Astropad’s Slate App Can Turn Your iPad and Apple Pencil Into a Budget Wacom Tablet

Astropad’s Slate App Can Turn Your iPad and Apple Pencil Into a Budget Wacom Tablet

Astropad has recently released an app, Slate, that lets you use your iPad as a drawing tablet that you can connect to your Mac to see the results. Apple’s Sidecar has allowed you to do this for years now, but the new app leaves your iPad as a blank canvas rather than mirroring or extending your display.

Slate is specifically targeted at budget-minded digital artists and illustrators. It can use the Apple Pencil as well as your fingers for input and displays the results on your Mac. The app also accepts your handwriting as a valid form of input for when you need it to fill out forms and enter your signature. Additionally, it lets you use your Apple Pencil to control your Mac’s cursor, as well as allowing you to use your fingers for Mac gestures that would have normally required either your Mac’s trackpad or the Magic Mouse.

Another similarity that Slate shares with Sidecar is that it works wirelessly which usually makes the setup process pretty hassle-free. Also, Slate is compatible with the Apple Pencil’s hover feature. This feature is fairly new and was first seen in the recently released iPadOS 17. It lets a user perform actions on their iPad’s display by, as the name suggests, just hovering the Pencil over the surface of the screen without actually touching it.

Image: Astropad

While there were apps like Slate that have come out in the past, they don’t exactly offer the same functionality. Most apps we’ve seen turn your Mac into a secondary screen resulting in an expanded workspace that begins from your Mac and extends to your iPad. Slate does not facilitate a dual-screen setup. Instead of extending or mirroring whatever’s happening on your Mac, it works as an independent drawing tablet that’s sort of like a Wacom tablet without all the bells and whistles. It’s not a huge difference but some people might find this setup less distracting than Sidecar or its imitators.

The company hasn’t announced an official launch date or price of the app as of yet. At the moment, the app is available via a public beta version free of charge. This version exists as a trial mode of sorts, to gather public opinion on the app. According to Astropad, this version will be “open long enough to collect user feedback and work through the existing bugs.”

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