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Apple iPad (2020) and iPadOS 14 review

So yes, it would appear that Apple’s software convergence for Mac and iPad is well underway. There is one more thing we need to talk about, though: the Apple Pencil. I’d be lying if I said I don’t mind this iPad using Apple’s first generation stylus from five years ago, but at least iPadOS 14 gives you more ways to use it.

The most notable pencil-focused addition is Scribble, which lets you start writing in any text field. From there, iPadOS does its best to make your scratched chicken in machine readable text. Pen strokes don̵

7;t even need to end in the middle of the field! As long as you’re close, iPadOS will figure out where you actually wanted to type and take it from there.

iPadOS 14 doodle


Now, I’ll be the first to admit that my handwriting ranges from pretty good to doctor-level illegible depending on how fast I’m going, but I was surprised at how accurate the results were. Of course, errors do occur, and luckily it’s easy enough to fix errors with a bunch of on-screen controls appearing at the bottom of the screen. This is my only quibble with Scribble: if you get a URL or a Google search term wrong, having to move your hand down on those controls can get you out of a rut pretty quickly. I know how minor it sounds, but if you’re like me and you always make consecutive typos, the back and forth gets old quickly.

The smart move would have been for iPadOS to dynamically position that “palette” on the screen depending on where the text field you’re typing is. I add it to my wish list for iPadOS 14.1. However, if you’re the type of person who still uses the pencil frequently, I can’t overstate how useful Scribble is; it means you don’t have to put your pencil down to use all your other software.

Speaking of other software, the Notes app has been revamped with a number of new Pencil features. If you handle diagrams often, Notes will “quantize” your scribbled polygons, arrows and hearts, turning them into geometrically precise figures. If marking flowcharts isn’t your thing, you can double-tap everything you’ve written to select it – from there, you can select as many doodles as needed and paste it as plain text or just rearrange it on the page. Perhaps best of all, the Notes app constantly processes what you write as you write it, so it knows how to treat some snippets differently than others.

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