The next iPad update might turn it into a Newton with handwriting-to-text support

Apple Pencil
Apple Pencil (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple is expected to release iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 this year.
  • iPadOS 14 will reportedly include a new PencikKit addition.
  • Text written using an Apple Pencil will be converted to on-screen text.

We've been hearing all about what iOS 14 and watchOS 7 will bring to the table later this year, but the latest news is all about iPadOS 14. According to a new report we can expect improved Apple Pencil support that will turn handwritten text into normal text on-screen.

According to MacRumors, the update will allow text to be written into any text field, removing the need to use the on-screen keyboard. That alone has the potential to make owning an Apple Pencil an absolute must for iPad users.

According to information obtained by MacRumors, the PencilKit feature appears to work with any text input field available in iOS, making it compatible with Messages, Notes, Reminders, Calendar, Mail, and more. A floating interface will pop up whenever a text field is tapped with the pencil, allowing for the written input.

It's also likely that third-party apps will be able to take advantage of this feature because it will be built right into PencilKit. That means PDF editors, email clients, and just about anything will support it.

If all of this sounds familiar, that's because it is. Apple's Newton did exactly the same thing way back in the 1990s. You know what they say – everything old is new again!

I'd expect Apple to announce iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 during its WWDC event, likely to take place in June. That event might not look like it has in past years thanks to the ongoing coronavirus issues facing people around the world, but something will need to replace it even if cancelation is in the cards.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.