iPad Reveal Roundup, A Fingerpainting Perspective

Mia Robinson

Now that the excitement from yesterday’s iPad reveal has died down a bit (and only a bit)…

My first ipad painting

### Let’s talk shop, shall we?

Steve Jobs did an amazing job (you can watch the QT-stream here) of marketing Apple’s newest member dream-team product line-up–the iPad. The revolutionary touch tablet is a grand fusion of everything you love about a laptop and smartphone, a go-between, if you will, and is Apple’s proposed replacement for the underwhelming and inefficient Netbook.

Showcasing features that would be most appealing to the mainstream, the iPad appears to cover all the bases – browsing, email, photo management, music, and ebooks (which also came with the announcement of the iBookstore). The half inch thin, 1.5 lb tablet comes with a 9.7″ touch screen and some pretty impressive specs.

The reality here is—if you already enjoy Apple products, the hardware and design are not going to be a hard sell.

### But, we don’t care about that, do we?

The question finally arrives: **what’s in it for the avid fingerpainter?** So far, Dear Fingerpainters, it looks like they may have developed this device with some of your very specific needs in mind.

Steve Sprang’s (Brushes creator) appearance was definite validation of the above statement. Apple invited a few app developers into the mix a couple weeks earlier and asked them to develop “iPad ready” versions of their apps. Sprang did not disappoint, presenting an improved and enlarged version of Brushes—making full use of all that lovely new space. No more pop-up windows for brush, color, opacity adjustments. All tools in full view and can be readjusted without losing view of your image. And no more Brushes Viewer (must have a mac) requirements for video playback—you can tap into a video replay of your work directly on the device itself.

Sprang live on stage
Foto: Engadget

“They only had two, two and a half weeks to work on this.” Job says, “Imagine what they can do with more time.”

So we know two things about this tablet—it’s mobile and Brushes-ready. BUT—the BIGGER question is:
### Is it fingerpainter-ready?

Earlier this week, we developed a “iTablet” wishlist—the perfect mobile touch tablet for the everyday fingerpainter.

### Did it meet up? Let’s review.
**Pressure Sensitivity** – Sadly, the iPad does not offer pressure sensitivity. But what it lacks, it seems to make up for in design and app efficiency.

**Higher Touch Screen Scan Rate** – The multi-touch screen is based on iphone technology, but Apple claims to have further enhanced it for the larger scale, reengineering it for more precision and responsiveness.

**No more one-way syncing** – It appears that the new device will be syncable with multiple devices, including iphone/touch, laptop and digital cameras. But let’s take this one a bit further, the iPad is _projector friendly_. Very ideal for those of us wanting to give live fingerpainting or app demos, which has been a huge obstacle in the past with the iphone.

**Open Interchangeable format** – Well this is up to the apps, and at this point, remains unaddressed.

**Mobility** – Device is certainly mobile (maybe not as lowkey as the iphone/touch though). Lightweight enough to carry around.

But, is that enough to sell you on the iPad? Inquiring minds want to know.


32 Responses to “iPad Reveal Roundup, A Fingerpainting Perspective”

  • Thierry Says:

    Great roundup Benjamin! It’s now evident that artists are one of the main target for this device and I’m thrilled to have seen fingerpainting being recognized on such a world wide event.
    It’s an amazing device though I hoped we would see a 128 GB version in place of the 64 GB… surely next year.
    Too bad for pressure sensitivity, but I guess clever software tricks will help us bridge that gap while waiting for a third party solution.
    I also wonder when using a Stylus if you can rest your palm on part of the active screen while drawing/painting. Probably not… it might be tiring to paint on it for extended time with the hand always in the air.
    It’s fine to do so on a small iPod or iPhone cause you can always rest on some support on the side of the device but here while painting on the center of the screen, how will that happen?
    The solution might be exclusive finger-painting! 😉
    The battery life sounds great too, I guess from what was revealed we’ll be able to paint a full day on one charge. Pretty cool!

  • Glendon Mellow Says:

    I’d love to get one – it’s the type of tech that will get better with time of course, but give it six months and we might see a ton of artsy apps here.

    One of my problems with SketchBook Pro and Brushes is that they array of tiny brush choices is really difficult to select at that end of the scale. The larger screen will presumably make moving the slider easier in slight nudges.

    Thierry makes some good points about using a stylus.

