Pencil Kit 2020

With a few days to digest WWDC, I’m excited about the upcoming iPad changes even if they didn’t complete blow me away. Apple announced a handful of quality life changes (enhanced apps, sidebars, translations, safari, search, siri, shotcuts) that won’t necessarily change the way I use my iPad but will make it more pleasant and intuitvie to use. It’s clear to me the iPad’s big 2020 moment was the iPad Smart Keyboard (which I continue to love).

They did sneak in some new things to PencilKit that excite me; both the new features and the greater idea that they are still pushing it forward. The two big PencilKit changes are around handwriting and shapes.

When I use my iPad in Tablet mode, I could also call it Creative Mode. Even if I’m in a lean back reading mode, I have a pencil in hand, I’m taking screenshots, cropping, excerpting and taking notes. In that mode if all of a sudden a message comes in I need to respond to, I am presented with a huge iPad Keyboard. I tried the floating keyboard but found it just as awkward to type with one hand. My solution was to install SwiftKey (remember that) so I can at least drag my fingers over the huge keyboard to spell out words. If I have to write something long I attach the keyboard or grab my phone but I can easily imagine using handwriting for short 1-3 word responses that are likley my primary use case. To have universal handwriting input just makes creative mode that much more smooth. The other features for handwriting, including cut, paste, move and changing colors are the icing on the cake that makes my notes+pencil apps much more useful.

Finally, I’m excited to try the way shapes snap into place if you draw and hold on them. A number of other apps have embraced this already (I first saw it with Adobe Comp) and it can be very powerful when I remember it exists. Having it as a system default should help with my memory. I plan to use this to do more hand-sketch wireframing, which I do now for ideating but typically have to move over to another app for clarity when I share it with people.

On that note... why is their still not a Pro wireframing app for iPad?