Livescribe jots an iOS only note in new model

Digital pens may have taken a turn for the Apple in the latest iteration, as Livescribe announces a new variant of its digital pen technology that will only work for recent iOS devices.

It’s an interesting change for a company that started out wanting to change the world one pen at a time, as the next generation of Livescribe will focus primarily on owners of the iPad 3 and higher, as well as the iPhone 4S and above.

Designed to replace your old school analogue pen, the Livescribe 3 is the latest generation of smartpen that will work from the moment you turn it on, digitising anything written on dot paper and send it to a supported iOS device running Livescribe’s app, “Livescribe+.”

When opened, notes taken on paper will appear in real time on the iPad, ready to be shared online, while the pen’s microphone will still record information as the notes are taken. Written text can also be used to make calendar events or reminders, and even added to the contacts on the iPhone or iPad, with a form of character recognition engaged automatically as a way of translating those scribbles.

“People shouldn’t have to choose between their pen and their digital devices,” said Gilles Bouchard, Livescribe’s CEO. “The Livescribe 3 smartpen sends everything they write on paper to their tablet or smartphone, where our mobile application makes this information useful in truly innovative ways.”

While the previous generation of Livescribe could send recorded notes to computers using WiFi, the latest generation takes advantage of Bluetooth Smart, a version of Bluetooth 4.0 that requires less energy from devices making use of it.

Apple was one of the first companies to support Bluetooth Smart in its iOS operating system, and as such, Livescribe seems to be looking at owners of these devices first, with automatic wireless syncing ready only for iPad and iPhone owners, even though Bluetooth Smart exists on quite a few Android and Windows-based products.

Customers without an iOS device can still get use from the new Livescribe if they have a Windows or Mac OS computer, but it won’t be handled in real time. Likewise, Livescribe wouldn’t tell us if or when Android phones and tablets would be supported by the technology.

If you do have an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch, you will need iOS 7 to make use of this, as well as one of the new pens, which hits retail now and starts at $199.95 for the regular edition, while the Livescribe 3 Smartpen Pro retails for $265 and comes with a leather smarten portfolio and one year Evernote subscription.

Previous models which weren’t platform dependent will still be available, including the Livescribe Sky WiFi smartpen, and the Echo smartpen which synchronises with computers through a cable connection.

The Pro edition will come with a leather portfolio.