Astropad Slate is a new app that turns your iPad into a giant Mac trackpad

Posted:
in iPadOS edited February 15

Astropad has launched a new app called "Slate" that effectively lets you use your iPad as a giant trackpad for your Mac.

Now you can use your iPad like a graphics tablet for your Mac | Image Credit: Astropad
Now you can use your iPad like a graphics tablet for your Mac | Image Credit: Astropad



Astropad says the idea for Slate came when Apple announced the Apple Pencil Hover feature. The company decided to try to emulate traditional no-screen pen tablets, like Wacom's Intuos and One lines.

For those who want to use their iPad like a giant trackpad, Slate allows you to use relative positioning. This means that your cursor moves around freely on your Mac display. Gesture support also exists, allowing you to pinch, zoom, and scroll, just like a trackpad.

However, you can switch on absolute positioning if you want something that feels more akin to a graphics tablet. This means that your iPad scales to map your entire Mac display, so wherever you touch your iPad is where your cursor moves on the screen.

It also supports Apple's new Apple Pencil Hover feature, which allows users to move their Apple Pencil over the surface of the iPad and then tap to click. For iPads and Apple Pencils that don't support Hover, it can simulate it. Users can lightly drag the Apple Pencil over the iPad and then tap to click.

An included handwriting feature allows users to write in Slate's handwriting input box and have the text appear on their Mac.

The app costs $19.99 and requires an iPad running iPadOS 15.0 or later and a Mac running macOS 11.0 or later.

Currently, Slate is available for Mac only. To learn more, head to Astropad's Slate page.

For those who are interested in using Slate to function like a graphics tablet, we suggest checking out Astropad's Rock Paper Pencil. It brings a realistic pen-on-paper feel to the iPad by combining a magnetic screen protector with a custom Apple Pencil Tip.



Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    Better (and cheaper) buy proper wacom
  • Reply 2 of 11
    Better (and cheaper) buy proper wacom
    I bought one of the cheaper Intuos tablets for my Mac and was pretty disappointed. I'll be giving Slate a try. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 11
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,861administrator
    liilliil said:
    Better (and cheaper) buy proper wacom
    This is a bad take.
    Oferwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 11
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,211member
    liilliil said:
    Better (and cheaper) buy proper wacom
    If you already own an iPad, but not a pen tablet I'd highly recommend this over a Wacom or similar. $20 compared to $500+ for a decent one.

    There are a lot of curious artists or photo-processing folks wondering if they would do better editing with a pen on-a-screen. I've spent well over a grand figuring out it takes up too much space for me in a mobile setting. I still use it for specific tasks at the desk, but if I could figure that out for $20 I would have been ahead of the game. THEN if I loved it I could search for the pen tablet that meets my needs, and if not save a few hundred. 
    muthuk_vanalingamOfertimpetus
  • Reply 5 of 11
    Weird...the Mac app part of the equation keeps giving me a "this beta version has expired" message when it's launched. Clicking on the link to get the latest version sends me to a page with no download option. Where is the non-beta Mac version of the app supposed to be? Using astropad.com/get-slate for the download = beta version with error message. Didn't have any problems getting the iPad app to work. 
    edited February 15 watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 11
    Weird...the Mac app part of the equation keeps giving me a "this beta version has expired" message when it's launched. Clicking on the link to get the latest version sends me to a page with no download option. Where is the non-beta Mac version of the app supposed to be? Using astropad.com/get-slate for the download = beta version with error message. Didn't have any problems getting the iPad app to work. 
    Sorry about that, we had an issue on the Mac app we first uploaded. We've since corrected it. You can head here to redownload the Mac app: https://astropad.com/app-downloads/slate/

    Let us know what you think!
    Oferfastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 11
    mronge said:
    Weird...the Mac app part of the equation keeps giving me a "this beta version has expired" message when it's launched. Clicking on the link to get the latest version sends me to a page with no download option. Where is the non-beta Mac version of the app supposed to be? Using astropad.com/get-slate for the download = beta version with error message. Didn't have any problems getting the iPad app to work. 
    Sorry about that, we had an issue on the Mac app we first uploaded. We've since corrected it. You can head here to redownload the Mac app: https://astropad.com/app-downloads/slate/

    Let us know what you think!
    Thanks...Mac app is launching now. My quick take is that it works the way that I expected it to. Anyone who tries it for the first time should explore the settings right off the bat. I prefer a really fast cursor movement so switching to 'mouse-like' and experimenting with the speed level was a key. 
    edited February 15 Oferfastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 11
    liilliil said:
    Better (and cheaper) buy proper wacom
    Maybe, if that's *only* what you need, but this is aimed at people who already have an iPad/Pencil alongside their Mac. I have a Wacom Intuos and I've still  been wanting something like this since I first got my iPad Pro and Pencil 2 in 2018. 

    Also, for anyone wanting a Cintiq style experience, Astropad Studio is also available, and with the LunaDisplay dongle you can operate it as a separate display from your Mac (versus mirroring).

    I was a beta tester for Slate and happy to see this released. I didn't get around to testing the simulated hover in the later version, but testing it out now on the release version, I can definitely see adjusting to that. Real hover on the Apple Silicon iPads is going to be nicer, though (which I do not have).

    The only thing I'm going to request from them right off the bat is the ability to set the mouse-like mode tracking faster than the current limit. :)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 11
    rumblestriprumblestrip Posts: 5unconfirmed, member
    I've been using the beta, and it's not been great. I won't be spending $20 for the 1.0 version.
  • Reply 10 of 11
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 15,320moderator
    liilliil said:
    Better (and cheaper) buy proper wacom
    Maybe, if that's *only* what you need, but this is aimed at people who already have an iPad/Pencil alongside their Mac. I have a Wacom Intuos and I've still  been wanting something like this since I first got my iPad Pro and Pencil 2 in 2018. 

    Also, for anyone wanting a Cintiq style experience, Astropad Studio is also available, and with the LunaDisplay dongle you can operate it as a separate display from your Mac (versus mirroring).
    The built-in Mac Sidecar functionality is quite good (when it stays connected):



    It mirrors the Mac screen and you get pressure sensitivity directly in Photoshop. If the video freezes, the input still works for a while, then it has to be reconnected.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 11
    Marvin said:
    liilliil said:
    Better (and cheaper) buy proper wacom
    Maybe, if that's *only* what you need, but this is aimed at people who already have an iPad/Pencil alongside their Mac. I have a Wacom Intuos and I've still  been wanting something like this since I first got my iPad Pro and Pencil 2 in 2018. 

    Also, for anyone wanting a Cintiq style experience, Astropad Studio is also available, and with the LunaDisplay dongle you can operate it as a separate display from your Mac (versus mirroring).
    The built-in Mac Sidecar functionality is quite good (when it stays connected):



    It mirrors the Mac screen and you get pressure sensitivity directly in Photoshop. If the video freezes, the input still works for a while, then it has to be reconnected.
    Yeah, I know. I had the Luna Display dongle before Sidecar existed. But, Astropad Studio has far more customizability, pressure sensitivity curves, custom shortcuts for different apps, etc.  Sidecar works, too, but it isn't as good. Depends what you're doing.
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