Duet Display adds pressure-sensitive input for Apple Pencil and iPad Pro

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Duet Display is one of the most useful apps to come along in a while, letting users turn their iPad into a second screen for their Mac with virtually no latency via wired Lightning cable connection. Now, the app is getting an update and a Pro mode that lets it act as a fully pressure sensitive display-integrated drawing tablet with iPad Pro and Apple Pencil.

The update works sort of like Astropad for iOS, letting you use the Pencil as a pressure sensitive stylus for directly working in painting, drawing and other graphic apps including Photoshop and Illustrator. But Duet Display is actually more powerful, in that it acts very similar to what you’d expect from a Wacom tablet, giving you full use of an extended display as well as pressure sensitivity, palm rejection and both Mac and Windows support.

Alongside the new features, there’s a new business model: Duet Display is going subscription-based, at least for those who want access to the professional features including pressure sensitivity. Unlocking those will cost $20 per year, and Duet founder Rahul Dewan tells me he believes that will be a much more sustainable business model, both for his app and for other developers working on iOS software.

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Sample doodle created with Duet Display, iPad Pro, Apple Pencil and Photoshop CC.

I used the beta version of Duet Display’s update, and found it had more latency than the Wacom 13HD that I typically use for working with graphic applications, but it was still very usable and much better than working with a tablet that doesn’t have a built-in display. It’s definitely a feature I could see myself using consistently when I’m on the road, and the pressure features do indeed work well for doing things like shading or digital painting.

Duet’s update is available now via the App Store, and as mentioned, the pressure sensitive features are part of the $20 per year subscription package, with a money-back guarantee if you don’t love the added features. The price of the app itself, which still has all the same features it offered before this update for a one-time purchase, is temporarily reduced to $10.