Billed as an "active stylus" for the iPad, the iPen can be recognised by the tablet even when the tip hovers above the display. Allowing for improved stylus accuracy, but also facilitating an on-screen cursor.
That might not seem like a big deal for a device designed to be used with taps and swipes, but anyone who's ever used a Wacom tablet with a PC will appreciate having that visual cue of where exactly the tip of the stylus has been detected.
The peripheral — which attaches to the iPad's dock port — uses the same ultrasonic technology that lets those smart pens capture handwritten notes. But I think it's put to better use here.
As you can see in the video, the iPen allows for extremely detailed and precise pen strokes. Which will be appreciated by artists, and should vastly improve the capabilities of handwriting recognition software. Because it's a third-party peripheral, apps have to be specifically written to take advantage of what the iPen can do. But the company behind it has already lined up considerable support from App Store developers. And as they've more than raised the $US35,000 they were seeking through Kickstarter, you might actually be able to buy one in the near future. [Kickstarter via John Nack]