.. at my screen for a bit with a Pogo Stylus.

Having eagerly awaited the new shiny rectangle from Apple I cannot deny I was among the throng hopping up and down ogling the live feed on Twit.tv .. well when I say hop, I really mean shuffle my rear end about in my chair waiting for them to hurry the hell up and tell us how much it costs. We were pretty surprised to find out that the 16GB Wi-Fi version was actually pretty reasonable* and both of us are extremely enthusiastic about it as an e-reader, and how it may just be the game changer that will enable comic books to burst onto a digital market in all their glory.

iPad

oooh… shiny

*When I say reasonable you just know that along with everything else that originates across the pond, it will be almost the same price in Sterling as it is in Dollars as we all get shafted once more. As I type the UK Apple store is actually showing the price in USD.

iBooks sounded wonderful, I could finally give my man the sexy e-reader he has always wanted. Well, he wanted a Kindle but I wouldn’t buy one as a) I deem it too expensive for what it is, and b) I dislike having a device that is so tied down to one provider. I even dared to dream that if I could find a good stylus, this may be the digital sketchbook I have been longing for. So, I ordered myself a Pogo Stylus (whose reviews seem largely favourable) and decided to test run the iPod Touch using the stylus and Sketchbook mobile. Below are the results in glorious (but strangely mute) YouTube video and more on my opinion after the cut:

So my first test was to sit down with the iPod Touch and the Autodesk Sketchbook Mobile app. The Pogo was certainly a revelation. It actually works. It doesn’t need to be pressed any harder than your finger, you only need to flick it gently to get a response from the screen – which was quite a surprise. But how did it perform when actually trying to sketch/paint? Well, not quite so well, but I will have to put some of this down to the fact that this was the first time I had tried to use it and the surface of the iPod is really, really small. The stylus is light and small enough to use without being uncomfortable, the foam on the end doesn’t look like it will fare too well under repeated use but I would imagine it’s not impossible to find some sort of substitute to use when it does finally hit the dirt.

Pogo Stylus

Pogo stylus. Foamtastic.

It still took me almost 30 minutes to come up with a fairly clunky ‘painting’ of a face and not much else.

The ability to send the file as a PSD to any email address is lovely, and I would not say a word against the Sketchbook app itself. It is, in both PC/MAC and iPod versions, a thing of beauty. So I gamely emailed it to myself, opened it up in Sketchbook Pro on my Wacom Cintiq and the results are as you can see above.

Here is the final result. As you can see the iPod version lacks the fluidity of the Wacom version. The hair is probably better on the iPod but that’s purely because I didn’t prepare a brush.

iPod to Wacom

Not my best work :/

I’ve been trying not to judge the iPad too harshly, and have no interest in barking out the feminine hygiene jokes that have gone beyond tiresome this last week. Seriously, if the only thing you can think of is a sanitary product when you hear the word “pad” that says a great deal more about you than it does about the device. However, the more thought I give to this thing.. the less convinced I become.

No Mass storage / USB connectivity

Tied to iTunes (AGAIN!)

Tied to iBooks

No background processing / no multi-tasking

So if you want to sketch and listen to music, or read and listen to music you better be at home near a stereo or be prepared to carry another device.

No Flash

I mean …really Apple? Please don’t insult me with your HTML 5 support bullshit. Yes HTML 5 is lovely but don’t pretend that the whole web is going to spontaneously burst into HTML 5 markup the minute this device hits the market. Future-proofing is one thing, burying your head in the sand is another. I absolutely adore the way Jobs can stand there pretending that the whole web is suddenly an open ibook to you, all that rich content up for grabs when the fact is that you will repeatedly come across stuff that you just can’t read.

Even the New York Times, showed so lovingly in the Keynote, uses Flash. So tell me please do, exactly how will you able to view that on the iPod? Oh yes, HTML 5 right? I loathe Safari. It’s almost as bloated and crappy as IE and Firefox is headed the same way. I am a Chrome fangirl, no doubt about it.

So do I want an iPad. At this point I’d have to say no, however I do still want to get one for the hubster, as I believe he will find it useful. Myself, I’m holding out for this:

 

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