Livescribe 3 Smartpen byLivescribe Category: Works With: Price: From $150
Spoiler: Writing with ink on paper is still way better than stabbing at a hard glass screen with a soft rubbery tip. Double spoiler: writing with a ballpoint pen which records your every stroke for searching and editing on your iPad is amazing, and way better than taking photos of every page you finish just to feed into Evernote. Third spoiler: No matter how good the hardware and the AI behind the scenes, a crappy app lets everything down.
Bill Karas (pictured above) has switched his business from making hot rod parts to iPhone cases, and it’s paying off
Bill Karas isn’t your typical biker. Yes, he’s got the type of facial hair that would make ZZ Top proud. He’s even got his own custom shop where he can build you anything your bike or hot rod needs.
But behind all the facial hair, metal music, and hot rod loving exterior, Bill Karas and his crew at Karas Kustoms have found something far more exciting and lucrative than building hotrods: making iPhone cases.
How does a group of bikers go from building custom steering columns to iPhone cases? It was pretty much a compete accident, but it starts with a pen and Kickstarter.
Calling the new Livescribe Sky a pen is like calling your iPhone 5 a phone. Technically the Sky is a writing instrument, but it has about as much in common with a pen as your iPhone has with an old rotary dial telephone.
The Sky lets you write and draw on paper, and it then uploads your notes wirelessly (no computer required) to your Evernote account. From there you can immediately access them from your iPad, iPhone, Mac or any device with a browser.
Wacom might be letting every other pen maker bring touch-sensitive styluses to the iPad first, but at least its regular dumb iPad styluses are amongst the best out there. And if you have ever hefted your Wacom Bamboo stylus and thought “This is almost perfect, but I wish it were a little stubbier,” then I have good news:
Wacom has made a stubby stylus. What’s more, it transforms into a long and slender stylus. It’s called the Bamboo Stylus Pocket.
Under pressure: The JaJa turns your iPad into a digital sketchbook.
If Crocodile Dundee had been a digital artist instead of a hardened Aussie hunter, and if you had pulled your iPad stylus out in the middle of a heated argument somewhere in NYC, then he would have said this:
“Call that a stylus? That’s not a stylus… This is a stylus.”
And then pulled out the JaJa, an iPad stylus that is not only pressure-sensitive (with 1024 levels), but manages to communicate its intent to your iPad without a cable, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or any other radio protocol. How the hell do it work?
If you carry a stylus for your iPad, it’s fair to say you like writing (or at least doodling). And – by extension – it’s likely that you also carry a pen. Now one of our favorite styluses – – the metal-mesh-tipped TruGlide from Linktec – has been turned into the Duo, a single stick with a different writing technology at each end.
You only need look at a child's drawing to know why you need a stylus.
“If you see a stylus they failed.” That might be everybody’s favorite Steve Jobs quote about touch screens, but the fact is the finger is terrible at both drawing and writing — just look at your kid’s scrawlings up on the refrigerator door if you don’t believe me.
If you want to make pictures and words that the rest of the world can recognize as such, you need a little help. Luckily, iPad accessory makers also ignored Jobs’ complaints and set out to fill the world with wonderful iPad pens. Here are the best you can buy.
The Hand Stylus might be the last stylus you ever need
You might like to think that Cult of Mac deputy editor John Brownlee is a beacon of intelligence in the world of Apple news, but sometimes he can be as dumb as the rest of us. Example: When staying with the Lady and I recently, John came to meet me in a local bar.
I pulled out my brand-new, just-bought Wacom Bamboo stylus to show him, and mentioned that it had a super clean, easy-glide tip. I handed it over and watched as John absent-mindedly stabbed the virgin rubber repeatedly onto the filthy, sticky bar table. Thanks a lot, John.
If I had had the Hand Stylus, though, I needn’t have suffered. The biggest feature of the Hand is its retractable tip, but there’s more to it than that.
I was a big fan of the Alupen when it launched — so much so that I went out and bought my own. It was chunky, looked like a metal pencil and felt pretty good in my big hands. Then came the Wacom Bamboo stylus and our love affair was over.
Now, though, the newer skinnier, cleverer Alupen Pro has got me two-timing the svelte Bamboo. Why? Because it has a biro built in.