Apple Pencil & Hover

| News

This week we introduced forScore 14, and today we wanted to talk a little more about something that may not seem like a big deal: Apple Pencil hover detection. This feature was introduced last fall with Apple’s latest iPad Pros featuring M2 processors, and unfortunately we got no advance notice that it was coming so we couldn’t take advantage of it until now.

With this hardware upgrade, apps can detect when Apple Pencil’s tip is near the screen but not touching it. This allows developers to add things like preview indicators, advanced gestures like pinching to resize the preset before you draw, and more. That’s already a great upgrade, but there’s one more thing that really elevates the annotation experience in forScore—instant annotation.

Instant annotation is a combination of settings that makes it easier to annotate without entering and exiting annotation mode. This requires forScore knowing when you want to start annotating (easy: when Apple Pencil touches the screen) and when you’re finished (much more difficult). Our solution to this was to provide a setting to automatically exit annotation mode after a period of inactivity. That works, but if you happen to try and draw just as forScore is saving your changes you’ll see no markings appear on the screen.

For this feature to really work well, forScore needs to be able to predict when you’re finished annotating with more accuracy and that’s where hover detection comes in. Now, instead of waiting for a set amount of time, forScore waits until Apple Pencil is far enough away from the screen that it can comfortably assume you’re finished drawing. It removes a lot of guesswork and dramatically improves the reliability of this feature.

Hover detection isn’t something most people can take advantage of just yet, since it’s only available on Apple’s latest and greatest iPads, but as this feature trickles down to other devices in their lineup we think it’ll really make a big difference for musicians who annotate regularly and quickly.