Last May, Astropad celebrated its two-year anniversary of being Sherlocked with a blog post. “In the first few years of Astropad’s existence,” the startup noted, “we were too dependent on the Apple ecosystem, and we paid the price.” Simply making it to the second anniversary was its own act of defiance. Many companies with similar stories don’t even make it that long.
After Sidecar rendered the company’s display-mirroring Luna dongle mostly redundant, Astropad diversified, introducing new modes like teleprompter and the ability to use an old Mac as a second screen. In 2021, the company added Windows mirroring support.
The startup hasn’t moved away from Apple altogether. Late last year, it announced Darkboard, a drawing stand specifically for iPad users. The system is designed to deliver a more Wacom-like experience to Apple’s tablet, offering a 30-degree angled easel experience on top of a table. A vertical experience, meanwhile, gives it a more desktop-style experience when paired with a Bluetooth keyboard.
It’s effectively a large surface with an adjustable stand and a cut out that snuggly fits either an 11 or 12.9-inch iPad Pro or 10.9-inch Air. After drumming up 1,600 preorders, the $120 device is now available for purchase. The system is $10 cheaper than the Sketchboard Pro (though it’s ultimately pricier than the initial $99 list and $79 Kickstarter preorder price). In a post comparing the two, Astropad highlights the product’s weight at 1.4 pounds to the Sketchboard’s 4.2.
“If you’re an artist who likes to move around the house and get comfy on the couch or in bed while you work, Darkboard is the best choice for you,” the company writes. “The ultra-lightweight and ergonomic design makes it easy to stay comfortable during long work sessions no matter where you go.”
Astropad adds, “Darkboard is actually lighter than the box it’s shipped in.”