Windows users with iPads rejoice! Astro HQ is bringing Astropad cross-platform in 2020

Jan 27, 2020

This year, Astropad is finally coming to Windows PCs (Photo by Astro HQ)

Anybody who reads digitalEPIGRAPHY on a regular basis probably knows by now, how fond we are of Astro’s solution, that transforms the iPad into a makeshift Wacom tablet via a little dongle, called Luna Display. In fact, Astropad Studio works so well and offers so much in terms of customization, that we still insist using their solution over Sidecar, a free mirroring feature baked into Apple’s latest MacOS. What makes Astropad superior to Sidecar is that it works over Wi-Fi as long as both Mac and iPad are connected to the same network and it offers superb shortcut customization, while deeply integrating custom tablet gestures. Last but not least, it has the simplest, most brilliant eraser solution, we wish Procreate would have thought of, that is one finger touch to erase while drawing. After writing numerous articles about Astropad and finally arranging our studio setup around their solution, only one question remains: when would Astropad finally expand to Windows. 

Circuit board design and prototype for the new Luna HDMI dongle (Photo by Astro HQ)

Of course, Astro is not the only player in this space. One of their competitors, Duet, was designed to work on both Mac and Windows PCs, while another iOS app, called EasyCanvas, is offering fairly similar functionality to Astropad (even including shortcuts), also intended for both platforms. However, neither of them has the advantage of Luna Display’s hardware acceleration that makes Astropad work so flawlessly between iPad and Mac. Now Astro’s developers are rewriting their code to be able to support multiple operating systems, including Windows. According to the team, the Rust programming language, being used for building the nest iteration of Astropad, brings improved stability, speed and performance to their foundational code. This news might not excite our less tech-minded reader all that much, however, rewriting the code will open up new possibilities, such as basic keyboard and mouse input through Astropad, allowing the iPad to behave as a full-fledged desktop computer, even when remotely accessed through Wi-Fi. While existing Luna USB-C units will remain functional on Windows, Astro is also developing a new HDMI dongle, specifically for these types of PCs, mimicking an HDMI external monitor on tablet computers.

A working prototype of Luna Display running on a Windows computer (Photo by Astro HQ)

In their latest Twitter entry, Astro made promises to bring the Astropad experience to Windows computers in 2020. They also asked their community to share their valuable feedback along this journey. The developers are in the process of selecting a closed group of beta-testers to try out the first 100 Luna Displays for Windows, before moving into a full public beta program. After an extensive round of testing, Luna Display for Windows will be ready to launch on Kickstarter later in the year. If you’d like to help the developers or inclined to test Astropad for Windows, you can sign up to receive updates on their Windows journey, participate in the free Beta program and – when time comes - be among the first to know about the Kickstarter campaign.

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