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.
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.