Patent filings often give us indications of new features to come on gadgets, and the latest patent filing by Apple does just that. A patent filed in the United States by Apple recently describes a handwriting recognition system for the iPad. This will allow users to scribble words and sentences onto the screen, which will then turn it into script for typing.
It’s worth noting that such technology does already exist (on Android-based devices such as the Samsung Galaxy series of tablets and smartphones), but Apple’s patent filings would likely put it to use in a better and more accurate way. Currently, handwriting recognition can be very inaccurate and tricky to master, so any improvement in the technology would be useful. Also worth pointing out is that it is meant for stroke-based handwriting, which would primarily suit Chinese language inputs. Indeed, the diagrams in the patent filing show just that.
The diagrams also show the system working with both finger inputs as well as with a stylus. Considering that both the iPad and iPhone series run iOS, it’s possible that this could work on both. However, at this stage this is just a patent filing, and it could indeed be shelved before it even takes off. Even if it does see the light of day, its primary purpose is likely to be with Chinese languages, meaning it might not be very useful to English users.
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Apple’s last attempt at handwriting recognition on its devices was the Apple Newton, a stylus-based device launched in 1993 that was admittedly not very effective. Apple hasn’t typically promoted stylus use, particularly under the leadership of Steve Jobs, but recent Apple products such as the iPad Pro series have supported the use of the Apple Pencil, the company’s new stylus.