Apple’s all new iPad Mini is the cutest, most versatile, most powerful mini-tablet ever

The smallest iPad just got its biggest upgrade. I’ll be honest, I didn’t think the iPad Mini was really that much of a big deal… that was until Tim Cook mentioned how its compact size made it perfect for doctors and scientists to carry around in their lab coats, for pilots to strap to their thighs while flying, and just for anyone who wanted an iPad experience in a more pocketable form factor. The new iPad Mini feels like a watershed moment for the mini-tablet market, as Apple literally pushed everything it had into it. It now comes with a modern flat-edge design, an ultrawide camera on the front, TouchID in the power button, support for Apple Pencil, USB-C, and 5G, making it an absolute behemoth even for its size.

With an 8.3-inch Liquid Retina screen, the iPad Mini is like a scaled-down version of the iPad Air. It’s just right for your palm, and will fit easily into generously designed pockets. And if you’ve got yourself the 2nd Gen Apple Pencil, you can easily snap it to the side of the iPad Mini the way you would on an iPad Pro. Although judging by the image below, the pencil and tablet are now almost the same height – I kinda like it.

The new iPad Mini sports the same uniform bezel design seen in this year’s iPad Air lineups, and just like in the iPad Air, the Mini comes with TouchID built right into the power button. That means being able to securely lock/unlock your iPad, as well as use your biometrics to approve app installs and pay for stuff online.

Perhaps the biggest upgrade to the iPad Mini (apart from its support for the Pencil) is the USB-C port on the bottom. Ditching the Lightning port from the previous version, the latest iPad Mini embraces the power and versatility of USB-C. Sure, that means faster charging, but when you stop to think about all the places an iPad Mini would be useful, a USB-C port just makes a lot more sense. You could potentially connect the iPad Mini to a host of devices, from a DSLR to an Ultrasound Camera… encapsulating perfectly how the iPad Mini can transition from a creative’s power tool to a doctor or specialist’s handheld computer.

The new iPad Mini also comes with 5G cellular, practically making it a perfect hybrid between the iPad and iPhone, and comes with WiFi 6 for even better wireless connectivity. It’s powered by the A15 Bionic chip, sports 12MP cameras on both the front and the back, comes in 4 colors, and starts at $499. Pretty impressive for a device that’s just 8.3-inches diagonally.

Designer: Apple

Apple just filed a patent for a new MacBook design with its own integrated Apple Pencil

Earlier this week, a patent filed by Apple at the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) was discovered that outlined a schematic for a MacBook with a new input device – the Apple Pencil. According to the patent images, the pencil would conveniently sit docked within the keyboard when not in use, and could be easily popped out and used as an input device, either on the screen or the trackpad. Apart from being a mouse-alternative, the patent even mentions that the pencil would provide extra features to the MacBook like F-key functionality.

Based on these patent drawings, I decided to put a 3D model together and take it for a spin. Conceptually, the presence of an Apple Pencil within a MacBook feels confusing but also potentially exciting. The minute you introduce a pencil to the MacBook, you’re singlehandedly killing the iPad Pro’s upper edge, but the more you think about it, the more it feels like it just might work. A Mac”Book” and a “Pencil” just instinctively go together, like a notebook and a pencil, right? Besides, it creates a synergy between the two products, and I can just imagine Craig Federighi dragging files from the iPad Pro with a Pencil onto the MacBook and having them carry over from one device to another, extending the user experience of Apple’s Universal Control feature!

Potentially (at least according to the schematics in the patent), the Pencil or ‘Pencil-like device’ would sit right above the keyboard, replacing the area originally reserved for the largely ignored Touch Bar. At least for the concept, I’ve shrunk down the Touch Bar instead of removing it entirely. For now, it sits in the top right corner, between the Pencil’s docking area and the Touch ID button.

