Paper app creators 53 design launches the $60 Bluetooth stylus that thinks it’s a carpenter’s pencil

FiftyThree, the company behind the drawing and painting iPad app Paper, has launched a Bluetooth stylus which appears to have all the style and simplicity you’d expect from the people behind the iPad App of the Year 2012.

Great tools inspire great ideas. Pencil is the most natural and expressive tool for getting ideas on Paper. Advanced technology meets beautiful design to keep you in the flow, without needing to switch tools. With Erase, Blend, and adaptive Palm Rejection, Pencil puts creative possibility in your hands …

The stylus is designed to look and feel like a traditional carpenter’s pencil, with flat-sided design intended to be comfortable to hold and assist with accurate lines. The exterior is real wood (walnut from sustainable forests), and there are no buttons. You can also opt for a metal-cased model for $10 less.


You pair the stylus to your iPad by touching a button in the app, and then use it just as you would your finger. A virtual eraser on the top of the stylus is also recognised by the app, and FiftyThree says that you can mix-and-match stylus input with finger controls like pinch-to-zoom.

Pencil is fully compatible with the Paper app on the iPad Air, iPad 4, iPad 3, iPad mini and iPad mini with Retina Display, but can be used as a dumb stylus with any app on any capacitive touchscreen device. You can order it here.

Last month, the company teamed up with Moleskin to allow Paper users to immortalise their creations on, well, paper.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel


  1. Arelunde Lunde - 9 years ago

    Very clever but pretty pricy for a stylus – $50. It should come with a tether or something to keep it from being left behind like most pencils and pens too often are.

    • degraevesofie - 9 years ago

      It should come with a tether or something …

      The Walnut version is magnetic.

      … pretty pricy for a stylus – $50

      It’s pricy compared to passive styli, but among the active styli this may actually be the most affordable option (on the minus side, it doesn’t offer pressure-sensitivity, which is a key attribute of other active styli).

      • degraevesofie - 9 years ago

        (Sorry, I screwed up the markup on that reply.)

  2. Felonius NoSpamius - 9 years ago

    What DAFUQ?

  3. Mr. Grey (@mister_grey) - 9 years ago

    Wow, an expensive trendy pen for rich people advertised with almost no actual information on what it’s capabilities are. It will be a perfect match for the expensive trendy app (“Paper”) made for rich folks by trendy rich programmers.

    I’m so happy that it’s fifty dollars US plus tax and exorbitant shipping and has less features and capabilities than many other much less expensive pens. It’s really cool how it only works with that one app too.

    • Jason Stoff (@jstoff) - 9 years ago

      Not sure how you could consider Paper (the app) expensive, but I agree that it’s very light on any technical detail. I wonder how it stacks up compared to newer offerings from Adonit and Pogo.

    • Naman Goel - 9 years ago

      Expensive Trendy pen, well its actually just a stylus so it doesn’t do what a ‘pen’ does.
      Its been advertised in a really well made, trendy (to use your word) video that shows you why you need a stylus and the fact that it can be used as an eraser when flipped. So it actually shows what its capable of, its just subtle, which is why the video is sheer genius.

      Now coming to the price, well, I guess it is more expensive than other styluses (styli?). But then not by much. There are companies already selling styluses for more.

      Finally, i agree that Paper is an expensive app, but it is free upfront. Though, you have to buy a lot of add ons to make it worth anything at all.

      It may have been made by rich programmers, but there’s no need to be mean here!! They are talented programmers, who’ve become rich as a consequence, and are now making great products that continues to make them more money. I don’t see why you have a problem with any of it. It may be overpriced. Don’t buy it. Call it out. Say its overpriced. You could even go ahead and list a bunch of better cheaper alternatives. You could even predict its demise because of the aforementioned alternatives. But there’s no point being mean to the makers and their customers, by being dismissive of them as rich folks and rich programmers.

      • degraevesofie - 9 years ago

        Paper is only “expensive” when compared to the typical deflated prices of most mobile software, but I don’t think it’s an expensive value proposition. Note also that using a 53 Pencil unlocks a number of features of the app, effectively further reducing the price of the full-featured version.

        As I (clumsily) noted above, this is an active stylus priced between the typical price of a passive style ($10, say) and the price of other active styli (I’ve mostly seen them in the $70-$100 range). This one has no pressure sensitivity, but The Verge claims it works more smoothly, in part because you don’t have to switch out of the app to “pair” the stylus.

    • cnnryng - 9 years ago

      How about you just go to their website and read about it?

  4. t3d (@robotstorm) - 9 years ago

    What’s with all the camera movement? I’m getting sea-sick.

  5. Adeel Siddiqui - 9 years ago

    Could someone please tell me what other stylus lets me rest my wrist on the screen while drawing, and then lets me use my finger to blend colors? I have not seen any other stylus do this, but I am not well versed in current stylus tech.

  6. Styvenson Goody Smith - 9 years ago

    Would like to see this compare to Intuos Creative Stylus.

  7. Piliger Black - 9 years ago

    A ridiculous price, and the tip is WAY too big to enjoy using. I have tried a few and am waiting for a fine tip.

    • mockery17 - 9 years ago

      Go take a look at Adonit Jot Script Evernote Edition. It’s the only stylus I know of that has a fine tip.

  8. Sam Kanter - 9 years ago

    Not much of an improvement over my $10 stylus. What’s the point? (pun intended)

  9. Brian King - 9 years ago

    FYI, the next update of Paper breaks functionality with Pogo Connect – a stylus that came out quite a while ago with pressure sensitivity and a lot of promotion from the Paper app. Scumbag move.

    • Lorraine Philip - 8 years ago

      Agreed. Will the new expensive pencil go out of fashion too?! and you can’t use it with anything else.

      I like the Paper app but charging for each of the tools is a bit cheeky. If I think how much the Procreate app provides in comparison why not just stick to Procreate!


Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

Ben Lovejoy's favorite gear