Let’s get physical: FiftyThree announces second foray into the hardware world with Pencil for iPad

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If there’s ever been a killer app for the Apple iPad, it’s debatably been a simple drawing app called Paper by FiftyThree. Offering simple, dynamic drawing tools, Paper has been key to Apple’s hopes for the iPad to become more than just a consumption device, but also a creation device.

But software and hardware are obviously very different, justifying the surprise of another hardware release from the startup. Following Book, which allowed you to print a custom Moleskine with your Paper creations, Pencil is a Bluetooth low energy stylus, shaped like a carpenters pencil, designed to work with the app. And despite a familiar design, FiftyThree has announced the device as a fresh take on the iPad-stylus market, with software optimisation giving better palm rejection and also giving new functionality to the user such as an eraser when the device is flipped. It also packs in a month of battery, charging in 90 minutes or less, and pair’s with a Trademarked ‘Kiss to Pair’, where you simply press it onto the screen to pair. But overall, Pencil remains a compromise, with Apple refusing to add any support for stylus devices to the iPad hardware.

Pencil is not yet available in Australia, and may not be for some time, but it’ll be interesting to see whether the device lives up to the promise. From US$49.95, that might be harder than expected, but FiftyThree’s pedigree helps in that regard.