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Surprise (or not) – iPad has a “handwriting keyboard”



iPadHandwritingEngadget almost got me excited with a mention of a prototype handwriting keyboard on the iPad, uncovered with a look at the iPhone OS 3.2 SDK.  But then I saw the screenshot that led to it.

Sorry folks, it’s not new; it’s just the Chinese language keyboard that’s been part of the iPhone for more than a year.

It gets me thinking about handwritten input on the iPad though. Capacitive touch doesn’t stack up to an active digitizer, but some people get by with it. Comments from anyone who’s used handwritten input on the iPhone would be much appreciated.



  1. RandySpangler

    01/31/2010 at 6:00 pm

    Will capacitive touch allow the heel of the hand to lie on the screen while pressing down with a pen or stylus? If not, that would be very uncomfortable to write on.

  2. Sumocat

    01/31/2010 at 6:05 pm

    No, which drives me to active pen input every time.

  3. Antimatter

    01/31/2010 at 6:08 pm

    Resting on the screen was hard to do on the iPhone, but inevitable on the iPad. I keep complaining about tablets with no stylus, and people keep pointing me to that pogo stylus. They just don’t get it.

  4. Riles

    01/31/2010 at 7:37 pm

    You just need to wear some gloves. Problem solved.

    Just kidding of course, no active digitizer is what kills the iPad for me too. The Courier can’t get here soon enough.

  5. Sumocat

    01/31/2010 at 8:08 pm

    Riles: That’s actually not a bad idea. A fingerless glove would help me overcome my problem using a pen on a capacitive touchscreen without sacrificing tactile control. Still a crappy experience compared to active digitizer, but usable. I might seriously have to ponder this approach.

  6. Fred

    01/31/2010 at 8:11 pm

    Ipda may be the love or hate tablet for many but I think the hipe and recognition of a peace of tech well developed is well deserved by a company that at least did their homework. In architecture I never got an A in school because I designed the building that satified everybody but the one that served a purpose and was well developed from concept to the object it self.

    I think we are wishing Palm Rejection Recognition on a tablet that is not a full computer or one developed for the artist who draws on the screen, etc.

    I also wish PC companies do not try to copy the iPad and develop slates that are full computers and have Palm Rejection on their screens. At list one model out of the bunch we will se this year, and target a diferent market rahter thasn trying to copy because then they come out with peaces of junk and we already have much of that on the market.

    Thats why apple hits that hard when launches a new product. They use the oportunity when everybody else is trying to develop a mix of concepts into 1 device. In other words, a tablet needs to be specialized for something and do it good.


    01/31/2010 at 8:23 pm

    if the sensor can present the size od the contact to the os, i would imagine one could program it to ignore anything above your average finger.

    and with multi-touch, one do not have the vectoring issue that one have when multiple contacts gets counted as a single large.

    but i guess we will get the confirmation of its suitability once people get their hands on the final product.

  8. Fred

    01/31/2010 at 8:34 pm

    Lenovo X200 Tablet, Tabletkiosk eo a7330D use some sourt of metal or magnet located at the pen and a sensor takes the input of the pen and ignores your palm if it detects the pen close to the screen. It switches between 2 layers of touch screen. 1 touch screen detects anything that touches it (top laker) and the other leyer at the bottom (usually like wacom) detects only imput from the pen. A sensor that coordinates the 2 layers turn of the top leyer if the pen is close to the screen. That basic kind of concept is true in some tablets. Other work with sensors at the edges of the screen that detect the position of the pen and translate that in to input. Several other ways to accomplish it may exist but I doubt the iPad has the hardware to do it or its design was intended for this.

    I also with they designed the iPad with that capability but it might push the price up and get them out of their main market target. Is not that they can not include this tech but may not be necesary right now

  9. Joel

    02/01/2010 at 3:03 am

    I followed the link to the Pogo Stylus yesterday. Of course it doesn’t match up to wacom’s stuff.

    What was cool was that they have software for the Macbook’s trackpad with palm rejection tech built in. Another plus was that they had handwriting recognition as well. It was all very basic stuff, but it shows what is possible with capacitive touch.

  10. Joel

    02/01/2010 at 3:04 am

  11. Sumocat

    02/01/2010 at 6:46 am

    Fred: that’s the pen touch Wacom system. Touch is turned off when the active digitizer detects the pen. Unfortunately, that’s the one that doesn’t work for me. Pen detection doesn’t work if I don’t keep the pen within detection range and years of inking has trained me to lift the pen without lifting my palm.

  12. JD

    02/01/2010 at 7:24 am

    Doesn’t Phatware have an app for the iPhone? If so, would it work on the iPad? And as for a sylus, why not use a Cross pen with the stylus insert, it works great on my iPAQ.


    02/01/2010 at 7:59 am

    interesting one there, joel, as it shows that with the right software, a capacitive screen can do palm rejection.

    heck, is it me or did it appear like the iwork demo hinted at the option of saving and loading data from a common storage area? or was it me misunderstanding the media access part?

  14. Fred

    02/02/2010 at 7:43 pm

    Thanks Sumocat. I didn’t know the way it works. I thought it was more like a pen and paper experience where you don’t have to worry about using the pen on the screen and moving your hand at will without causing missreadings.

  15. davv

    02/03/2010 at 8:05 am

    theres an iphone app called “Writepad”, go look for it in the appstore
    it takes some time getting used to it but its quite powerful

    if i ever get an ipad, i think that app will be totally awesome.

  16. dtep

    02/03/2010 at 11:30 am

    I was very disappointed when they presented the iPad without mentioning the handwritten notes possibility; now I’m getting more confident that could be possible with the right application. That would be a big plus… even the killer app for education.
    My main concern at the moment is about the thickness of the stylus (like the pogo one); with the iphone you need to have a large, flat surface hitting the screen, and not a pointy one like a normal pen.

    To take handwritten notes with the existing app for iPhone, I find quite good the Note Taker. There is a free version, and it has some smart solutions for the small screen

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