Astropad Studio Turns Your iPad Pro into a Pro-level Mac Graphics Tablet

Astropad Studio for the iPad Pro and Mac

Astropad is a cool app that lets you use your iPad as a full-on graphics tablet for your Mac, but may be a little limited for pro users looking for an alternative to Wacom’s Cintiq tablets. That’s not a problem any more thanks to today’s Astropad Studio launch.

Astropad Studio for the iPad Pro and Mac
Astropad Studio turns your iPad Pro into a professional graphics tablet for your Mac

Astropad Studio lets you use your iPad Pro as a high resolution graphics tablet and second display with your Mac. You link the two via USB or WiFi, and you can set a part of your Mac’s display to show on your iPad–handy when you need to maximize screen space when working on graphics.

Like Astropad Standard, Astropad Studio color corrects on the fly so what you see on your iPad and Mac displays match, and it works with any app—not just graphics apps. Astropad Studio goes beyond it’s older sibling with substantially faster data throughput, much lower latency, keyboard and gesture support, an eraser tool, unlimited shortcut sets, hover simulation, Apple Pencil pressure sensitivity, and more.

Based on our testing, Astropad Studio’s WiFi connection offers surprisingly fluid performance that’s on par with Astropad Standard’s USB-only connection. That’s saying something because the Standard version performs amazingly well.

Astropad Studio requires an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, and costs US$7.99 a month or $64.99 a year. Astropad Standard is still available as a one-time purchase for $29.99.

10 thoughts on “Astropad Studio Turns Your iPad Pro into a Pro-level Mac Graphics Tablet

  • As an aside, my biggest frustration with the iPad Pro is not with the device, but with the market: people generally don’t want to pay more than once for an app, but a company can’t go on updating and upgrading apps without cashflow, and that, more than anything, has kept the iPad Pro from getting a lot of apps that it honestly should have by now. There should be a decent iPad Pro version of Photoshop. There should be a decent iPad Pro version of Clip Studio Paint. There should be a decent iPad Pro version of (fill in the blank), but we have none of those, because a lot of development companies haven’t figured out how to make a reliable revenue stream off of them. The closest thing developers have to a guaranteed revenue stream is, whether we like it or not, the subscription model.

    I suppose one could make an app that has a basic cost, and then has paid upgrades – but those upgrades would need to be absolutely vital and desired, if the developers want to keep the lights on.

  • I’ll say this: I signed up for the 7-day free trial, I tested it in a few macOS apps, and from what I can tell initially, it is head and shoulders above the original Astropad app – and it was pretty good to begin with.

    As a design/graphic arts pro, I have no problem paying for an app subscription. One, it’s really not that much. Two, it keeps Astropad’s developers and other employees paid, it keeps the updates and upgrades coming, and honestly, it’s cheaper than buying a tablet for fun and (possibly) other work stuff plus a 13″ Cintiq for art and commerce. With the iPad Pro and Astropad Studio installed, everything I need out of a portable screen and tablet is in one device.

  • @tli_mark I didn’t suggest $20/year – that is the price of Duet display, a competitor to AstroPad studio.

    As a customer, I hate subscription pricing, so there is no way I’m going to pay for a subscription to Duet display either.

  • I am one of those ‘professional users’, and I can tell you that *I* don’t want to pay a subscription for it. 😉 Cool idea, but not without its own issues.

    I agree, Apple should address this themselves. They are insane to think we are going to be ok with a 12″ screen for everything we do. I’ve got to tell you, too, that trying to manipulate a tiny version of some pro software’s interfaces is a nightmare with a stylus.

    The iPad Pro is super cool, especially the pencil, but it’s not there yet if this is the answer to lingering questions. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what’s coming down the pike, I still have hope that there are great things coming.

  • They are clearly marketing this to “professionals”; people that earn a living using the graphics pad. They are also trying to create a product that is more useful. Perhaps Apple “should” have developed this for the pad, but they didn’t. Developers have to an income stream to pay for development and to keep paying for improvements. I understand the distaste for the subscription model, but what “sane pricing” would be acceptable? You suggest $20 for a year is also insane. Perhaps if you don’t use the application to earn money this seems like a lot, but if your making your living using this and it works to replace a device that costs several thousand dollars, it is probably worth it.

  • Might be an OK product, but there is no way in hell I’m going to pay a monthly or yearly “subscription” for a standalone piece of software

    It doesn’t interest me either, not for software and not for music

    Sidebar to the MacObserver. We can probably now do away with the login notice, it has been months since the change:


    We recently migrated our website to a new platform. We did our best to preserve your user account and password, but if you’re having trouble logging in please use the reset password option or email support and we will assist you.
    Thank you!

  • I’d also recommend against buying AstroPad standard – it may be a one-time purchase but it appears a dead-end product that the company is not improving as it shifts to a loathsome subscription model for AstroPad studio.

  • Might be an OK product, but there is no way in hell I’m going to pay a monthly or yearly “subscription” for a standalone piece of software that doesn’t need any special cloud services – and implements an obvious feature that Apple should have built into iOS/macOS to begin with!

    It is my hope that nobody will put up with this abominable business model, and that developers will go back to sane pricing schemes rather than obnoxious subscriptions.

    For now, everyone should consider sanely priced alternatives like Air Display 3, which may not be as sophisticated in terms of multitouch but which works fine over USB and Wi-Fi.

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