iPad Pro 9.7" :: Apple Pencil

by Volker Weber


FiftyThree Paper is my killer app on the small iPad Pro. The other day I was asked whether I would recommend the Pencil made by FiftyThree or the Apple Pencil. I was baffled. The difference between those two pens could not be bigger.

The FiftyThree Pencil has a big squishy tip. It's very difficult to draw anything delicate and almost impossible to write with. It's not without merit. You connect it to the app by pointing it to a designated area until it connects. After that, you can draw on the iPad without worrying about touching the display with the back of your hand. Just rest your hand on the screen and draw. This works with all iPads and iPhones. When you want to recharge this stylus, you just pull on the squishy tip to drag the electronics board out of the Pencil. There is a USB plug on the other end that goes into the iPad charger. No parts to lose.

Apple Pencil is a completely different beast. Way more sophisticated. It has a pointy tip that is pressure sensitive. You pair it with your iPad by charging it. When you remove the cap at the other end, it reveals a connector that plugs right into your iPad. If it ever goes out you don't have to find a charger or a wall outlet. Just quickly insert it into your iPad and in no time you can continue to work. Don't lose the cap. Using this Pencil feels like a real pencil. Or a ballpoint. Or a fountain pen. It can be all of these things. And depending on how you hold it, you can shade with it like with a real pencil. Apple Pencil only works with the iPad Pro.


Which one would I recommend? For the iPad Pro always get the Apple Pencil.


While waiting for my genius bar appointment yesterday, I took a look at the ipad pro and the pencil. Wasn't too excited afterwards.

I work a lot with smart boards at work and there I can transfer my handwriting in text. I couldn't accomplish this on the Ipad, do you know if there is an app for that?

If not, I think I could do with an Ipad Air 2 as well and then I'm not sure if I need a new tablet. My Ipad 2 was my travel companion on business trips but luckily I don't live in hotels that much anymore.

Patrick Bohr, 2016-04-22

No, Apple isn't ready to repeat the Newton experience. I have tried text recognition on the ThinkPad X Tablet and it has been rather comic. Took way longer than a virtual keyboard.

However, if you write in OneNote, your text will be indexed and you can search for it. You will still see your original handwriting.

Having said that, my handwriting is very strong encryption. Only I can read it, and sometimes even I can't.

Volker Weber, 2016-04-22

This made my day: "my handwriting is very strong encryption. Only I can read it, and sometimes even I can't.". Thanks Volker!

Armin Auth, 2016-04-22

Thanks for the hint with the indexing and search function.
I'll try that at next chance. For now, I bought a new A5 notebook for work meetings.

Patrick Bohr, 2016-04-22

Not having the iPad Pro (yet) I am just waiting the arrival of the Adonit Jot Dash Fine Point cos I liked the look of 53 Paper as well. I have one of those old rubber tip styli but it is starting to deteriorate so I thought I'd try something new.

John Lindsay, 2016-04-22

Have you compared (wait, silly question, let me rephrase) - Can you restate your comparison between the Apple Pencil and the MS Surface Pen? My daughter loves the SP4 Pro with the Pen for school. In OneNote, she uses it to create amazing graphs for math and science projects. It sounds like the Pencil would be equally effective within OneNote?

Rob McDonagh, 2016-04-22

Rob, so far MS Surface and Pen seem to work better with OneNote than on iPad Pro with Pencil. But that is software. Both Pencil and iPad Pro are at least as good, if not better. Surface Pen benefits from three buttons. Which I find difficult to operate.

Volker Weber, 2016-04-22

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