The Pencil or ‘input tool’ would sit within the MacBook’s magnetic docking area, charging while not in use. Pop it out and I’d imagine you could use it on both the screen as well as the trackpad, although Patently Apple’s article doesn’t really highlight usage. It does, however, show that the Pencil is no ordinary stylus. This new input device would have multiple buttons or touch-zones on it, allowing it to double up as a row of Function keys when docked, and even letting you calibrate/control settings like your screen’s brightness, media volume, or more specifically brush sizes as you sketch on the MacBook screen.

However, like all patents, this one should be taken with a pinch of salt too. Most patents serve a singular purpose – of protecting intellectual property. They aren’t indicative of what Apple plans on rolling out to the public, although my gut tells me the Pencil is due for a redesign too, so maybe it isn’t too farfetched to assume that new touch-features could be coming to the Apple Pencil. As for being able to dock a stylus inside your MacBook, the patent document (which can be found below) and these images are all I have to offer!

Visualizer: Sarang Sheth

Patent discovered by Patently Apple

This handcrafted iPad Pro Stand carved from a single piece of wood comes with a magnetic Apple Pencil holder!

Sculpted into a shape that permits ergonomic usability and comfort, the iPad Pro Stand from Yohann boasts a final form that allows for multi-angled usage, achieved by reducing the light, thin profile to its bare necessities.

Keeping track of all of our smart electronics and their accessories can get messy. Depending on what you use them for, smart appliances guide us through the week and keep us on top of our personal and work-related agendas. 2016’s Apple Pencil, for one, was designed for iPad Pro but has a tendency of getting lost. Yohann, a sustainable brand passionate about crafting wooden Apple accessories, created a wooden iPad Pro Stand with a built-in Apple Pencil holder so there will always be a place to store it.

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Stationery in general gets lost all the time. Our favorite pens fall into hard-to-reach cracks and our pencils roll under our beds, never to be seen again. The iPad Pro Stand from Yohann features an exact slot for your Apple Pencil to slink into when not in use.

The secure lip allows the iPad Pro to remain stationary on the stand. The Apple Pencil holder features magnetic ends to ensure secure storage and that you’ll never lose your Apple Pencil again. The stand itself is handcrafted from a single piece of wood for a solid and durable structure that ages well and stands the test of time. The iPad Pro stand features a winged back for multi-angled use.

Navigating our library of smart electronics and accessories can become as overwhelming as managing our photo library. To help declutter our desks of wires and gadgets, Yohann crafted the iPad Pro Stand with a built-in Apple Pencil holder.

Following their handcrafted and high-quality design process, Yohann built the stand to be ergonomic, intuitive, and long-lasting. Illustrators and graphic designers can draw on their iPad Pros using the stand as a bolstered. Best of all, we love how the magnetic Apple Pencil holder snaps onto place and that’s a feature we’ll be toying with it for a while!

Designer: Yohann

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The iPad Pro stand can even remain upright on soft surfaces, perfect for nighttime Netflix-binge sessions.

The precise slot for your Apple Pencil ensures that it won’t go missing.

elago’s Apple Pencil protective case turns your stylus into a nostalgic rubber-tip graphite pencil

I don’t know about you, but those generic yellow pencils with pink erasers were a very strong part of my childhood. I practically grew up on them, developed a love for sketching, took on a career in Industrial Design, and I’m finally here, reliving those fond memories through elago’s Apple Pencil cover cases.

Designed to evoke a sense of nostalgia, elago’s Apple Pencil (2nd Gen) covers come with that familiar hexagonal pencil aesthetic, complete with the rubber-tip at the back. Slip them onto your Pencil and apart from giving you a blast from the past, the covers enhance your grip, thanks to the silicone construction, and protect your hardware from accidental drops and scratches. Moreover, the cover is compatible with the iPad Pro and even supports charging the Pencil by magnetically attaching it to the side of your tablet!

Designer: elago

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Click Here to Buy Now

Apple patent reveals a new type of Pencil with replaceable nibs for different creative applications

Watch out, Wacom and Adobe! In a new patent granted to Apple by the US Patent and Trademark Office, the company is reportedly looking at a next-generation Apple Pencil with swappable nib modules. While the patent doesn’t exclusively outline what these nibs would look like or be used for, it focuses more on the underlying technology, which would allow nibs to connect to the pencil handle via a special lightning-style connector.

