MacRumors Giveaway: Win a Canvas Smart Desk for iPad Pro From iSkelter

For this week’s giveaway, we’ve teamed up with iSkelter to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win one of four Canvas Smart Desks we’re giving away for Apple’s newest tablet, the iPad Pro. For those of you unfamiliar with iSkelter, it’s a company that hand makes wood desks, lap desks, stands, and other accessories for Apple products.

We’ve featured their products in the past, including the SlatePro Tech Desk, which is custom designed with built-in docks and cutouts to accommodate Apple devices. iSkelter’s newest product is a set of lap desks for the iPad Pro, the Canvas Creator and the Canvas Pro.

Both the Canvas Creator and the Canvas Pro have a felt-lined cutout that’s sized to the iPad Pro, but it will accommodate smaller devices. I have one of these on-hand and it’s usable with the iPad Pro and earlier iPads, but not the Retina MacBook Pro. Placed flat, the iPad Pro fits neatly into the Canvas Smart Desks, laying flat for sketching with the Apple Pencil, reading, or playing games.

Its sizing also accommodates the Apple Smart Keyboard, providing a stable, comfortable surface for typing when sitting on the couch or for watching videos with the iPad Pro propped up using the keyboard’s cover. For video watching, there’s also a cutout at the back of the Canvas where the iPad Pro can be positioned upright.

This cutout also accommodates other devices like an iPhone 6s or an iPad Air 2, so it’s a handy way to be able to do work on the iPad Pro while watching videos or browsing the web on a secondary iPad or iPhone, which is my preferred use case. I’ve been using it on the couch while watching television – I can draw or browse the web while still keeping an eye on Twitter and Slack on my iPhone.

Though made of wood, the Canvas is light weight, but given its large size, it’s not compact or particularly portable. It’s best for home use rather than travel. Along with the cutout for an additional device, there’s a slot specifically for the Apple Pencil on the Canvas Creator. On the Canvas Pro, there’s a cutout for an additional iPad, another cutout for an iPhone, and a space that can hold a cup or other accessory.

The extra space on the Canvas Pro is the main difference between the two lap desks – it’s a good bit larger than the Canvas Creator. iSkelter is selling its Canvas Smart Desks for $68 on its website, but four MacRumors readers can win one through our giveaway, with the option to choose either the smaller Canvas Creator with Apple Pencil cutout or the larger Canvas Pro with extra flat space.

To enter to win, use the Rafflecopter widget below and enter an email address. Email addresses will be used solely for contact purposes to reach the winner and send the prize.

You can earn additional entries by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, or visiting the MacRumors Facebook page. Due to the complexities of international laws regarding giveaways, only U.S. residents who are 18 years of age or older are eligible to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveawayThe contest will run from today (December 18) at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time through 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time on December 25. The winners will be chosen randomly on December 25 and will be contacted by email. The winners have 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address before new winners are chosen. The prizes will be shipped to the winners for free.

Tags: iSkelter, giveaway
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Review: SwitchEasy’s CoverBuddy Protects Your iPad Pro and Holds an Apple Pencil (Plus Giveaway)

Apple offers protection for the iPad Pro in the form of a Smart Cover and a Silicone Case for the back of the device, but Apple’s products are priced rather high at $59 and $79 respectively, for a total price of $138 for complete iPad Pro coverage.

Luckily, third-party manufacturers have already started coming out with some clever cases and covers for the iPad Pro, and one of the first available rear shells comes from popular accessory maker SwitchEasy. The iPad Pro CoverBuddy is SwitchEasy’s first product for Apple’s tablet, and it’s designed to work alongside Apple’s own Smart Cover and Smart Keyboard.

SwitchEasy funded the iPad Pro CoverBuddy through Indiegogo, but now it’s ready to ship out to customers. While the Indiegogo campaign was still ongoing, SwitchEasy sent me a prototype CoverBuddy to check out, which I’ve been using for the last week.

Made of a thin but rigid polycarbonate, the CoverBuddy snaps onto the back of the iPad Pro. Since it’s only 1.5mm thick, it adds very little additional weight and bulk. The polycarbonate of the CoverBuddy is textured and it’s super grippy. The grip on the CoverBuddy is probably my favorite aspect of the case because it makes the unwieldy iPad Pro a lot easier to hold on to.

