The iPad has always been a great tablet, even if tablets are becoming less relevant. The one thing the iPad has always lacked has been a digital stylus. Thanks to the iPad Pro (both the 12.9-inch and new 9.7-inch one), that has changed. Apple might have taken a long time to create a stylus, but the Apple Pencil is the closest thing to a pen (even though it is an awfully big one) that a tech company has ever created.
The iPad Pro has many drawing and note-taking applications where writing with the Apple Pencil feels completely natural. The most popular note-taking app, Microsoft’s OneNote, is available on the iPad Pro and it works very well, but not fantastically so, with the Apple Pencil. In fact, using the Apple Pencil with OneNote is a better experience on the iPad than it is on the Surface Pro 4.
The original Surface Pro had a Wacom stylus, which produced smooth letters, but the accuracy of where the pen touched the screen was often off. Microsoft changed the stylus to an N-Trig one with the release of the Surface Pro 3. Although the new stylus offers better accuracy when touching the screen, the writing is less smooth. The N-Trig stylus offers a “squiggly” type of writing that feels more unnatural when you write slower. Drawing a slow straight line is almost impossible.
This isn’t to say that Microsoft’s N-Trig stylus is bad; it isn’t. However, when you use the Apple Pencil with the iPad Pro, you realize how much Microsoft’s stylus is lacking. Even the S-Pen of the Galaxy Note 5 and bigger Note tablets provides a better writing experience than the N-Trig Surface Pro 4 pen, although the S-Pen looks and feels really cheap.
Even using the Apple Pencil with photos produces better results than Microsoft’s N-Trig pen. It’s unfortunate, however, that the iPad Pro doesn’t offer a version of Photoshop that is even close to being as useful as the one on Windows 10 desktops and tablets, like the Surface Pro 4.
It is highly rumored that Microsoft will introduce a new Surface Pen for release with the Surface Pro 5. Since Apple has really changed the game with the Apple Pencil, you can bet Microsoft will probably invent its own stylus technology. Pretty soon, nobody will be writing with a regular pen and pad of paper anymore. They’ll all have tablets, which will be easier to carry around than a notebook pad or even a folder with a couple pieces of paper.