When Apple announced the iPad, many technologists criticized them for relying on the touchscreen for a keyboard. I was disappointed that Apple offered no explanation at the time. Because there’s a surprise bit of brilliance in Apple’s keyboard strategy.
Just like the iPhone, the iPad features a touch screen keyboard which resizes depending on whether you are holding it in landscape or portrait mode. This keyboard is an advance toward simplicity from the iPhone. Sitting table top with the iPad propped at an angle I get pretty good speed from it. And, I know people who find it quite convenient in this mode. But it’s not as good as a full size keyboard.
Critics say that Apple ‘should have’ added some type of physical keyboard. That’s nice. But none of these critics know what advantages Apple gains with the touchscreen. What would I have had to sacrifice to have a physical keyboard? Shorter battery life? Added weight? Smaller screen? Larger footprint? None of these makes sense.
More importantly, consider what we could realistically have gained with these compromises. ANY physical keyboard on a handheld device is compromised Look at Treo, Blackberry, Samsung, and other handheld devices. None of them have “real” keyboards.
And that is Apple’s brilliance: When I need to type more extensively, I just put my iPad in the full size keyboard dock. And while in the dock, I type and enter data as fast as I would on a full size desktop computer. And Apple offers yet one more full sized option. Any Apple wireless keyboard will connect via Bluetooth.
With the iPad, when I need to carry something small with some data entry, I have all the ability I need. And when I need to sit and write, I have the full size keyboard that works best.
Seems like some smart choices to me.