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Apple goes big on handwriting recognition

Dusts off some old Newton development

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Apple is developing a handwriting recognition software bundle, according to a report by Matt Rothenberg over at ZDNet. Nicknamed Inkwell, it would appear that the software was conceived for use on the now discontinued Apple Newtons.

According to Rothenberg's sources, the software will have a control panel, some help features and a shared library. Users will input data using a pen like device writing on a pressure sensitive tablet. Apple is working with the tablet manufacturers, Wacom, to ensure compatibility. The product is thought to be in the pre-release testing stage under the code name "Rosetta Stone".

A beta tester is reported to have said: "The recognition was surprisingly accurate. When printing neatly in a straight line, Ink was able to decipher all but the most illegible of writing." Probably won't be suitable for most doctors or journalists then.

As well as being used for text input, the device will also allow users to navigate the desktop and browse the web.

The report goes on to say that InkWell will ship alongside Mac OS X, which is expected early in 2001; and a version may also be available to users of Mac OS 9.

Apple said that as a matter of policy it would not comment on future products.®

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