Stephen Fry, Autodesk & SketchBook Pro for iPad

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Here’s a fantastically convoluted turn of events. As many of you are aware, Apple is bringing its iPad to market this coming saturday. We even have our man, Martyn Day, camped outside the San Francisco Apple Store, clutching his pre-order invoice in his sweaty little palms as we speak (I think. He might be in the pub around the corner). The potential for the device is huge, it looks like a device that could change things and its been a constant source of discussion in meetings with vendors since it’s public launch a few months ago. All this is known.

Just a moment ago, a british industrial design on twitter, Nick Harvey, retweeted a post by none other than Stephen Fry – yes, THAT Stephen Fry. This showed a screenshot of what looks to be the splash screen for an iPad variant of SketchBook Pro – quite a turn of events.

Autodesk of course, have been doing the iPhone thing like rockstars with SketchBook Mobile for some time and have shifted serious units – over a million. If you want the numbers as of November last year, that breaks down to 141,000 paid for licenses and over 900,000 downloads of the free version. Assuming that Apple take their usual 30-40% cut, that’s some serious change from a $1.99 app.

Here’s another post from Mr Fry, showing the loadscreen. With an apparent SketchBook Pro icon.


So, SketchBook Pro for iPad, looks like a perfectly timed release. Will it bring all of the things that SketchBook Mobile is missing (such as guides for lines and ellipses), will the idea of having a larger scle multi-senstive device for sketching, be as truly rocking as it seems, will I also now have to try and justify an iPad to my business partners along with a PogoStick purchase – I do hope so.

But if this is true, it does raise one question that I’m sure some readers might be confused by and most probably ridicule in the comments – but my sometimes slightly wonky moral compass requires me to ask this very simple question:

The screenshot shows a woman’s face, in heavy makeup, pouting at the viewer, as the splash screen? Really? It’s 2010. Not 1975. I figured we’d grown out of that sort of cheap marketing gimmick. Surely there are better images that could have been used – look at the SketchBook Mobile gallery on Flickr – its full of wonderful images, wonderful art, surely something a little more appropriate could have been found?

I’m super excited about finding out whether this app exists and having a play with it once I get out to Portland, but honestly, the above bothers me enough to ask the question and to ask the question of Autodesk. We’ll see what happens. When we first covered SketchBook Mobile, I quoted Spinal Tap with the line “Fuck the Napkin”. What I didn’t think was that I could do the same again, but it does lend me to do just that.

“Sexist. Not sexy.”

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