CoverBuddy’s polycarbonate material isn’t going to protect the iPad Pro from serious damage, but it feels sturdy enough to protect it from the scratches, dings, and minor drops that occur from day-to-day use and travel.

The CoverBuddy leaves all of the ports and the rear camera accessible with precise cutouts, and it has a Lightning port cutout that’s able to accommodate the Apple Pencil for charging purposes. On the back, there’s a removable plastic Apple Pencil holder, which is actually quite versatile.

It keeps the Apple Pencil in place on the back of the iPad Pro so it doesn’t get lost, and when used on a desk or a lap, it props the iPad Pro up at a slight angle that’s ideal for drawing or playing games. SwitchEasy’s calling this „Sketch Board“ mode, and I found it to be useful for writing and sketching.

It’s fairly easy to get the Apple Pencil in and out of the built-in holder to use it because it’s open at the middle. A quick slide with a finger is enough to remove it, and putting it back is as easy as sticking it into the holder.

When an Apple Pencil isn’t in use, the Pencil holder snaps off of the back of the CoverBuddy and can be replaced with a thin strip of plastic that covers the holder. The holder itself can be used on a standalone basis to keep the Apple Pencil safe in a bag, but it’s not the most elegant solution when not attached to the case.

Having an additional piece of plastic that covers the Apple Pencil cutout area is a bit of an imperfect solution because it’s easy to misplace or lose. I’m fairly well organized, but I still have a tendency to misplace the odds and ends that accessories sometimes ship with. I also had some trouble getting the plastic cover to stay in place, but SwitchEasy has told me small manufacturing issues like this will be ironed out with the final release of the CoverBuddy.

Along with leaving the ports uncovered, the CoverBuddy also has an opening on the left side that’s designed to work with the iPad Pro Smart Cover or the Smart Keyboard. The cutout is sized perfectly for the Smart Keyboard that I have, and the CoverBuddy worked well alongside it. The CoverBuddy doesn’t get in the way of the keyboard and it keeps the Apple Pencil out of the way at the top.

The CoverBuddy is designed to stay on the iPad Pro at all times, but it’s easy enough to take it off if you want to use the iPad Pro sans case. It snaps off at the corners and takes only a couple seconds to remove. Given the rigidity of the material I worry that it could crack from the force of removing it, but that didn’t happen during the time that I tested it.

I tested an opaque white version of the CoverBuddy designed to match the white Apple Smart Cover, but it also comes in translucent black to match the charcoal Smart Cover and the charcoal Smart Keyboard and a clear translucent color that’s perfect for the gold iPad Pro.

Bottom Line

SwitchEasy’s CoverBuddy isn’t quite as premium as Apple’s own Silicone Case for the iPad Pro, but it offers full rear protection for the tablet in a slim form factor that preserves its thin design. At $39, the CoverBuddy is reasonably priced and it works well with existing Apple accessories.

The add-on Apple Pencil holder is useful because it keeps the $99 accessory close at hand and it provides a comfortable drawing angle when used in a lap or on a desk. I do wish SwitchEasy produced a version without the Apple Pencil holder for those totally uninterested in it, but the existing CoverBuddy is convertible and suitable for use with or without an Apple Pencil.

If you’re looking for a rear shell solution that’s more affordable than what Apple offers, the CoverBuddy is definitely worth checking out.

It’s worth noting the CoverBuddy is a product that’s been around for awhile, so it’s not something that’s untried and untested. SwitchEasy has been making CoverBuddy cases for Apple’s iPad lineup for some time, and it’s received largely positive reviews from media outlets and buyers.

How to Buy

The CoverBuddy for iPad Pro can be pre-ordered from the SwitchEasy website for $39.99. Orders are expected to ship on December 14.

Giveaway

We’ve also teamed up with SwitchEasy to give away six of the iPad Pro CoverBuddy cases to MacRumors readers. To enter to win, use the Rafflecopter widget below and enter an email address. Email addresses will be used solely for contact purposes to reach the winner and send the prize.

You can earn additional entries by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, or visiting the MacRumors Facebook page. Due to the complexities of international laws regarding giveaways, only U.S. residents who are 18 years of age or older are eligible to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The contest will run from today (December 10) at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time through 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time on December 17. The winners will be chosen randomly on December 17 and will be contacted by email. The winners have 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address before new winners are chosen. The prizes will be shipped to the winners for free.

