A couple of weeks ago we wrote about how Apple posted a job for a handwriting recognition engineer to create technology that “may extend beyond Mac OS X to other applications and the iPhone.” With that we were wondering if Apple has plans in the works to incorporate handwriting recognition into the iPhone. Well Apple, we have news for you. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel and spend time coming up with the software because a Chinese developer has beat ya to it!
Apple iPhone School has some decent screenshots of the software called HWPen 1.0 (in beta) that only works for phones that are jail-broken. Here are a few of the images:
HWPen 1.0 is very similar to what you’d see when using the handwriting software on Palm and Pocket PC devices. The only problem? Well, there’s a reason it’s in beta. The Apple iPhone School tried it out and this is what they say about it:
Now, you can select either ABC or 123 on the right side depending on what you want to type. I have found that the number recognition works great, even with number more than one digit. The letter recognition is a little trickier. It does pretty well! Though, there is no option to switch between capitol and lowercase letters so, it can be tricky making it recognize the difference. And, it pretty much doesn’t recognize if you write an entire word. It will recognize small two letter words but, that is about it. Single letters yes, two letter words sometimes, full words no!
If it can’t recognize full words, at this point it sounds like there’s a lot of work to be done, but it might be fun to play around with. At least it’s a start, although I don’t know how useful it will be to people who’ve gotten used to typing on an iPhone. Most everybody I know who has spent some time typing on an iPhone eventually prefers the iPhone keyboard over other keyboard or input methods.
Here’s the source for this app: http://iphonecake.com/src/new