How Easy or Hard Will Typing on the iPad Be?

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typing on the iPad

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A blog site with the splendid name of ‘The Russians Used a Pencil’ has a post up with some thoughts on typing on the iPad.  The author feels that typing in landscape mode should be fairly ‘adequate’ even for longer text entry, but that portrait mode may be a very different, and not very satisfactory, experience.

The on screen keyboard in portrait orientation, however, seems inelegant.

In this case the iPhone style keyboard doesn’t scale very gracefully. It sits in an unfortunately middle ground: way too cramped to type with both hands, but too large to be able to comfortably “thumb type.”

John Gruber, of Daring Fireball, agrees with this opinion – and he has actually tried out the iPad keyboard at last week’s Apple event:

With years of experience now, I actually type way faster on my iPhone in portrait than landscape, because my thumbs have less far to move. On the iPad, it really felt like I had to very slowly peck to thumb-type.

I have to admit, typing on the on-screen keyboard is one of my worries about the iPad.  I’m hoping that, as with the iPhone, it will much better than I imagine it to be – but hearing comments like Gruber’s above is not giving me a warm, fuzzy feeling about this area.

What do you all think?  Are you going to be banging out 100 words a minute on the iPad or pecking out 8 words every sixty seconds?

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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4 thoughts on “How Easy or Hard Will Typing on the iPad Be?”

  1. Even if you don't attempt lengthy document creation on the iPad, I imagine a lot of us will still want to do things like type up emails, take notes and so on – so the ease of typing in portrait mode still seems quite important to me.

  2. I'm looking forward to holding one of these babies in my hand. Until then, it's all speculation. I will say this tho…I have fairly big hands to go with my opposable thumbs, so I'm thinking thumb typing in "portrait" mode might be comfortable for me. I've adapted to my ipod touch's cramped size fairly well in portrait mode, but I'm guessing the extra "thumb" room of the ipad will be a nice thing.

    Also, I noticed that the Apple case for the ipad looks very versatile. Not only does it protect the device like a book cover, but it folds up in an angled triangle type configuration enabling table top two handed typing. Pretty cool. On first glance, I'd much prefer this set up to the dock/blue tooth keyboard also sold by apple. The dock keeps the ipad in an upright position, and I think people will miss the ability to "tilt" the screen. But again….gotta wait to see it live and in person before I say for certain.

    As with anything new, there is a learning curve….but I think this trend toward virtual keyboards is here to stay. For those of us who travel alot….the ipad is a very tempting device.

    I only hope that a "lite" version of Apple's "ilife" comes soon. After all Jobs unveiled "lite" versions of "iwork" for the ipad. It's only natural to assume ilife is next in line to get the ipad treatment. This would seal it for me. To be able to have a "lite" version of imovie to edit my video clips on the run. A lite version of "iweb" to edit my blog with and a lite version of garage band ……all on a device that weighs 1.5lbs and as slim as a pencil would be AWESOME.

    Yeah, it wouldn't run photoshop or other monster programs a laptop could run….but for a travel laptop replacement, it might just be enough until you got back home or to the studio.

    I'm liking this.

  3. Lots of good thoughts there. I think ti really will be very interesting to see which typing methods work best. I'll definitely be giving all of them a shot – the keyboard + dock, a BT keyboard, and still hoping I'll get on well with the on-screen keyboard as well.
    I'm not a big user of the iLife apps at all, but agree that bringing Lite versions to the iPad makes good sense.

  4. Ah, there it is..the keyboard was made for a dog. As in no opposable thumbs so therefore enough room. So you hold it in one hand, then type with two? I am not sure but most of us only have two hands. Sure, I know use the silly fold up cover and then type. That would be like trying to type on the monitor of a pc would it?
    It is hard to believe that it has no camera in an age that LOVES skype to talk to relatives all over the globe. Poor poor design. Those that are addicted to Apple with pay $6-900 for each new version until they get it right? I dont’ think so.

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