They keep it all hid

If you believe the predictions coming from the usual suspects, tomorrow’s Apple Event could run as long as a Google I/O, so plan your liquid intake accordingly. According to my sources, Apple will be supplying special Jony Ive-designed catheter bags to the reporters in attendance—in Silver, Gold, Space Gray, and the new Rose Gold.

The big announcement is supposed to be the iPad Pro, which will be shipped with iOS 9.1, a version different from the one that’s been out in public beta for a couple of months. Presumably, iOS 9.1 will include software for handling the Pro’s pressure-sensitive stylus.

What surprises me about this is that none of the well-sourced rumor mongers are predicting handwriting recognition for the iPad Pro. It seems like a natural fit, given the other capabilities of the machine and the tasks it’s expected to be used for.

Apple, of course, has a dicey history with handwriting recognition, and they must know that announcing that feature is an invitation for pundits to rehash the Newton “egg freckles” story.


Image from the Washington Post.

In the standard history of Apple, the Newton was a failure and handwriting recognition was the main culprit. But according to people who used it, the Newton’s handwriting recognition, called Inkwell or just Ink, got quite good after the first version. It’s been included in OS X for ages, but few people know about it because it’s normally activated only when a graphics tablet is plugged in.

Inkwell preference pane

A few people did expect to see Inkwell on the iPhone and iPad, but that didn’t make much sense when the fingertip was the input device. Handwriting, whether printed or cursive, needs the accuracy of a pen or pencil or it just takes up too much space. Which makes me wonder about the resolution of the digitizer in the iPad Pro. Whether handwriting recognition is included or not, I’d expect a finer digitizer to go along with the stylus.

I’m sure Apple is gun shy about handwriting recognition, so I don’t want to predict it’ll be included, but it sure would make the iPad Pro more attractive to me.

Now we get to the real reason I wrote a post about Inkwell: so I had an excuse to include the single greatest music video ever made, even if the aspect ratio is screwed up in this copy.

Apple’s certainly learned with the iPad that it’s hard to tell if anything is gonna sell.