iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 certainly weren’t as ambitious as some of the software updates we have seen in years past. That was probably due to a combination of the impact of COVID-19 and the focus required to get macOS 11 and the beginnings of the Mac on Apple’s own processors out the door for developers.
However, Apple’s new Widget features on iOS did shake things up a bit and grab some headlines. I’ve been playing with the iOS and iPadOS betas and I have enjoyed a few aspects of these new capabilities. That said, while I think this is a good start in a different direction for Apple’s Home Screens, I am still left wanting more.
If you thought the iPad had come full circle with the release of the original Apple Pencil in 2016, Monday saw the last dot truly get filled in. The announcement of Scribble and new AI-fueled digital ink search and recognition features for the iPad bring system-level handwriting recognition and manipulation back to Apple hardware for the first time since Steve Jobs’ return to Apple in the late 90s.
Considering his comments on the stylus when the iPhone was announced, it felt for a time like these features would never find their way to Apple’s mobile devices again. However, while the Pencil’s inclusion as a non-essential accessory geared toward design and notetaking made sense, Apple’s new handwriting features elevate digital ink to a much more useful level on the iPad.