Apple seeks patent on handwriting recognition technology for the Apple iPad

Apple seeks patent on handwriting recognition technology for the Apple iPad
If your memory goes beyond the smartphone era, you might recall the Apple Newton. The handheld PDA was the first such device to use handwriting recognition, although its accuracy was not good. Originally designed for the desktop, Jony Ive shrunk Newton down so that it could be a handheld product. When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, he 86'd the Newton for a few reasons. One was the fact it relied on a stylus ("Yuck, who needs a stylus," he said during the unveiling of the Apple iPhone) and was created under the leadership of John Sculley. Sculley, as you might know, was handpicked to become Apple's CEO by Jobs, and then fired him. But the Newton also performed poorly.

What brings up the Newton is a new patent filed by Apple in the U.S. last February. Titled "Managing Real-Time Handwriting Recognition," the application appears to be directed at the Chinese language. The application says that "real-time, stroke-order and stroke-direction independent handwriting recognition is provided for multi-character or sentence level Chinese handwriting recognition." Additionally, some of the images that accompany the application show the application used to write in Chinese on an iPad, although a few show examples in English. 

It would appear that the handwriting input can be entered using the user's finger, or a stylus. But don't get carried away just yet. This is only a patent application, and Apple's experience with Newton is sure to make the company extra-cautious about including handwriting recognition for its tablet.


source: USPTO

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21 Comments

1. Zylam

Posts: 1817; Member since: Oct 20, 2010

Google's handwriting keyboard on the play store is actually pretty decent. It's a shame Google doesn't care about tablets, it's such a wasted opportunity. They are letting Apple run away with the iPad. Chromebooks suck as tablets, before people are throwing that garbage on here.

13. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3137; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

And without mouse support iPads will never move beyond being a tablet. At least Chromebooks and some Windows 2-in-1s can be folded to have some limited tablet capability.

15. Zylam

Posts: 1817; Member since: Oct 20, 2010

iPad's are not meant to be full computers, they nail the tablet experience and are the benchmark. The Macbooks take on the laptop space. Having products that give you a crap tablet experience is pointless. Android tablets are my favourite and it just sucks how much potential there is in them which google doesn't care about. But whatever man, the Apple hate here is just as pointless as chromebooks.

17. DareDevil01

Posts: 65; Member since: Jan 15, 2012

I really like Android tablets too! I feel like Google is basically pushing them to the back of their mind despite the fact that they are Google's best chance of competing with iPad. And you're right about the Apple hate, although he is right about a few things. Although iPads "nail the tablet experience" they are still severely lacking in file browser support especially with external storage devices. I might also add that you can use a mouse with Android too. Hopefully Crispin sees this despite me only replying to your comment.

2. SamsungNewbie

Posts: 143; Member since: Jul 06, 2013

Samsung did it first, Apple always copies.

3. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

No one gives a s**t. Find a hobby or something productive to do.

4. drunkenjay

Posts: 1678; Member since: Feb 11, 2013

they both copy. get over it.

5. apple-rulz

Posts: 2122; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

Once again you’ve failed at trolling, Wacom did it first, Samsung merely bought the technology from them.

8. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Actually, Pencept did it first in the 1980s

19. DareDevil01

Posts: 65; Member since: Jan 15, 2012

Samsung only licenses the Wacom inductive (Penabled) technology from them. Samsung comes up with their own software outside of the S-Pen hardware, including their handwriting recognition. But as many others have stated, Samsung weren't even the first to do hand writing recognition, and neither was the Newton.

18. DareDevil01

Posts: 65; Member since: Jan 15, 2012

As someone else said, they both copy lol. Samsung only really got in trouble because at one point they were truly taking the whole design language approach of the original iPhone 3G and using it on the Galaxy S (2010) along with the color theme for the icons etc. They're completely different and original now and have been for many many years. All the other stuff and ideas they copy off each other is super trivial and doesn't cause any lawsuits.

6. Vokilam

Posts: 1218; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

Apple Newton did it first. Drops mic.

9. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Nope, the Newton is from 1993, there were companies way before that, like Pencept.

10. Vokilam

Posts: 1218; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

But, but.... I dropped the mic...

11. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Hahaha let's assume nobody heard me then ;)

12. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3137; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

They weren't first but Palm's Graffiti was, and still is, the best handwriting recognition tool. Microsoft's Letter Transcriber was the most accurate but required semi-decent handwriting which I don't possess.

14. RoyalMike unregistered

I don't know who did it first but only samsung could do it successfully in their Note series and Tabs with S pen letting people use it everyday for writing down notes, saving contacts directly by writing name and number together. Actually the software makes it that successful with recognition of what is actually written and what the user is intended to do with it. It can figure out if we want to set a reminder or want to save a contact or just taking a note.

20. DareDevil01

Posts: 65; Member since: Jan 15, 2012

Their Note series of phones in particular have been a great example of where this kind of software excels. As we utilize our phones a whole lot more than our tablets for everyday tasks. Whereas the iPad with Pencil and Galaxy Tabs with S-Pen are more of an artistic tool. I also imagine the Note phone's sell far better than Samsung's Wacom enabled tablets.

16. guyguya

Posts: 9; Member since: Aug 14, 2013

Does those "images that accompany the application", reveal how the next ipad is expected to look?!? Sure hope so!!!

21. perry1234

Posts: 646; Member since: Aug 14, 2012

While people may argue which smarphone OS is better, in the case of tablets , there is simply no real competition for Apple. The Tab S3 left me unimpressed. Nexus 7 / Nexus 7 refresh was the last good tablet that actually made some sense. Huawei is making some progress though, their tables look good on paper. Would like to have the opportunity to use them in real life.

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