Disney and Pixar animating staff get first look at iPad Pro

Ahead of the giant iPads' official launch, Apple is sharing it with some select testers. Jordan Golson explains.

iPad Pro
Image: ZDNet

Apple's upcoming 12.9-inch iPad Pro won't be available to the public until November, but that hasn't stopped the company from lending it to some very high profile and talented testers.

A number of iPad Pro tablets were taken to Disney and handed out to its animation department, where Disney's animators used the $99.00 (USD) Apple Pen to evaluate the tablets drawing capabilities.

Feedback was positive, with "palm rejection" working very well--when drawing on the tablet, the user's hand can rest on the screen (like it would on a piece of paper) without the iPad recognizing it as input. Even with the palm resting on the screen, pinch-and-zoom gestures can still be used with the other hand.

Other artists drew Mickey Mouse and Olaf from Frozen in a prerelease version of the Procreate drawing app.

Mickey Mouse
Image: @dgmacy/@briankesinger/Disney Toon Studios

Disney Story Artist Jeff Ranjo broadcast some of the test on Periscope (the video is no longer available) and was impressed enough to say "let's order a bunch of them."

In late September, Pixar employees got an early look at the iPad Pro. Michael Johnson, an employee who works on the tools Pixar uses to animate its movies, said the tablet had "perfect palm rejection as far as we were able to see."

The palm recognition is particularly important, thanks to the emphasis on using the Apple Pen to write or draw on the screen.

During the live, on-stage demo last month, the pen was even used in more traditional productivity applications like Microsoft Office. Along with 3D Touch on the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, the Apple Pen is Apple's latest attempt to change how we interface with mobile devices.

Steve Jobs once said that if a user needs to use a stylus to interact with a device, "they blew it." Some pundits have regurgitated this quote to criticize the Apple Pen. Of course, Jobs was saying that if you need a stylus to be your primary input, it's a failure. Instead, with the iPad Pro, the users' finger (or Apple's new keyboard) is the primary input, and the pen is a secondary input for drawing and other artistic purposes.

These prerelease visits to Disney and Pixar (both companies with very close ties to Apple and Steve Jobs), with the heavy social media presence, are obviously meant to be part of the company's overall marketing push for the new tablet.

If some of the world's best artists approve of the iPad Pro, it must be good, right?

The iPad Pro goes on sale in November, starting at $799.00.

Are you interested in picking up the iPad Pro, either for artistic or more traditional work purposes? Let us know in the comments below.

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