Feature of the Week

Apple Pencil

| Feature of the Week

Many of our readers are just now getting their hands on an Apple Pencil, so today we wanted to do a recap of how this slick new device works with iPad Pro and forScore.

Unlike most of the other Bluetooth styluses (or styli, we don’t take sides) out there, Apple Pencil doesn’t feature any buttons or lights, so the experience of using it and setting it up can be a little opaque. Essentially, if its battery is charged then it’s ready to use—whether or not it’s connected is really more of a system-level detail than an explicit user action. You can charge it by removing the end where an eraser would be (we don’t know why there isn’t one either) and plugging the Lightning connector into the bottom of your iPad Pro. It’s a little precarious, but it works. You can also use the adapter that comes with it to connect it to any of the other Lightning cables you may have lying around.

To use Apple Pencil with forScore, just start drawing on the page. Annotation mode is activated automatically and kept on so you can switch tools, undo any accidental marks, and finalize your drawing before tapping the “Done” button. If you instead prefer to use the Pencil just like you use your finger, an option in the settings panel called “Automatically enter annotation mode” allows you to disable this functionality.

Behind the scenes, Apple Pencil adds a lot to the drawing experience. It works with iPad Pro to gather four times as many touch points as with older iPad models, so drawings are significantly more accurate (especially when drawing quickly). The Pencil also features a pressure sensitive tip, so your drawings will become more pronounced the harder you press.

One helpful tip regarding the Pencil’s tip: it will eventually wear out and need to be replaced, which you do by twisting it off counter-clockwise. If you’re using your Pencil vigorously or drawing lots of counter-clockwise spirals, the tip can start to unwind itself and you may start to experience sporadic drawing behavior. Just twist the tip back on tightly and you should be good to go.

The Apple Pencil is an incredible tool for anyone who uses forScore’s annotation capabilities, and we hope that iPad Pro is simply the first member of the iPad lineup to support it rather than the only. It’s a great experience, and there’s no reason we can see why it wouldn’t work just as well on smaller iPads once Apple builds in the necessary screen technologies.