  • Klim Says:

    ‘The revolutionary touch tablet is a grand fusion of everything you love about a laptop and smartphone, a go-between, if you will, and is Apple’s proposed replacement for the underwhelming and inefficient Netbook.’

    Please stop buying Apple’s words at face value and writing off the netbooks as inefficient. Granted they are not the greatest thing out there but I’ve one word… multitasking. Try play Last.fm/Pandora app while fingerpainting for a simple example. Revolutionary? Not in the least bit. Apple had a perfect chance to replace the netbook but they failed. I use both laptop and netbook and am far from ‘inefficient’.
    Enjoy the Apple tablet all you like, just don’t make baseless statements. Please and thank you.

  • Thierry Says:

    I’m sure multitasking will be available on OS 4.0, if not before. It’s just a current limitation imposed by Apple (originating from not powerful enough first gen iPods/iPhones) not by the device. IPads will be powerful enough to support it, no doubt.

  • Mia Robinson Says:

    I like the idea of modifying accessories to accommodate that pressure sensitivity need. Now, Let’s see if they do. No doubt, we will have more to say about this device once we get our hands on it (I personally think they should donate one (or a few) to a group of fingerpainters…(doesn’t have to be me, either! lol–but I’d like to get the perspective of a bonafide fingerpainting artist on the books.)

    And Klim, duly noted…I should have rephrased that because I am very aware that it is a claim made by Apple and apple only at this point. So no offense to you and your device of choice. I personally have found the netbook to be underwhelming, but from an efficiency standpoint, it really depends on your needs. Netbook internet speed was far too slow for me–among other things. But I think it is a legitimate piece of technology–so point taken. 🙂

  • Klim Says:

    @Thierry – True, so everybody is hoping but AFAIK there has been no verification on this. Regardless, they had quite the nerve to release something that is NO better than an iPhone before they had actual revolutionary or a single new exciting feature. I’m sure v2.0 of the iPad will be better, but they should not have released this and blown away all our hopes for a truly revolutionary device. And they call this ‘magical’.

    @Mia – Tx. But I can see no way a netbook can have slower internet speed then anything else. Only a browser may affect that. Or maybe a truly bottomline cheap netbook with a poor reciever. Normal speeds on my Eee PC @250. Plus I can tether my iPhone to it and not pay another ridiculous data fee (I know it’s optional, but see Amazon’s whispernet). I counted down the days till the iPad release but Jobs must have lost his marbles.

  • Benjamin Rabe Says:

    @mia I second that donation model 🙂
    @thierry the palm, yes, kept thinking about that, too. I used those cotton gloves when painting on the cintiq, with fingertips cut off. Maybe that to be a solution on the iPad, too.

  • Thierry Says:

    Hey Klim, I see your point and I had my share of disappointment too but I still think this device will rock our socks like no ePC could do it.
    I’ve had for 2 years a UMPC with Windows on it and it’s the closest device to the iPad that has been released so far (PC-Tablets have been too bulky and unpractical up to now). I can interact and draw on it with any pen, but somehow I can’t produce art like I do on my iPod or use it as intuitively (and I only have 1h30 of battery life..). The difference is in the smoothness of the Apple’s multitouch, it’s unmatched and it will be even better and more precise on the iPad, no doubt about it. So it all comes down to who will use the device but for fingerpainters the iPad will surely be revolutionary and magical, especially at this price tag (I grant it to you, not everybody will see the same benefit as we do). You could always buy a Modbook for 3 times the price and get much more, but how many can afford this? The iPad will be an incredibly good alternative and certainly for a lot of other activities too. So Steve is not entirely wrong in my opinion, but only the future will tell how successful that revolution will be 😉

  • Jonathan Grauel Says:

    I am so excited about this product. I am looking forward to drawing and painting on it. Thanks for the roundup!

  • Mia Robinson Says:

    i agree, Thierry…through the eyes of one who has been using the iphone to create art for such a long time, it is a breath of fresh air to have the option of doing it on the larger scale…AND still be mobile. Even with a modbook, that thing is too heavy to tote around the city (I’m in DC and travel much on Metro. Yes, we are standing on iphone/touch technology (that was a true breakthrough), BUT we are talking still about the fingerpainter’s wishlist–did it, in fact, meet up to the everyday fingerpainter or iphone artists’ needs…to me, there is still no clear answer there. But the consensus for most has been that we just wanted a BIGGER SCREEN–and we got it! lol I adore the 10 hours of battery life, the mobility and the projector friendliness aspects of it…but so long as the apps are well developed (which they have demonstrated through their development on the iphone), I am selfishly content (as I have said many times)…I’m happy about it…but I also recognize that we need to test it ourselves AND it is clearly no replacement for a cintiq or modbook…

  • Mia Robinson Says:

    one more addition: affordability makes that okay and the pricing was a good move on Apple’s part.

