updated 01:00 am EDT, Thu March 29, 2012
Emulates different pens for finger or stylus
A new drawing app exclusively for the iPad debuted at midnight Thursday called Paper, intended for iPad owners who want to create and share sketches, hand-drawn diagrams, illustrations, notes or drawings. Thought not explicitly required, users of styluses will have more natural control, as the app enables the stylus to function as a pencil, pen, marker and coloring tool. The emulated tool's sensitivity works in conjunction with user movement to create different strokes without adjusting settings.
Indeed the app -- developed mainly by a team formerly associated with Microsoft's ambitious-but-ultimately-cancelled two-page tablet Courier -- lacks traditional menus or settings almost entirely. A small palette of pens is presented with a swipe up, and once chosen offers the tools options in visual form (and hidden with a swipe down). On opening, a collection of the user's notebooks appears in a Cover Flow-like array.
The idea, the designers say, is to get back to the most basic and natural working method -- picking up a pen (or in this case one's finger or stylus) and working on a blank piece of paper. The app is already configured to exploit the new iPad's Retina Display resolution, and utilizes tools from the thin line of a pencil to the broad strokes of a watercolor brush.
Creations can be sent to Tumblr, shared on social services Facebook and Twitter, and e-mailed. Errant strokes can be undone (up to 20 previous moves) through a two-finger counter-clockwise motion called "rewind." The app makes heavy use of OpenGL graphics to closely mimic the interaction of the pen to a piece of paper in a most realistic fashion.
The app itself is free and includes the pen tool. The additional four options are in-app purchases for $2 each, allowing room for future types of pens or brushes. Skeuomorphic Moleskin-style notebooks can be "pinched" to close or open. The app works with all iPads running iOS 4.3 or higher.