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Hands on: Paper by FiftyThree comes to your pocket with iPhone support

Nick Mediati | Sept. 11, 2015
FiftyThree's popular sketching app comes to the iPhone at long last—and learns a few new tricks along the way.

iphone plus pencil
Using a stylus with Paper on the iPhone is easier than using your finger, but it still isn’t quite as smooth as a fine-tip pen and a notepad.

In an odd quirk, Paper uses a different screen orientation depending on the device you use: You use it in portrait mode on your iPhone, but on the iPad, it comes only in landscape mode (You can, of course, rotate your device all you want as you draw, but the app won’t rotate with you). The decision to go with landscape mode on the iPhone makes sense given how most of us hold our phones, I’d like to see FiftyThree add support for portrait and landscape rotation on all devices in a future version.

Despite some minor annoyances, FiftyThree did an admirable job at cramming lots of functionality into the app, and came up with an interface that works well within the iPhone’s size limitations. Still, it goes without saying that iPhone 6 or 6 Plus owners (or soon, iPhone 6s and 6s Plus owners) will likely have an easier time working with Paper for iPhone than those of us using older devices.

A must-have upgrade

If you’re an existing Paper user, Paper 3.0 is a no-brainer upgrade. It adds plenty of new features—without detracting from the simplicity that made Paper so great in the first place—and if my hands-on experience is any indication, it’s fast and stable. If you don’t use Paper already, you have nothing to lose—it’s a free download from the App Store, so go give it a try.


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