Note: MacRumors received no compensation for this review.

Tags: review, giveaway, SwitchEasy, CoverBuddy
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Pixelmator for iOS Updated With Support for iPad Pro, Apple Pencil and 3D Touch

The team behind popular image editing app Pixelmator for Mac and iOS today announced a major update to its Pixelmator app for iOS, introducing full support and optimization for Apple’s iPad Pro and Apple Pencil.

There’s a new palm rejection feature that allows users to rest their palms on the screen when sketching and editing images with the Apple Pencil, which works with more than 50 brushes in the Pixelmator app. Pixelmator also takes full advantage of the iPad Pro’s speed, with 16K image support for editing images up to 100 megapixels.

„User feedback about the desktop-class features of Pixelmator for iOS has been amazing, and today we’re excited to make all those features available on the iPad Pro,“ said Saulius Dailide, one of the founders of Pixelmator Team. „Pixelmator on the iPad Pro gives you more space to create thanks to the large 12.9-inch display, allows you to paint more naturally than ever with full Apple Pencil and palm-rejection support, and lets you edit incredibly large images up to 100 megapixels.“

Today’s update also introduces support for 3D Touch on the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus, adding Quick Action shortcuts when using a force touch on the Pixelmator icon on the home screen. 3D Touch support also brings 3D Touch-sensitive painting to Pixelmator, letting iPhone users vary the pressure on the screen to change the thickness of a brush stroke.

Pixelmator 2.2 includes a few other improvements, like a new collection of artist-designed basic brushes, improved crop performance, an auto-straighten feature, and the ability to increase font size up to 1000 pixels.

Pixelmator can be downloaded from the App Store for $4.99. [Direct Link]

Tags: Pixelmator, 3D Touch, Apple Pencil
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Pro Tip: Turn your finger into an eraser on iPad

The iPad Pro has become a huge favorite of illustrators and artists all over the place, and as these talented individuals get their Apple Pencils, they’re starting to see the joy of drawing directly on Apple’s massive and powerful tablet. Thing is, the Apple Pencil doesn’t have an eraser on the end of it, unlike […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Make light paintings on your iPhone with this amazing app

Light paintings are a fun technique, dating back to the 19th Century and used by luminaries such as Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko, and Andy Warhol. By waving a light source, like a flashlight, in front of a camera set for a long exposure, you can seemingly create static paintings of light in mid air. Of […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Jobs would’ve despised this BlackBerry-inspired iPhone concept

The Apple-watching world just about blew a gasket when the Apple Pencil was first announced for the iPad, given Steve Jobs’ famous assessment that, “If you see a stylus, [Apple engineers] blew it!” With that in mind, how would people react if the next iPhone went again Jobs’ wishes by taking a note out of BlackBerry’s […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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The Apple Pencil has reignited my love of drawing

The Spider-Man drawing above was created entirely on the iPad Pro using Procreate and the Apple Pencil. After many years, my love of drawing has been reignited and transported to the digital age. Friends of mine from childhood, high school and college remember me as someone who loved to draw. Armed with reams of continuous pin fed dot matrix computer […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Don’t even think about trying to repair your Apple Pencil

The Apple Pencil stylus accessory was one of the most-praised parts of the newly-launched iPad Pro — which, naturally, means that our friends at iFixit were tripping over one another to pull it apart and scoop through its gory innards like geeky zombies with a taste for tech components. Here’s what they discovered in their customary teardown. For starters, there’s […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Stress test shows how tough it is to snap an Apple Pencil while it’s charging

One of the neatest features of the new Apple Pencil is its ability to easily charge it by plugging it into the Lightning port of your iPad Pro — with 15 seconds of charge giving you an impressive 30 minutes of use. But how easy is it to break Apple’s high-tech stylus while it’s in this vulnerable position? […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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How to use iPad Pro while you wait for your Apple Pencil

We’re all excited to start unlocking the full potential of the iPad Pro, but we have a problem: We can’t really start doing that until we can get our hands on the Apple Pencil stylus that the company swears will change how we draw virtual lines forever. As of this writing, it’s showing a four […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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