Introducing MyScript Stylus for iOS – Thoughts on the Evolution of Input Methods

Published: 7th May 2015

Joël Couelier, Senior Product Manager, MyScript

Joël Couelier, Senior Product Manager, MyScript

To celebrate the launch of MyScript Stylus for iOS, we sat down with Joël Couelier, Senior Product Manager to shed some light on MyScript input methods. Joel has a background in computer science, and manages the input method products at MyScript.

Tell us a little bit about the new app MyScript Stylus for iOS

MyScript Stylus is a handwriting input panel application, offering a user-friendly alternative to onscreen and physical keyboards. New for iOS in 2015, MyScript Stylus Beta has been available on Android devices for some time. Stylus is designed for use with, well, a stylus. However, sketching characters with your finger is also an option.

Besides the choice of stylus or fingertip, MyScript Stylus has the flexibility to accommodate all users regardless of handwriting habits. The app allows text input in natural writing mode, cursive and hand printing.

But Stylus isn’t intended solely to replace your phone’s SMS keyboard. Its auto scrolling input panel allows users to write in any iOS application including email, text documents, calendar, web browser, MMS and more. As the user writes the characters in the panel, handwritten text is digitized instantly. It is perfect for writing on iPad.

Besides the accuracy and speed that MyScript Stylus brings, it is also very easy to use. Users can easily edit and correct content using candidates and intuitive gestures to split, join, overwrite, and erase characters, words or sentences.

The MyScript Stylus  application has been created to demonstrate MyScript core technology which is recognized as the most advanced handwriting recognition engine in the market. Supporting the language needs of over 90% of the world’s population, MyScript has been recognized with numerous industry, academic, and customer awards for its accuracy. MyScript Stylus for iOS is available now on the App Store. An Android version (MyScript Stylus Beta) is available on Google Play.

How did past input methods evolve so that MyScript Stylus could exist today?

In 2014, we released MyScript Stack which allows for superimposed writing on devices such as smart phones.

MyScript Stack and Stylus are coming from two different visions of how we could interact with our devices. MyScript Stack is in fact an evolution of a simple keyboard. Instead of typing each letter, you are just writing each letter, one over the other in superimposed or character by character. Stack is therefore perfectly adapted to replace a standard keyboard on small devices, and in particular situations where writing is just really hard or almost impossible like walking or chatting with someone else for instance. The Superimposed technology demonstrated in MyScript Stack is also used in the automotive market to interact with car infotainment systems.

Stylus is completely different. Stylus is not an evolution of a traditional keyboard, but an app that tends to replace it entirely for certain use cases. Stylus offers a more natural way to enter text through handwriting. This input is as close as possible to the way we are used to writing on paper, but with your mobile device.

What excites you most about handwriting input methods as showcased in apps such as MyScript Stylus and MyScript Stack?

With the evolution of devices and operating systems (introduction of hybrid PC, new stylus for tablets/phablets, Windows 10) we can see that HWR recognition will become more and more present in our day-to-day tasks. Handwriting as demonstrated in the Stack and Stylus input panel apps has the chance to become a standard input method on all these devices in the coming next years.

What sort of tools does MyScript offer developers who want to take advantage of the technology showcased in MyScript Stylus?

Developers can easily evaluate and implement the technology found in MyScript Stylus by utilizing the Application Toolkit on the MyScript Developer Program web site. Stylus uses the Single Line Text Widget which provides a graphical user interface to manage the handwriting interactions. It is designed to seamlessly integrate into developer applications, offering a wide range of customization while significantly reducing development time to market. The widget can be leveraged to develop applications for many use cases, ranging from form filling to note taking.

Developers interested in our input methods for text should take the tour on our developer site.

What about the Superimposed technology in MyScript Stack?

MyScript Superimposed technology available in our SDK can be used on tiny to small devices or in situations where people cannot have full attention on the device they are writing on. This is particularly true when walking or driving. So, with superimposed, we are targeting people (and use cases) in motion or using small devices.

The explosion of the Internet of Things will also give us new opportunities for superimposed input on wearables and smart house equipment for instance. The simplest use case is for superimposed is on wearable devices. The most outlandish is to control all your equipment at home using this very simple human machine interface.

What do you think is next for input method technology? 

I think there will be demand for multi-modal input methods enabling users to choose the way they enter input depending on the situation and use case. And MyScript is here to support developers who want to make that happen.