Astropad turns an iPad into a sketchbook for your Mac

Tablets have a lot of uses, but not all of them are killer features that make them worth owning. For artists, Astropad actually makes having an iPad incredibly worthwhile because it turns the Apple tablet into a sketchbook for your Mac.

But unlike the many artistic apps that are available for the iPad, Astropad isn’t just about having somewhere to draw. That’s because anything you draw on the tablet’s display will automatically appear on your Mac as well. Better still, it means you can still do all your work in a programme that you already like and understand, such as Photoshop.

That’s all incredible stuff, but couldn’t you just use a specialised graphics tablet? The thing is, graphics tablets actually take quite some time to learn how to use, whereas Astropad is more like a mirror of your Mac’s screen. That means that what you see on your iPad is what’s going to show up on the Mac’s monitor — in real time.

The downside is that, unlike graphics tablets, the iPad’s display is designed with fingers in mind. Obviously the best digital drawing is done with a precision stylus, so how well it will work all depends on how well your chosen stylus actually performs.

Astropad costs £34.08, or £13.63 for students. That’s a lot more expensive than most drawing apps, but if you have an iPad and a Mac already it’s an awful lot cheaper than buying a separate high-end graphics tablet.

Tom Pritchard