Apple has released the latest version of iPadOS, and it includes some exciting updates for artists and creators. iPadOS 16.4 introduces new functionality to the Apple Pencil hover function, adding tilt and azimuth support. This updated hover feature is designed to make the iPad even more useful for drawing, allowing artists to view a mark at any angle before it is made.
Apple Director of Input Experience Leslie Ikemoto and Apple Director of Platform Product Marketing Stephen Tonna recently spoke with TechCrunch to explain the benefits of the hover update. Using Procreate as an example, Ikemoto explained that users can now see exactly where a mark will appear when the Apple Pencil is set on the display.
This is achieved through the addition of Tilt and Azimuth, which Procreate can use to render an exact outline of the mark that you’re going to make when you set down your pencil brush. This is a huge accelerator for artists who use the app, and it will undoubtedly make their workflow much smoother and more efficient.
Tonna emphasized that Apple is always listening to customer feedback and building things that customers didn’t even think of. The Apple Pencil team also uses what it builds, participating in “Inktober” every October. All of the team will draw and paint during the month, even those without notable artistic skills. This helps them to better understand the needs of artists and creators and to develop tools that meet those needs.
The new hover functionality works in native Apple features like Markup, as well as in third-party apps like Procreate. According to Ikemoto, the team wanted hover to be as easy to adapt as possible. To achieve this, hover was designed to use APIs that had already been used for the Magic Keyboard Trackpad. This allows hover to work automatically for any app that already supports UI pointer interaction, with further refinement possible through the UI hover gesture recognizer.
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For those unfamiliar with hover, it is an M2 iPad Pro exclusive feature that allows an Apple Pencil 2 to be held up to 12 millimeters above the M2 iPad Pro for a more seamless transition when stopping and starting on a digital canvas. This is a significant improvement for artists who require precision and control in their work, and it further solidifies the iPad’s position as a powerful tool for creative professionals.