• Apple Planning for Pen Aware Tablet?

    Our friends at UnwiredView.com have uncovered a new patent application from - you guessed it - Apple. Although patent applications are nothing to ostensibly get excited about in theory, it's a different story altogether when a patent application suggests that the mythical Apple tablet may actually be on the horizon.

    According to further coverage by MacRumors, everyone seems to be interpreting this find as evidence that efforts are being made to prepare the way for improved digital ink recognition techniques for a yet-to-be announced but forthcoming pen-aware tablet.

    While the patent application, which was filed on July 19th, 2009, is broadly written to apply to computers in general with pen-based input-only "tablets", the inventors also make reference to tablets with integrated display screens for both input and output, such as the company's much-rumored tablet device.
    This time, it appears the answer may be yes, particularly since the patent primarily contends with a very general effort to improve digital ink recognition - something that applies to a broad range of products, not merely a tablet project that may
    or may not really be in the works. For the most part, the patent in question chiefly relates to what's called an "ink manager" - the ability for this creation to better recognize what it is that you are scribbling across the screen.

    Apple has placed a great deal of emphasis on its multi-touch technology used in the iPhone and iPod touch as a differentiator from what it has perceived as inferior stylus-based input methods. But the patent application published today indicates that the company has not completely abandoned such technologies and is in fact seeking to continue improving their functionality.
    Hailing from my neck of the woods in the great state of Indiana is IU professor Larry Yaeger, the patent application's "lead inventor" and an ex-Apple employee who has already contributed greatly to handwriting recognition software and other technologies used in a variety of Apple products.

    Although it's easy to be let down upon realization that this patent application probably has little to do with an Apple tablet, we're simultaneously failing to realize how much cooler the Apple products we already own will become as the company continues to improve and expand upon a broad expanse of technologies and innovations.

    No matter which way you slice it, a patent application from Apple is a very good thing - whether it has anything to do with
    a tablet or not.
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