Inklet App for Mac Turns Apple's New Force Touch Trackpads Into Your Next Portable Pen Tablet

TenOneDesign, makers of the popular Pogo and Pogo Connect tablet pens (among other things), are the first to market with a Mac desktop application that takes advantage of the Force Touch trackpads in Apple's new MacBook and refreshed 13" Retina MacBook Pro. Rather sweetly named Inklet, the application runs in the background to allow users with any capacitative tablet pen to convert the capabilities of the new trackpad into a pressure-sensitive writing and drawing pad -- no Wacom needed (sort of).

Apple's new Force Touch trackpad provides something it calls haptic feedback -- a technology first introduced in the still-to-be-released Apple Watch. Using pressure sensors to record levels of pressure and magnets to supply feedback, the new trackapd allows for unprecedented expansion of the functionality of such a device on a mobile machine; and Inklet is the first app to take advantage of this technology.

Naturally, one might notice the trackpad built into your MacBook (which is roughly or exactly the same size of the new Force Touch trackpads) is quite a bit smaller than even the smallest Wacom tablets, which certainly brings real-world useability into question. While TenOneDesign has developed a unique and seemingly excellent solution to this problem with the implementation of "workspaces," which can really only best be described in the video above, the desire for the handiness Wacom Intuos tablet may not vanish, even if the need technically does.

Responsiveness and the detail of sensitivity (or number of levels of sensitivity) do seem to be leave plenty of room for improvement if these specifications were to be paired up against those of the Wacom Intuos tablets. But for a physically compact (a.k.a. infinitly small/virtual), 25-dollar, software-based application that you can download instantly compared to a tablet at least four times the cost, weight, and space, Inklet isn't a bad deal for someone who just needs the occasional added functionality of a pressure-sensitive trackpad or for even for the mobile pro in a bind to quickly edit a file and deliver it on the go.

Despite the fact that I don't draw at all, my Wacom Intuos tablet became an indispensable tool for making quick selections, brushing/dodging/burning/etc. more easily and accurately, and -- most importantly in terms of time-savings -- spotting my film scans to get every last speck of dust out of my images.

While I certainly think Inklet would make it onto a future MacBook of mine (once I upgrade to one with Force Touch sometime in the future), I honestly still don't see myself ever completely getting rid of my Wacom. Thankfully, TenOneDesign doesn't suggest that I should. So here's to Inklet: a life-saver for the photographer that has a capacitative pen, bought a newer MacBook with Force Touch, and happens to be traveling all at the same time.

Inklet is available from TenOneDesign for $24.95 or with a Pogo pen for $34.90.

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5 Comments

Sean Shimmel's picture

Hmmm... I think I'll pass. Maybe I'm missing something, but while technically workable, this offering seemed a bit clunky. I'll stick to Wacom and Cintiq.

Although I'm primarily a photographer and this article is aiming at such, here's a collection of some simple creative experiments using Wacoms... Intros Pro and Cintiq 13.

http://lifeascinema.blogspot.com/2015/03/heavy-metal.html

While it certainly won't replace a dedicated tablet for heavy users, something like this is good enough for light users (just quickly laying down dodge and burn adjustments) or as a stand in while you're on the go.

If I had a computer with a compatible trackpad, I'd buy it. At 25$, it doesn't need a whole lot of use to make it worth while.

Sean Shimmel's picture

I can agree to that. Summarized well.

(But for anyone even slightly itching for more... the true tablets and such are a far richer experience)

Raymond Craig's picture

For something in this same price range I highly recommend trying out the Astropad app if you have a newer ipad. I gave the trial version a shot on my air and was surprised how fast and responsive it was, especially with a pressure sensitive stylus. Of course it can't replace something like the Cintiq but for those on a budget it's pretty good

Réjean Brandt's picture

Neat, but seems a bit counterintuitive as it requires extra steps for something that should be making the workflow simpler.