Apple unveiled a big upgrade to iPadOS during the WWDC 2020 keynote. They included significant improvements to how Apple Pencil works.

Apple Pencil Scribble for iPad

You Can Now Scribble With the Apple Pencil

The change is called Scribble. It allows users to write in any text field using there Apple Pencil, and the handwritten information will be converted into typed text. It can be used for things like replying to an iMessage or doing a search in Safari. This conversion happens on-device to help maintain privacy.

Related to Scribble is Smart Selection. This uses on-device machine learning to help distinguish between handwritten notes and drawings, so you can properly select, copy, cut, and paste handwritten notes or images created with Apple Pencil. You can snap shapes in place on Notes, and iPadOS will be able to identify handwritten text, including doing things like being able to tap a number to phone someone or add an event to a calendar. Scribble will support English, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, and mixed Chinese and English.

I’m really excited about this feature. There are lots of times that I’m using a stylus and would like to continue to do so, instead of having to tap either the physical or on-screen keyboard. However, I don’t use an Apple Pencil – I have a Logitech Crayon. I hope this functionality will work with third-party products. I’ve reached out to Logitech to ask.

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Mike Weasner

This was probably my favorite new capability shown at the “Keynote”. But I wonder if it will work with my iPad Pro 9.7″ and original Apple Pencil.

JonGl

We’re almost back to where the Newton was all those years ago. I’m excited and can’t wait to try it out. I will need to buy a stylus first, though. 🙂