  • Thierry Says:

    Yes, Mia, bigger screen, faster processor, longer battery life, all this will inevitably lead to much more possibilities through apps like Brushes, SketchBook Mobile, Inspire etc. and I’m going to be very happy with this… that is until iPad 2.0 is announced haha 😉
    I only miss multitasking on my iPOd when I want to be connected to Skype and listen to the radio, so no big problem there as I will mostly work at home on that device.

  • Benjamin Rabe Says:

    As Gruber stated, the iPad is all about SPEED. Thus all about user-experience in the end. And they mentioned improvements in terms of touch-screen resolution/responsibility, which was’nt very clear. Here’s a good post on ‘are they hiding something?

    one minor thing: the big bezel, why? is it easier to hold that way?

  • Matthew Says:

    If you were hoping this would replace your laptop and net book perhaps you are going to be disappointed. For me it’s the big iphone that i wanted. Perfect for fingerpainting. Except it wont be a phone (good) and doesn’t have a camera (bad). It promises to be fast. Let’s hope it’s reliable. I have had three iphones and two of them have given me problems.

  • Thierry Says:

    Oh, very sorry dear Mia for the confusion in my first post, just realized you wrote the roundup (so used to see articles form Benjamin I didn’t check the top title all way through). Congrats the same 😉 !

  • Benjamin Rabe Says:

    @Klim how would multitasking improve fingerpainting (which is ultimately the focus of this blog), any ideas?
    other than getting inspiration through listening to last.fm, of course I would like that 🙂
    I think some sharable dockument stack other than the photo library is something I would actually prefer over multitasking right now.

  • Kevin Barba Says:

    @mia, great write-up!

    as a fingerpainter I kind of wonder if having the larger screen will make me transition to using the pogo stylus more often…now where did i last put that, i guess I have 58 days to find it. 🙂

  • Kevin Barba Says:

    random thought, I wonder if Steve is going to write a transfer action to allow brushes files to transfer from device to device so that you can keep the gallery in sync between your iPhone and the iPad…………

  • Klim Says:

    @Benjamin – Multitasking may not be all that important for fingerpainting, true. I was really referring to Mia’s sharp bias in the post that knocked netbooks needlessly.

    @Matthew – Unfortunately, that’s exactly what Steve touted it to be in his presentation, a ‘fix’ for the netbook. Releasing a ‘big iphone’ shouldn’t take an entire event. Jobs has been pulling our leg.

    @Mia – I was impressed with the price until I realized they didn’t add a single new feature and that that price would be higher across the border here in Canada. And for only 16gb to start? In my experience, iTunes converts all images for better viewing by tripling the size so that space would be gone as fast as on my 32gb iPhone. 🙁
    So again, enjoy it for the benefits that it does bring you. But don’t give Jobs the pleasure of calling this revolutionary or magical. iPhones and iPod were revolutionary.

  • Michael Ives Says:

    I know myself well enough that I will buy an iPad for no other reason that I like large areas to both create on and for viewing my artwork. The Brushes app on the iPhone has been fun and powerful and has truly brought me into the digital world of creating my art. I look forward to sitting back with the iPad and after fingerpainting on it for awhile saying; “Wow! This is wonderful!” (just as I had after my 1st iPhone painting)

  • suzi54241 Says:

    Congrats on all opinions and thoughts here, I have enjoyed the read. All I know for sure is I want it. I would like it tomorrow. I will wait, as we all must. Those who don’t need it won’t buy it. I personally think there are 2 different camps, writers and fingerpainters. Netbooks and iPads. I don;t care what anyone says, long typing on an iPad without a keyboard would be torture.

    Personally, I still want to throw a party, Not because it’s going to save the world. It won’t, But because it will make a little group of fingerpainters very, very happy. Me included. Can’t wait.

  • Mia Robinson Says:

    I agree, Susan. I have great appreciation of all sides of this discussion and am happy we’re having it.

    Michael, like you, my first handson exposure to the digital art medium (and tablet art, really) was through my iPhone. I think that one of the things that makes this iPad revolutionary is what it is saying to the art world. Perhaps it will expose more people (from all artistic backgrounds) to the world of digital art. It also sort of validates this growing community of fingerpainters and has opened the conversation up to a broader community–will this technology change or enhance the way we do art? Even though many of us have stumbled upon Brushes, SKB and other art apps through our iphones/touch, there’s still a larger group of people who had no idea. This device seems to be reaching out to that larger group. I think the response will have some influence over how they continue to develop the iPad’s technology and the direction they take with it…we shall see when:

    1) we get to touch it ourselves; and
    2) a year from now when we are able to see how we (and other demographics) choose to incorporate this device into their lives…

    another question comes up for me too–how do you all feel this device fits in with all your iphone/touch…do you think it will be your primary tool for fingerpainting or will you still be using your iphone/touch?

  • suzi54241 Says:

    I assume I will use iPad more. Theoretically the screen is larger and I hope moving around pallets or tabs will be “in the flow”. But I will keep my Touch charged & handy.

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  • Benjamin Rabe Says:

    re: keeping/switching : I personally think I will switch to the iPad, because I don’t doodle that much on the road (anymore). Also, the iPad seem mobile enough to carry it with me. I will still do things on the small canvas though, and i’m sure the wow-factor for the iPhone is still bigger.

  • Pierre Says:

    As a whole, I found the iPad concept entirely underwhelming. I understand Apple’s desire to keep this product compatible with all the apps out there but I was really hoping for something more then I already have with my iPod Touch.

    The base model iPad is going to be $300 more than I paid for my 8 gig iPod Touch and what do I get for that money? A faster processor, a larger screen, and twice the storage space. I think I’ll keep the iPod because it’s an awful lot easier to carry with me and it’s plenty powerful for my purposes.

    I also have a suspicion that this device is going to be more difficult to hold and paint with then anyone anticipates. The device has a curved back so you really can’t put it on a flat surface because it’s going to wobble. I’m also willing to bet that if you use it on your lap, it’s going to slide around unless you are constantly holding it place with your free hand.

    I think Apple has already identified this as an issue if their first two accessories are any indication. The keyboard and dock make for a much easier typing experience then typing on the iPad alone, otherwise they wouldn’t have created the accessory in the first place.

    I’m trying to keep my mind open but I feel that this device in its current incarnation is not enough to warrant the cost.

  • Mia Robinson Says:

    Pierre all good points you make. it is a shame that we have to wait to test! and the way Sprang used it on the drafting table/podium (which held it in tge ideal position for him) gave us no real indication on how we might be realistically holding AND drawing on this…but I do know–we currently make many accommodations with this iPhone. I mean…we found our way with it…my one wish was for a large touch screen…and I think, tho difficult in the beginning, many will be able to adjust and adapt to the iPad just as we’ve done in the past with the smaller device.

    but you are right…it is ultimately one big iPod…and if the larger screen is not a real necessity fir you…I think you’re right in staying with your iPod…just as effective! (tho, there’s still the resolution issue…but maybe they’ll resolve that in the app.)

  • Farik Osman Says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I always thought that “Pressure Sensitivity” is only app/software emulated only am I wrong? Which means that it doesn’t need to be pressure sensitive as a hardware? Help me out here…

  • Farik Osman Says:

    Sorry, in addition to what I’d written on pressure sensitivity. I think EasternDrawing and even Pollock emulates this ‘pressure sensitive’ when you place your finger on an area. The blot gets bigger!

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  • Linda Vining Says:

    I truly can’t decide what I think. I have been a digital painter and devoted Painter/wacom user for 14 years. Hard to believe. In 2009, being able to whip my iTouch out of my pocket and sketch ANYWHERE was as freeing as going digital had first been for me in 1996

    I never have to plan ahead to take my iTouch with me – it runs my life, and it lives in my jeans pocket. Where will my iPad live? I’m a walking Recession – will I pay several hundred dollars for an art pad that I have to go home to use, when I already have great large screen equipment at home and great small scale equipment in my pocket? I don’t know for sure.

    I guess I’ll have to play with it when it comes out.

  • Michael Ives Says:

    Great question Linda, I think we’re all asking it. Here’s a link I just saw on
    the parade of cool stuff that is beginning to arrive for dealing with one of our future iPad needs….carrying it around.

    http://www.lacie.com/us/products/product.htm?pid=11417

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