Would A Force Touch Keyboard On The Next iPad Be Practical?

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Images of a scaled-up software keyboard in iOS 9 from developer Steven Troughton-Smith hints at the existence of a larger iPad. This new keyboard has more keys, larger key sizes, and more symbols and numbers available at the surface level. The conclusion most people are making is that this layout could only feasibly be executed on a larger screen than the iPad has now.

This is interesting news on its own, but it got me thinking that a real breakthrough would be a software keyboard with a localized implementation of Force Touch (which is used on the Watch and new MacBook). One of the things that makes typing on the iPad different is that you can’t place your fingers on the keys when you want to rest them, and I think Force Touch could be an interesting solution to this issue. Imagine if you could rest your fingers on the area of the screen displaying the keyboard, but no keystrokes would be registered unless you apply more deliberate pressure to the screen.

The caveat here is that I don’t know if Force Touch could be designed to only work for a portion of the screen (depending on what’s displayed), and this kind of input would probably need some form of haptic feedback to help me feel when I’ve applied enough pressure to actually trigger a key press. The iPad has also never had a vibrating motor, let alone haptic feedback, and it could prove too noisy with the iPad on a desk.

However, if we’re going to see a larger iPad and a modified keyboard to suit it, I’m hoping to see more of the innovation that went into designing the keyboard and trackpad on the new MacBook be applied to the input mechanisms on a larger iPad.


Thomas

My name is probably Thomas (yes, it is). I'll be able to help you figure out why Evernote isn't syncing, or recommend your favourite new RSS reader to you. That's partly because I am enamoured with the iOS ecosystem and hardware, but mostly because I'm Canadian.

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One thought on “Would A Force Touch Keyboard On The Next iPad Be Practical?”

  1. Pressure sensitivity (in general) would be helpful for those doing bitmap graphics (without a pressure-sensitive stylus) and for adding dynamics (“velocity” in MIDI-speak) to playing music (entering or performing, not playing back, without an external keyboard or pad).
    I do doubt the usefulness, though.

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