June 09, 2013

New Adobe drawing hardware (yes, hardware)

Did you know that Adobe started out as a hardware company? As founders John Warnock & Chuck Geschke tell it, their whole plan was to sell printers, workstations—the whole enchilada. It was only after getting hit over the head repeatedly by customers saying, “Hmm, I really just want this PostScript thing…” that they switched gears and focused entirely on software.

30-odd years later, here’s VP Michael Gough showing off “Mighty” (a pen) and “Napoleon” (a short ruler; BYO rimshot).

Of course, being incredibly juvenile, I can’t hear about this project without thinking of the SNL version of Sean Connery talking about “The Pen Is Mightier…”


Engadget has a hands-on review with the product team.

Posted by John Nack at 8:03 AM on June 09, 2013


  • Nikonguy — 11:07 AM on June 09, 2013

    Given the CC mess, Adobe should consider all the new streams of revenue that they can find!!

  • Steffi Volken — 11:25 AM on June 09, 2013

    Can these also only be rented and will stop working when there is no payment?

  • Andrew Meit — 11:32 AM on June 09, 2013

    Great tech!! Been waiting for this to happen since I helped develop the calligraphy pen in Fontographer, using Wacom some 25 years ago.
    Adobe will likely price this as a premium tool (appx. 200.00) and lock in the creative Cloud apps; thereby locking out other apps. I suspect it will work only with a select few tablets. Perhaps only the latest and upcoming iPads?
    Bravo on the return to art’s creative roots, but lets make this cool tool be accessible to all.
    I now wonder if Apple could finally be ready to show their stylus to compete with Adobe. ;-)

  • Joyce Deckler — 12:03 PM on June 09, 2013

    I don’t care what it is as long as it isn’t the finger.

  • Gavin M — 12:24 PM on June 09, 2013

    When, where and how much. Love it.

  • olivier — 1:24 PM on June 09, 2013

    LAG is obvious and it kills the experience … same thing with other pens

  • Stephen Johnson — 1:33 PM on June 09, 2013

    Nice, good to see some new developments.

  • William Chinn — 3:20 PM on June 09, 2013

    1st sentence: Cloud connected pen. Just another designer / illustrator tool not meant for the photographer. Do you get them by subscribing to the CC? Or are they available as a separate rental? As a photographer I’ll stay with the Wacom(s) I own.

  • Mel Brown — 8:08 PM on June 09, 2013

    See, Adobe, how hard it becomes to get a kind comment once you try a massively stupid stunt like trying to cram Chicken Cloud down users’ throats?

    Go ahead, rent it; that’ll show us!

    What goes around, comes around.

  • Rob — 9:58 PM on June 09, 2013

    Love that the short ruler is named Napoleon. Whoever ideated that deserves a bonus.

    • Robnonstop — 6:09 AM on June 10, 2013

      Napoleon wasn’t smaller than the average man of his time. They could have named it Adolf but Napoleon and Cesar have a better rep when it comes to megalomaniac mass murderers.

      Fat nib and the lag break the deal. The Wacom technology Stylus for Tablet PCs is perfect for drawing but only for drawing. So Steve Jobs banned it from the iPad to keep developers from making bad UI that requires pen input and now we have countless fat nib compromises even though the perfectly functional Stylus was available before the first decent tablet. And the Modbook is still too heavy.

      The amount of stylus Kickstarter projects shows how desperately illustrators still look for the first functional Tablet + Stylus combination. And unfortunately this isn’t it.

  • Alan Ralph — 1:52 AM on June 10, 2013

    A couple of points.

    1) I’m guessing that this is an all-in-one package using a dedicated tablet – the giveaway is the fact that the tablet can tell the difference between the pen and a finger.
    2) You can sign up for a Creative Cloud account for free, and get 2GB of online storage plus the ability to use it with all of Adobe’s Cloud-enabled mobile apps. A paid subscription bumps the storage up to 20GB and gives you one or all of the desktop apps plus other goodies.
    3) Judging from the last paragraph of the Engadget article, this is very much a proof-of-concept at the moment, not something that any of us will be getting our hands on soon.
    4) Guys, I think you’d be better served directing your anger at Adobe’s management, rather than taking it out on John.

    • cosmo — 2:44 AM on June 10, 2013

      Alan, regarding point #4, Mr. Narayen does have a blog but it hasn’t been updated in months and comments on it are closed. Draw your own conclusions.

      ps: Mr Nack seems to a be good egg and is very generous with his time, by spending it here with us. For that we thank him. I don’t see comments here that are angry with Adobe policy as “taking it out on John.”

  • Mel Brown — 6:25 AM on June 10, 2013

    @Alan: Your perspective is askew; where in this thread do you see anyone “taking it out on John”?

    @cosmo: Thanks for the link. On that page, I was amused by this comment:

    “We value your perspective and encourage comments that are on-topic and add value but that do not spam, denigrate or offend.”

    That clearly sets the tone of “Come to our church, children. Stand and sing ‘How Great Thou Art’ to Shantanu and his warped puppets, file out quietly, go home, and don’t think–we will do that for you.”


  • Stewart Scott — 11:04 PM on June 10, 2013

    Would those that can actually draw and draw very well prefer to do it using a device than doing it for real? I can understand larger formats such as photoshop on large wacom cintirq touch screens but all this effort for dinky screens such as the ipad and iphone is it really worth it? Is the market really crying out for this type of tech, I dont know?

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