Many artists and designers have said guiding the tip of an Apple Pencil along the surface of the iPad Pro is one of the best digital drawing experiences. Jan Sapper thinks he can eliminate the word digital from that last sentence.
Sapper says he has come up with a screen cover that makes the iPad Pro’s slick glass surface feel more like paper.
The biggest fans of the Apple Pencil and iPad Pro see these tools as a 1-2 punch to the Wacom Cintiq interactive pen tablet, the industry standard among creatives who generate work via computer.
Whether Sapper’s PaperLike product can add a defining jab remains to be seen, but more than 600 backers to a Kickstarter campaign to fund production are eager to try out the screen cover. Setting a goal of just over $1,500, PaperLike has raised more than $13,000 on Kickstarter with 33 days left in the campaign.
Sapper won’t divulge the material that gives PaperLike its name. But after creating a prototype, he finally felt like an Apple Pencil and iPad Pro was worth using.
“I came up with the idea the moment I tried the iPad Pro in the Apple Store for the first time in 2015,” Sapper told Cult of Mac. “I honestly expected to find a paper-feel screen protector but there was nothing out there. When the new 9.7-inch iPad came out, I considered buying it, but again got turned off by the slippery screen. My handwriting simply didn’t work on such a surface.
“If you think of it, the visceral feeling (from) writing on paper comes from the microscopic crevices and peaks on which the pencil travels. I can’t tell you the secret sauce of the material, but in principal, the PaperLike’s surface has the necessary characteristics to simulate the surface of paper when using the Apple Pencil.”
A single PaperLike screen for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro will cost about $18 if you pre-order on Kickstarter (shipping is expected to begin in June). The PaperLike for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro will run $2 more.
Other benefits of PaperLike, Sapper said, includes no fingerprints, protection from scratches and a significant reduction of glare.
Sapper is an engineer by trade who uses an Apple Pencil and iPad Pro for note-taking, annotating documents and sketching out ideas. He is not an artist, but he is a “paper guy,” as he puts it.
Having the Pencil feel like it’s moving across paper may not be necessary for everyone.
“I wouldn’t have thought this could be such a controversial subject, but in a French comment board about the PaperLike, there is a huge discussion about why this makes sense,” Sapper said. “There is the side that says it’s because we don’t like change and want the feeling of paper as before and the other side that says that the haptic feedback is necessary to feel the speed in which the pen is moving.
“I personally tend to relate more to the former camp.”