PhatWare Corporation has released WritePad for the iPad, a notetaking application for the Apple iPad that translates your handwriting into text. You can write on the iPad screen using your finger or the True Touch Stylus from hadaccessory.com. Since I don’t have an iPad yet, I have not personally tried WritePad to form an opinion of it, but the history behind its handwriting recognition appeals to me.
What is special about the handwriting recognition in WritePad is that at its roots is a product called Calligrapher, which was made by the same programmers who Apple hired to develop the handwriting recognition on the Newton Messagepad. While Apple will never call the iPad a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), I don’t think it is a stretch to consider the Netwon MessagePad to have a grandfather-like relationship with the iPad. In fact, if you consider that like the Newton, the iPad is not a phone, one could make the case that the iPad is more closely related to Newton than the iPhone is to Newton. Because of the history of Newton to iPhone to iPad, and the way that Steve Jobs unceremoniously dumped Newton, I find the return of the same handwriting recognition that began on the Newton to the iPad to be a bit of poetic justice.