iPad touch keyboard

Not as easy as you might think

David Filskov - December 2011

I was using an iPad 2 with English layout for this review. I can live with the iPad's - in many ways - inefficient layout and I use my laptop a lot less. I've tried typing on several Android devices and they aren't much better than the iPad. Different but equal amount of quirks.

I've designed my own keyboard now (video)


It takes a while getting used to not using Shift to reach common symbols like ( / @ - ' " : etc. Since Apple didn't use Shift it takes THREE taps (not two) to type a symbol. And underscore (and others) often requires FOUR taps.

Confusingly - and for no obvious reason - comma and full stop both move to new keys when you write digits. Why?

Holding Backspace works nicely to begin with but after a little while it starts deleting HUGE blocks of text. Luckily you have Undo and even Redo.


...is a pain in the b... Or rather: You don't correct typos. You re-write the whole word.

There's no Delete key - only Backspace. Therefore it's important that position the cursor is very fast and easy. However, it requires you to pause and hold down your finger - and then move it. This slows you down and prevents you from instantly doing what you want (place the cursor - not wait). Also the precision required is horrible. No zooming in to make it easier (there's a magnifying glass but that's just to show what you're doing - not lessen the required precision). Instead you end up double-clicking a misspelled word and simply type it all over again.

Often the Select menu appears when you try to position the cursor. This blocks the text and takes an extra tap to get rid of.

Here's the solution (Apple, are you reading this?)

My typing speed is not bad after a week (and even though I'm Danish I use the English layout since the three extra Danish character/keys make all keys even smaller).


To start selecting text requires you to tap twice on the exact same spot - not that easy. Often you simply move the cursor a litte instead. It makes it especially frustrating since you have to wait (yes, waiting once again) before you know if you did it right and the text selection buttons pop up - or nothing/something else happens.


It's a huge frustration to type in a 1- or 2-line text area. You want to position the cursor but the text starts scrolling up or down. This causes the cursor to move even when you hold your finger still. Almost impossible to use - and remember you finger is often blocking the text while this happens.