Palm rejection is one feature the iPad Pro has to get right

BY Evan Selleck

Published 9 Nov 2015

iPad Pro Adobe

Palm rejection is reportedly on board the iPad Pro, but one recent hands-on impressions video didn’t showcase the feature at all. Is that a bad thing?

The iPad Pro is a big tablet, with a display that measures in at 12.9 inches, and for many people that’s enough of a reason to stress the tablet’s capabilities as a creative tool. Indeed, iPads have been used for years as digital canvases, letting artists create new content with popular apps whenever they want.

Of course, thanks to the Apple Pencil, the company’s stylus built specifically (for now) for the iPad Pro, its usefulness as a canvas is even more apparent. Even before Apple officially announced a launch date for the new tablet, the company took the tablet around to creative types and let them play around with it, along with the new Pencil, to see what they thought.

As part of that tour, the iPad Pro managed to land within the offices of Pixar, a company that’s well known for its creative attributes and artistic styling. Many within Pixar’s ranks were able to test out the iPad Pro and the Pencil, giving the thumbs up to Apple’s new devices.

One thing worth mentioning was Michael B. Johnson’s, a team lead at Pixar, and his comments regarding palm rejection – a feature that’s quite essential for drawing on a tablet, especially a tablet that’s focusing so heavily on being a creative tool. Johnson said that the palm rejection on the iPad Pro was “perfect,” which should be good news to any designers, illustrators and artists that plan on picking up the new tablet.

That hands-on time happened at the tail-end of September. I can’t help but think something has changed since then.

On November 9, Adobe released a quick video that showed some hands-on impressions from a wide range of artistic folks that got to play around with the iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil. During the video, the creatives rained praise down on the new tablet and its accessory, basically giving them a gold star for their capabilities.

And yet, something stuck out to me. The only real thing to catch my attention in the video, actually. Throughout the whole thing Adobe is not shy about showing the artists using the Pencil on the iPad Pro, creating beautiful pieces of artwork as they do. The trouble with this is the fact that none of the artists are putting their wrists or palms down on the iPad Pro’s display while they’re using the Pencil.

One of the artists gets pretty close, but it’s certainly not close enough. In fact, as you watch the video, which you can just below, check out the extent these artists are going not to put their wrists or palms on the display.

In some instances it makes sense, especially with the use of brushes and water color, where one might want that angle, but that’s certainly not the case all the time. I’ve now watched the video a few times and I can’t help but think that the only reasons the majority of these creatives aren’t putting their wrists or palms on the display while they work with the Pencil is because they were told not to.

It’s certainly possible that the video isn’t meant to show this feature, but considering the size of the iPad Pro, putting one’s wrist or palm on the display while working just seems natural. Comfortable, even. And in most cases presented in this video not doing that seemed unnatural. Worse, for a tablet that has such a big focus on being a tool to create art, this seems like a huge feature that can’t go wrong when it finally gets into the hands of owners out in the real world.

It’s worth noting that creatives at Disney spent some time with the iPad Pro, too, and they were just as impressed with palm rejection, too. With that in mind, this video from Adobe could be showing us that Apple didn’t want palm rejection shown off in this specific instance, and that’s it. That the feature is still working perfectly and no one should be alarmed of an important missing feature.

As someone who plans to pick up the iPad Pro, the Pencil, and drawing as often as I can, the fact that no artists were resting their wrists or palms on the Pro’s display while using the Pencil really stood out to me. Here’s hoping that it’s nothing to worry about.

Do you plan on picking up the iPad Pro and Pencil?