From an old Apple techdoc (Titled: "Pen Based Systems Tech Doc") on Newton technology:
[quote]Why Pen-based Systems?
Mans written records date back as far as 2360 B.C. Using a stylus made of wood, pictograms were etched into clay. So compared to keyboard-based input, the stylus or pen has been used much longer than the keyboard to record information. And even though personal computers have become pervasive in home, school, and work, the pen is a much more natural method of inputting information.
For some scripts such as Chinese and Japanese, keyboard input is not an efficient mechanism. There are thousands of characters in their written languages. Thus, front end processors have been developed to map the limited number of keys in a keyboard to their alphabet. In this situation, a pen-based system is also desirable.
Although, this technology can tap a wider user base, the major reason for the computer industrys interest in this enabling technology is its application to mobile devices. Mobile computing is anticipated to be the next major market.
Pen-based solutions provides three major benefits for the mobile computer:
- Smaller size - Keyboards have been miniaturized to the ergonomic limit of the human hands. Particularly for people with large hands, these keyboards are unacceptable. For comfortable typing, a keyboard should be around 10 to 11 inches wide. With a pen-based system, the writing tablet can be made much smaller, but still be easily used.
- Lighter construction - Keyboards consist of many plastic buttons and mechanical switches. With a pen-based system, the added weight comes from the addition of a layer added to the display, a stylus, and some electronics. Both are relatively light additions.
- One hand operation - Keyboards require two hands and a flat surface to be useful. With its smaller size and lighter weight, a pen-based system could be held with one hand, as the other is used to write. And the user can use it while standing up, lying down, or hanging upside down.
The major difference with pen-based systems is its casual element. Where a keyboard is ideal for large amounts of text input, the pen is useful for jotting down ideas, both textual and graphical. In certain situations, for example during a meeting, a keyboard tends to be obtrusive, large and noisy. On the other hand, a pen-based device can be small and not much different from a paper tablet.
Gestures are also a key component of a pen-based system. Gestures are pen strokes which represent actions for the system. So instead of having to type or select a command from a menu, a simple hand movement can start an activity. For example, scrubbing the pen over a written object will cause it to be erased.
Sounds like the obvious application for Inkwell would be some kind of mobile device (Tablet, PDA etc.)...let's see what is in store for MWNY...
If anybody is interested I can mail them a copy of the entire techdoc... :cool: