Lots of great things to say about yesterday's Apple Keynote, I'm here to talk about one specific point of contention I keep seeing pop up. Currently the Wacom Cintiq is regarded as the pinnacle of professional drawing stylus/surface design. A lot of hesitation (or dismissal) of the Apple Pencil seems to stem from people's belief that Cintiq is superior in performance and design at a similar price. 😩 *sigh*
Quite plainly, the Cintiq sucks in comparison. And I've been using them for years for industrial design sketching, UI, and art. Let's compare the experience:
The Apple Pencil has a much narrower body and tip, allowing the stylus to not obscure the drawing itself. I would also argue it provides more freedom of drawing motion. The Cintiq stylus is big, the pen tip is wobbly, your fingers randomly collide into the side buttons, and everything feels like cheap jiggly plastic.
Cintiqs are heavy, really heavy. The ones deemed "portable" are hardly at best. Most of them come with a giant set of cords because, obviously, they need to be plugged in to a computer. The screens aren't retina, the color is whack, the brightest it can display is not very bright and there's a lot of reflection. Most importantly the screen itself has a huge air gap between the pen and the digital screen, causing parallax. No amount calibration shakes the feeling that you're not actually drawing on this surface. All these things are a non-issue with the iPad Pro, also it runs its own OS and has multitouch build in, you'll be paying $2000+ for multitouch on a Cintiq.
Latency latency latency. As in all that latency I can visibly see as I wait for my stroke to catch up with my Cintiq pen. Oops! Dragged my pen too far because I couldn't see where the strike would end up? Guess that's why I mapped 10 of these buttons to Ctrl+Z. This is the game changer with the Apple Pencil, barely any latency so you actually feel like the pencil is leaving ink and can see the outcome of your drawing as its happening. Real-life pencils have gotten this figured out for years. It also seems like pressure and tilt are mapped more sensitively compared to the Cintiq.
Outcome: drawing more of what you intended on the first try.
The iPad Pro + Apple Pencil: $899 – $1,179
The cheapest, non-touch-enabled Cintiq: $799
All other Cintiq models: $1,000 - $2,800
So my advice to anyone trying to decide between buying Apple Setup vs. Cintiq is run far far away from the Cintiq. Especially if you're a student. Specialized professionals that have their cintiqs hooked up to PC's running Solidworks, C4D, CAD, yeahhhhh.....I guess cross your fingers they make iPad apps.