For those who depend on a graphics tablet for design tasks ranging from ideation sketching to 3D modeling, Wacom is pretty much the gold standard when it comes to quality and price. Unlike the iPad Pro or Microsoft Surface, however, there’s little else the graphic tablets are capable of doing efficiently and comfortably when not in use – assuming you’re even using a model from the company’s screen-based Cintiq lineup.

Conversely, while the multipurpose iPad Pro has moved up the ranks as the ideal portable digital sketching tablet for many pros, it lacks the ability to operate professional software applications that Wacom tablets play very nicely with – particularly Adobe and robust 3D modeling apps.

Aiming to move into this grey area, Astropad, a company that has previously created wireless second-screen software for iPads to sync with a Mac, recently launched a new product aimed at pros for wirelessly syncing the functionalities of an iPad Pro (and Apple Pencil) with a traditional OS X operating system. The result is the much-desired ability to use the iPad Pro as a dedicated graphics tablet outside of the iOS environment.

Marketed as going “beyond a graphics tablet,” Astropad Studio was built from the ground up with the creative professional’s workflow in mind. Among other pro-friendly features, Studio includes the ability to sync with a separate keyboard for hotkey commands as well as an option to create custom screen gestures programmed to specific touch patterns.

From a performance perspective, Astropad introduced a new technology called Liquid Extreme to reproduced accurate image quality and reduce latency between the two screens.

Says Astropad:

“Liquid Extreme features color corrected output and retina resolution. What you see on your iPad is the same as on your Mac. And our built-in Velocity Control analyzes network conditions dozens of times per second to balance image quality and latency. So whether you’re plugged in or wireless, your iPad will stay highly responsive.”

While Wacom tablets have consistently been an indispensable tool for design professionals, tablets have slowly been creeping up behind as a viable option for basic design tasks. Now, with the ability to tap into the more robust OS X via the touch-sensitive iPad Pro, it’ll be interesting to see which way the wind blows.

But at $7.99 per month or $64.99 for an annual subscription, Astropad Studio might not be for everybody, but for design and engineering professionals who want the portability, power, and convenience of the iPad Pro, it’s safe to say Astropad Studio just might become one of the most useful tools in their toolkit.

Find out more over at Astropad.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.