that attempt to imitate true touch sensitivity, but it’s just that—an imitation. So an iPad-stylus combination can’t yet replace a good WACOM tablet—but it’s certainly nice for sketching on the go.