The Apple Pencil is arguably the iPad Pro‘s secret sauce. Along with the Pencil, the iPad Pro becomes the ultimate creator’s setup (for both 2D as well as 3D creation). It would therefore make sense to explore how the Pencil could further become a ‘power-user’ tool, allowing creators to unlock new potentials. Yanko Design has imagined what these new nibs could look like, with explorations for more niche 2D uses. The interchangeable nibs include a fine-tip nib, a chisel nib, and a flexible brush-pen nib. Other nib styles could unlock 3D modeling features like being able to sculpt on the iPad.

While the current Apple Pencil has features like tilt recognition and pressure sensitivity, allowing it to function as any sort of drawing tool, the presence of a specialized nib helps seamlessly replicate the tactile experience of, say, drawing with a brush pen or a chisel marker. Moreover, the ability to replace nibs essentially increases the lifespan of the Pencil by allowing you to replace nibs when they wear down after constant use. “The filing suggests the nib could contain several different sensors for varying purposes. The component list includes tactile sensors, contact sensors, capacitive and touch sensors, a camera, a piezoelectric sensor, a pressure sensor, or a photodiode”, reports Apple Insider.

Designer/Visualizer: Sarang Sheth

Patent via: USPTO

This Apple x Procreate controller knob for the iPad Pro upgrades your artistic workflow!

Simon Pavy’s Apple x Procreate controller concept falls perfectly in line with a few hardware-controllers we’ve seen in the past from Adobe and Wacom, and even from Microsoft for its Surface line. Designed to speed up an artist’s workflow, the knob works in tandem with the iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil, providing a precision-rotating controller along with a touchscreen interface for pro-users.

The Apple x Procreate controller measures around 2-inches in diameter. With a rotating body, and a liquid retina touchscreen surface on the top, the controller really lets you precisely control aspects of your workflow. The rotating knob lets you very intuitively increase or decrease brush sizes, cycle through layers, adjust colors, or even play around with other settings, while the touch surface on the top works as a brilliant dedicated color palette, and an interface for cycling through layers, experimenting with brushes, or quickly going through your list of brushes while you work on your art piece. The puck-shaped controller comes with its own battery, and a USB-C port to charge it (you could just hook it to the iPad Pro). It even boasts of a non-slip surface on the base, allowing you to place it on even slanted tables for extra comfort. Sadly though, the Apple x Procreate controller is a fan-made conceptual product, although I don’t see why the designer couldn’t build a prototype and crowdfund it… I know I’d definitely buy one!

Designer: Simon Pavy

Apple Pencil Patent Hints at Real World Color Sampling

Since it first landed on the scene back in 2014, the Apple Pencil and its successor Apple Pencil 2 have brought a tremendous amount of creative freedom and expression to the iPad. Now, it appears that a future Apple Pencil might add a great new feature, the ability to sample colors from the real world.

According to a recently revealed U.S. patent application, Apple is working on a technology which could add a color sensor to the popular iPad stylus. The patent was written to cover a variety of different configurations, including placing sensors in the Apple Pencil’s tip, rear, or connected to the tip using a light guide. The device would use LEDs or OLEDs to illuminate and reflect colors off of surfaces back into a collection of photosensors. A single white light source or separate red, green, blue, and infrared light sources are mentioned as possibilities, along with whatever number of photodetectors are needed to ensure accuracy.

The data gathered by the color sensors could then be used to create a color palette or immediately set the paint color within iPad art applications. While this wouldn’t the first color sensing device on the market – take the Nix Pro and Color Muse for example- the idea of integrating one into the Apple Pencil could definitely add a whole new dimension to drawing and painting on the iPad.

There’s no indication that the color sampling feature is headed to the Apple Pencil anytime soon, but the patent application is a good start towards Apple eventually including the feature in a production version.

[via MacRumors]

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