A third-party iPad accessory called the iPen is set to be launched in early 2012. The iPen is considered as an "active stylus" that allows for precise handwriting and drawing, along with the proximity sensitivity of the tip as a tablet cursor.
The iPad detects the stylus when it hovers above the display and allows the user to perform accurate and detailed pen strokes. The peripheral was started by Cregle as a project to support the need by individuals and artists who desires the capability of handwritten notes and pen stroke recognition software. The pen attaches to the dock port of the iPad, which then uses ultrasonic technology to grab the user's hand stroke.
The iPen features a dongle, which provides palm input injection, accurate handwriting and tip proximity sensitivity. The tablet can recognize the iPen even if it only hovers above the screen. It comes with an external receiver attached to the UART port, where it captures the infrared signal identifying the iPen's location on the display.
Cregle's iPen works on iPad and iPad2, but does not support Android and other devices. It requires two V392 batteries (used for watches) and can last up to 100 hours of writing.
The stylus does not support all iPad apps, but will be integrated with popular drawing and writing apps like artrage, forscore, notesplus, pdfnotes, speed text and writing kana in its launch. Cregle promises to update the apps portfolio regularly as they work with other app developers. The accessory will be under Apple's MFI licensing program and will have the "Made for iPad" logo for Apple.
The iPen has considerable support from App developers and early customers, already achieving its funding goal of $35,000 through Kickstarter. The fund goal was achieved through pre-orders and early backers in Kickstarter, where customers pledged amounts of $1, $50 (1 pen kit for first 250 customers), $79 (1 pen kit discounted by $10), $149 (2 pen kits) or $207 (for 3 iPen kits). The regular retail price is $89 and will be available by January 2012.