iOS 8 will let you paint different stroke sizes using a simple stylus | 18 June 14

It's been a while since the iOS stylus beat has had anything truly revolutionary come down the pipeline – Apple only offers so many tools for stylus manufacturers and app-makers to use, and often at a compromise. But iOS 8 looks to shake up this status quo somewhat with a new tool for developers: touch sizes.

According to a blog post from FiftyThree, makers of the Paper drawing app and accompanying Bluetooth stylus Pencil, iOS 8 will bring a new update to their app: 'Surface Pressure". No, this doesn't mean actual pressure sensitivity à la Wacom; instead, Paper works together with Pencil to note how much of the Pencil nib you're pressing to the screen. Depending on the tool you're using, applying more of the nib to the screen gets you pencil shading, a larger ink brush, or dynamic eraser sizing.

Other apps and stylus-makers have attempted to provide line variance before, but the controls were primarily speed-based – draw fast for small lines and slowly for big lines – or by figuring out pressure entirely on the pen side, with no input from the iOS screen. If iOS 8 does in fact bring these kinds of tools, this is potentially a huge accuracy improvement for drawing programs.

Still, it won't be a true replacement for a pressure-sensitive brush, but it's a nice step in the right direction and allows FiftyThree to expand the Pencil stylus's functionality. I really liked Pencil when I reviewed it last December, but one of my major critiques was lack of variable line widths; it'll be exciting to test this feature when iOS 8 rolls out in the fall.


xcalibrate said: The iPad is nothing but a consumption device. It's a great consumption device but that's all it is and probably ever will be. Apple recognise this too. As a device it's fine to throw in your bag for a quick sketch but for anything other than a doodle it's not up to it.I used to carry one, often along with my Cintiq Companion but I stopped, mostly due to frustration with the device and with Apps. Since the release of the Surface Pro 2, not the 3 which uses nTrig and I've yet to be a convert, I've kept the Pro 2 with me and ditched the iPad and the Cintiq remains at home and is used there. The Pro furnishes me with a device that can easily run all my legacy software and allows for a much simpler and consistent workflow.I've seen some great work done on the iPad but that doesn't detract from the fact that the iPad is held back by its ultimate mission to be a consumption device. It achieves that mission statement well but as a serious tool for an artist? Well it's held back by all those wonderful Apps and iOS. No stylus will improve that, especially Bluetooth which introduces significant lag too.Please, Apple fan boys, before the childish flaming begins, my judgement is purely based on getting a job done quickly and professionally. I've no interest in Apple vs MS, mines better than yours wars.

charliesheenhardcore said: The Intuous Creative Stylus made by Wacom already gives full pen pressure on IOS devices. The pressure is not the issue, and the Intuous creative stylus also does not work by speed. It's bluetooth connected. The issue is the pen tip. Wonky styli is the problem, and 53's pencil is one of those wonky ones. We just want Apple to do something for artists again, but even at WWDC this year, they had a guy on stage working with his fingers in the paper app. Apple won't even acknowledge the fact that people don't want to work with their fingers. There's so many better options out there. It's a shame Apple doesn't get it.