Now that I’ve had a few weeks to use a hardware keyboard alongside my iPad Air 2 on the iOS 9 beta, I have to say I’m quite impressed with how much Apple has addressed. There are many little areas they’ve added keyboard shortcuts to, and these tiny changes have really added up. If you’re the kind who wants to learn more shortcuts, but can’t quite remember them all, holding on the Command key in any compatible app will show you a list of shortcuts (as shown above).
I can now browse Mail messages by using the keyboard alone. Cmd + Up and Cmd + Down switch between emails, and it’s easy to Reply or Replay All with a quick keystroke as well.
iMessage has gotten a very modest set of keyboard shortcuts, but it really only needed the one. Pressing enter *finally* (finally!) sends messages, eliminating the need to tap the “Send” button on the screen. It wasn’t a big deal to do that a few times over the course of a day, but if you’re actively chatting with people, it got very old very quickly.
Surfing in Safari has also improved. There are shortcuts to switch tabs, close tabs, copy the URL, and even find text on the page. I can also use the arrow keys to scroll through the various search suggestions, which is a good touch (I wish the same applied to the Spotlight search, but that isn’t keyboard friendly yet).
It’s early days yet, but Apple is already setting a very good example of what great keyboard shortcuts can do for iOS power users with their first party apps. Combining these keyboard shortcuts with the system-wide Command + Tab (for switching apps) has made work a lot snappier on the iPad.