Apple has filed a patent for inputting text that looks suspiciously like it could be on the long-anticipated Apple Tablet device.
Although patents do not necessarily equate to actual devices, one submitted by Apple for inputting text through a stylus, comes with a diagram of a device that looks like either a Newton or an oversize iPhone.
This tallies with rumours of an Apple touchscreen tablet device that have been floating round the tech world ever since the arrival of the popular iPhone and iPod touch.
The latter devices, of course, do not have pen input – but, like the Microsoft Courier video that was leaked – the potential for handwriting recognition and hand-drawn diagrams with a stylus are clear.
The patent was filed in July and the transcript reads:
"METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR ACQUIRING AND ORGANIZING INK INFORMATION IN PEN-AWARE COMPUTER SYSTEMS
"An ink manager running at a computer system receives ink information entered at a pen-based input/display device and accumulates the ink information into ink strokes.
"The ink manager communicates with a handwriting recognition engine and includes an ink phrase termination engine that is configured to detect the occurrence of one or more ink phrase termination events by examining the ink information.
"Upon the occurrence of an ink phrase termination event, the ink manager notifies the handwriting recognition engine and organizes the preceding ink strokes into an ink phrase data structure.
"The ink manager may also pass the ink phrase to an application executing on the computer system that is associated with the ink information, and it, in response, may return a reference pointer and a recognition context to the ink manager.
"The reference pointer and recognition context are then appended to the ink phrase data structure. Utilizing the recognition context identified by the application, the handwriting recognition engine generates one or more hypotheses for the ink phrase, and provides them to the ink manager.
"The ink manager forwards the hypotheses together with die reference pointer to the application and may also append them to the ink phrase data structure."