The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 80 newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover Apple's invention relating to the iPad Pro's "Continuous handwriting UI." Patently Apple originally covered this as a patent application in a report titled "Apple Advances their Future iPen with a Continuous Handwriting UI & Processor System." See that report for more details.
Apple's granted patent provides a device such as the iPad Pro that receives handwriting input in a handwriting area and displays recognized text for the input in a text area of the device.
The handwriting area provides a region where a user can draw or write a handwritten input. The touch-sensitive display can display one or more virtual keys, buttons, or the like, to provide additional functionality. In some implementations, the additional keys include a delete (or backspace) virtual key for deleting the last input character and re-displaying a previously cleared handwritten input thus giving the user the ability to modify their handwritten input even after it has been cleared from the handwriting area. Other keys include a space key for entering white space and/or accepting recognized text, a return key for entering a line break or the like, and a numbers and punctuation keyboard toggle key for toggling between the handwriting area and a virtual keyboard with number and punctuation keys. In some implementations, the UI includes a virtual button for switching amongst the handwriting recognition user interface and virtual keyboards for various languages.
The handwriting area allows a user to continuously input handwritten characters without having to stop in order to erase or clear the handwriting area (e.g., by applying a "clear-surface" operation) of previously input characters. In some embodiments, the handwriting area automatically clears, or removes a subset of the previous handwritten characters in order to enable the continuous handwriting input feature. In some embodiments, as a user inputs characters from left to right within the handwriting area (though the described features are equally applicable to right-to-left, top-to-bottom, bottom-to-top, etc. handwriting input), the device automatically clears the handwritten input that was previously received towards the beginning (e.g., left-most region) of the handwriting area. Thus, by the time that a user reaches the end (e.g., right-most region) of the handwriting area, the device has already cleared the beginning area of the handwriting area and the user is able to immediately shift back to the beginning of the handwriting area to continue providing handwriting input.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 (3 figures at bottom section of graphic above) illustrates an example user interface for entering characters using handwriting recognition on a mobile device; FIG. 22 conceptually illustrates a software architecture of a handwriting recognition system.
Apple's granted patent 9,411,508 was originally filed in 2014 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office. Apple lists Deborah Goldsmith and Karan Misra as inventors of this patent.
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