When FiftyThree launched Paper, it quickly became one of the most popular apps for iPad, making it easier than ever before to draw, sketch and otherwise doodle on a tablet. Later, they launched their own stylus accessory, Pencil, which was adopted quickly. Now FiftyThree is looking to sweep in more users, and they’re going the SDK route to make it happen.
On July 23, FiftyThree officially released the “FiftyThree SDK,” which is a way that the developer hopes third-party apps can make use of their Pencil stylus. That means apps that focus on drawing, but don’t have a feature like palm rejection or simple pairing for accessories, can make use of those features with the implementation of the new SDK.
At launch, Pencil only worked with the iPad and the company’s application, Paper, but according to developer Ian MacDuff, the plan was always to open things up for everyone. In a phone conversation with publication TechCrunch, he said that the vision was always to make Pencil work with a lot of apps, and not just Paper:
“This was our vision from the beginning — to make Pencil work with many apps, not just Paper.“
The report states that Pencil has sold quite well, and continued to do quite well when FiftyThree opened up sales to international markets, but the company is still aiming to drive adoption from a wider audience. To do that, they’ve launched an SDK to allow third-party apps to make use of the Bluetooth-enabled stylus. It also means that third-party apps will gain support for surface pressure, when that particular update lands with iOS 8 later this year.
For the folks out there who already own Pencil, the news that some third-party applications out there will support it is good news, as it means more time to use the accessory. For those who are just looking for a better stylus than the one they’re using (based on personal preference), then Pencil’s future compatibility with potentially more apps is certainly good news.
What’s more, there are some application developers that have already jumped on board support for Pencil’s new SDK. The three launch partners include apps Noteshelf, an application that will let users take notes in their own handwriting; Procreate, which focuses on making realistic digital illustrations; and Squiggle, which is aiming to bring “a new dimension” to their music app.
There is a lot of room for growth, especially with a stylus like Pencil, and with future support still planned for the accessory, it will be interesting to see how third-party developers pick it up and use it.
Have you tried out FiftyThree’s Pencil or Paper? What do you think? Would you use the stylus with other apps if it were possible?