Astropad for Windows Is Happening Right Now
When Astropad first launched in 2015, it surprised creative professionals by transforming the iPad into a graphics tablet. A few years later, the company expanded again by offering Luna Display — a device that allowed Mac users to use their iPad as a secondary desktop display.
And these solutions have only gotten better with age.
As Apple introduced pressure sensitivity to its iPad lineup, launched the Apple Pencil, and improved its Retina display, Astropad’s efforts to leverage the iPad’s multifunctionality have become more significant over the years.
Now, Astropad is fulfilling one of their most requested features by launching Astropad for Windows on Kickstarter.
We sat down with Astropad CEO Matt Ronge to get the details.
Astropad: A Crash Course
If you’ve never heard of Astropad Studio or Luna Display, here’s what you need to know:
- Astropad Studio allows you to replace your traditional graphics or drawing tablet with your iPad. The software connects your iPad to your favorite desktop apps for a seamless drawing experience.
- Luna Display is a hardware solution that transforms your iPad into a wireless second screen for your desktop. You can connect via WiFi or USB for a fast, lag-free experience. The device even offers support for touchscreens and external keyboards.
Until recently, this tech was only available to Apple users. That’s because the technology that Astropad uses was built around the macOS and iOS platforms.
“Both Astropad and Luna Display a run on our proprietary tech that we call LIQUID that sits underneath everything,” Astropad CEO Matt Ronge explains. “There's a lot of code in there. That took a number of years to build up.”
While those years spent building LIQUID to run in harmony with Apple products have made the Windows transition difficult, it also allowed Astropad to deliver unparalleled performance for creative professionals.
By the numbers, LIQUID supports a low latency performance of around 16ms, so drawing on an iPad is always smooth and responsive and swapping screens with Luna Display is a seamless experience. These benchmarks resemble or exceed competitive solutions from Apple’s own in-built software tools like Airplay and Sidecar — all while supporting additional features like magic gestures, pressure curves, and per-app shortcuts.
Now, Astropad is delivering a portion of that technology to Windows users through Luna Display. Astropad also intends to launch a free public beta of Astropad Studio later this year (sign up here).
The Next Step for Creative Professionals
From the beginning, Astropad has aimed to develop tools that help creative professionals succeed. It’s one reason that Ronge and his cofounder, Giovanni Donellli, built Astropad in the first place.
“The work we do ourselves is highly creative,” said Ronge. “Software design, marketing, and hardware design — those all have aspects of them that are very creative in nature, too. So we like to make tools that we ourselves would use.”
But even so, the landscape for creative professionals has evolved. Armed with creative tools like an iPad Pro, an Apple Pencil, and an app like Procreate, creatives can propel themselves to astounding heights — no secondary display required.
These solutions are so streamlined that tools like Adobe Photoshop or premium-level tablets like the Wacom Cintiq may feel relics of yesteryear. And, for a certain segment of creative professionals, that’s probably true.
Ronge says that the company doesn’t see itself competing with mobile apps. But for artists creating large projects or working in niche fields, solutions like Astropad Studio make total sense.
“If you're sketching real-life stuff at a park, you want to stick with something like Procreate at that moment. But then you bring it back to your Mac and maybe you're doing some mixed media stuff that you want to start to pull in there,” he explained. “That's where something like the power of Photoshop comes. And that's where Astropad can come in.”
Even beyond drawing apps, Luna Display opens up entirely new opportunities for creatives on the go. Whether you need to catch a flight or set up in a coffee shop to get work done, Luna Display allows you to gain more screen real estate in seconds.
To that end, Ronge points out the versatility inherent in the iPad, Apple Pencil, and other basic computing solutions. Rather than having dedicated devices, he says, Luna Display “replaces the need for buying an external display.”
The design choices seen in Astropad products mirror the use case that many Paperlike users enjoy. Where Paperlike for iPad replaces the needs for sketchbooks, pens, and paints, Astropad replaces the need for screens and tablets.
For artists on a budget and creatives who want to travel light but want extra room to work, these cross-platform solutions eliminate the need to buy dedicated, single-purpose hardware.
Making Astropad for Windows
If you’ve been following the Astropad journey for some time, you might know about the company’s initial success during their 2015 launch and the hard turn they were forced to make when Apple released Sidecar in October 2019.
In a nutshell, Apple added a feature — called Sidecar — to their native software that allowed users to use their iPad as a secondary display.
For Astropad, this was bad news because what had initially been a third-party feature (provided by Astropad and other companies) became part of the standard operating system practically overnight.
The move forced leadership at Astropad to expand their horizons and start looking at ways to break out from the Apple ecosystem — something that had been unsuccessful in the past.
Ronge explains: “We were trying different strategies to make our products cross-platform, but nothing was panning out. Then after Apple introduced Sidecar, it became clear that if we were going to be around for the long term, we needed to be a multi-platform company.”
Since Sidecar’s release, the team has continued to add new features to their tools while working to make Astropad for Windows a reality. Ultimately, users on both operating systems will be able to benefit from those innovations.
“It's been a really tough project,” Ronge said. “It's required such an amount of focus and dedication that everybody pretty much had to stop what they were doing and work on getting us to Windows.”
For curious readers: The company has also written extensively about their Windows journey and the decisions they were forced to make after the Sidecar release.
Grab Luna Display for Windows and Join the Astropad Journey
Since launching its first app in 2015, Astropad has worked to change the game for digital creatives.
By bringing Luna Display to Windows, the company hopes to help cross-platform users transform their workspace by creating hassle-free, wireless displays with the tools they already have.
Whether you’re a creative professional looking to expand your workspace or you’re looking at spreadsheets in your home office, Luna Display is an elegant solution that can change the way you work.
To order your Luna Display for Microsoft Windows, head over to Astropad’s Kickstarter page.
And if you’d like to be the first to know about Astropad Studio for Windows, be sure to sign up for the public beta right here.