Jot Dash is the iPad stylus you never knew you needed

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The new Jot Dash stylus works anywhere your finger does.
The new Jot Dash stylus works anywhere your finger does.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

SAN FRANCISCO — You’d think stylus maker Adonit would be terrified by rumors that Apple is about to release a plus-size iPad Pro with its very own writing accessory, but nothing could be further from the truth.

According to Ian Shirey, Adonit’s chief strategy officer, facing competition from Apple would be the sweetest vindication of all for his company’s devices. “For Apple to tell the world a stylus is OK would be great,” Shirey said during a visit to the Cult of Mac offices to show off Adonit’s latest creation, the Jot Dash, an midrange stylus that works with iOS and Android devices.

Steve Jobs’ famous quote about the iPad, “If you see a stylus, they blew it,” haunts any conversation about using a stylus with Apple’s tablet. But maybe it’s time: Artists have flocked to the iPad as a creative device and now Cupertino is pushing its slender slate as a productivity enhancer with a suite of enterprise apps built with IBM.

Now tantalizing clues point to Apple doing an about-face and producing its own iPad stylus to work with the next-gen tablet, which could be unveiled as early as Wednesday.

For Adonit, that would be supreme validation.

“We saw that people wanted to do more with their iPads,” Shirey said, adding that people increasingly use Apple tablets to write, annotate, sketch and draw — functions made easier by Adonit’s growing line of styluses.

The Jot Dash is a midlevel entry in Adonit's growing line of styluses.
The Jot Dash is a midlevel entry in Adonit’s growing line of styluses.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Adonit Jot Dash is ready for action

The Jot Dash, available for $49.99 from Amazon.com, is the company’s midrange offering. The sleek stylus comes in charcoal and silver, and delivers precision with a fine, 1.9 mm tip.

It lacks some advanced features of pricier Bluetooth models like the Jot Touch and Jot Script but fires up with just a click.

“It just turns on and goes,” said Shirey.

Like the new 12-inch MacBook, the Dash is considerably thinner and lighter than its siblings — and it’s stripped of anything that might be considered extraneous. The Dash is simpler, without the pressure-sensitivity or palm-rejection functions of the pricier models.

In fact, Shirey said the goal was to make the Jot Dash look and feel like an ordinary pen.

As a result, it’s a more approachable device — you don’t have to be tech-savvy in the least to use it, said Adonit’s Rafael Gomez, a marketing manager who’s been with the stylus maker since its Kickstarter days. He said roughly 95 percent of the people using the company’s styluses are using iOS devices.

Jot Dash works with iOS and Android

Making the Jot Dash thin was hard enough, but tuning it to be cross-platform also proved challenging. If the new stylus had been designed exclusively for iOS or Android, it would have been “tuned” differently, according to Shirey.

“It was a big challenge to get that just right,” he said.

With a rechargeable battery that promises 14 hours of active use (and a clever magnetized USB charger to keep it topped off), the Dash truly is a pick-it-up-and-start-using-it piece of technology. Grab a couple of apps — the Adonit team mentioned standouts like Penultimate and Noteability for note-taking, and Procreate and Astropad for more artistic endeavors — and you can start exploring new frontiers immediately.

Just fire up the Dash and use it to sketch, annotate images or take notes with more precision than is possible with just your pointer finger. It’s probably the easiest way to dive into the growing number of iPad apps that benefit from such an input device.

“This will work anywhere your finger works,” Gomez said.

The convenience factor makes the Jot Dash a perfect companion for your iPad — at least until Apple comes out with its own stylus.