Back in March, we had a little debate concerning keyboard cases for the iPad and whether they were a productive accessory or just an unnecessary burden. Jonathan Kizer argued that typing on an external keyboard is much easier than on the iPad’s software keyboard, whereas Pedro Lobo mentioned that they were more of a hindrance than a tool to speed up your productivity, citing the useful shortcuts built into many apps such as WriteUp.
Soon after this, we were contacted by The Snugg, a popular manufacturer of a wide range of iPad and iPhone accessories and I thought in keeping to our theme, we would review their Bluetooth keyboard and case offering. Here are my thoughts.
Last week, Jonathan made a very compelling argument as to why we would need an external keyboard on the iPad. Now while I concede that on some occasions this would be a boon — typing on the mini for instance — I have to disagree that an external keyboard is needed. Let me share a few of my thoughts on why I feel that it could even be a hindrance and maybe sway you to agree with me.
From the very beginning, the iPad was meant to represent a limited device. While Apple continuously pushes it as the harbinger of the next generation of computing, there is no denying the fact that it simply isn’t good at certain tasks. Some of those tasks are trivial: file management, multitasking, and various other small issues annoy those who try to get actual work done on the device. Thankfully, applications are released daily that help to alleviate many of these pain points, and limitation often helps breed creativity.
The largest issue, however, isn’t one that developers can fix: data entry on the iPad is abysmal for any task that involves typing more than 500 characters.
Keyboard cases for the iPad are becoming increasingly more popular with plenty of models to choose from. Of course, Apple designed the iPad to make typing on it fairly seamless (especially with the optional Smart Cover) however some people feel that typing on an iPad still feels a little cramped and they prefer an external keyboard instead.
This week, we’ve got a debate coming up between two writers on precisely this topic – should you buy an external keyboard? – but before they lock horns it’s over to you as the reader: do you use an external keyboard with your iPad? This could be Apple’s standard default offering or one from a third-party manufacturer (Logitech, for example). There’s even a handy Mac app, 1Keyboard, which allows you to hook your Mac up to your iPad via Bluetooth and use your Mac’s keyboard as an external Bluetooth keyboard for your iPad.
Whatever option you use, please feel free to vote in this week’s poll on the right! And of course, stay tuned for this week’s debate on the subject of keyboard cases – it’ll be a good one!
A physical keyboard has always been a topic of discussion when users talk about accomplishing real work on the iPad. While certain people are enjoying success including writing books using just the on-screen keyboard on the iPad, I feel the average user can appreciate a physical keyboard. A physical keyboard can provide the familiarity factor which can help a laptop or desktop user type productively on the iPad in very little time.
For the most part I have avoided keyboards for the iPad. It seems most of these keyboards are not trying to innovate on the iPad. For example, if I was a keyboard manufacturer I would try to get into Apple’s head and think if Apple included a keyboard with the iPad, what would it look like? Many of you might say they technically already do, and it’s called the Apple Wireless Keyboard. While that might be true I do not think it is practical to carry around an extra keyboard. Several problems come to mind, such as how to protect it and how to efficiently carry it. Again I am not saying that it cannot be done, but it seems like a hassle…
Earlier this week Matthew Guay wrote an in-depth article regarding using an external keyboard with the iPad. It got me wondering how many of you guys use an external keyboard with your iPad?
Is it something that you couldn’t live without or just a beneficial tool for some situations? I personally don’t own one, but how many do?
I could have chosen to do a poll on which external keyboards people have decided upon, which would be interesting but wouldn’t answer what I’d really like to know – what proportion of iPad users go out and complement their purchase with an external keyboard?
Feel free to comment below regarding what keyboards you’ve found to be great, or even why you’re so fond of the external keyboard in general. Should the casual iPad owner seriously consider getting on board?
When Steve Jobs launched the iPhone in 2007, pundits thought he’d lost his mind launching a phone with just a touchscreen. Surely no one wanted to tap on glass all day! Then, the iPhone proved the pundits wrong, and even Blackberry launched a phone with an on-screen touch keyboard.
Last year, the iPad faced the same dilemma. People had come to accept typing on a touchscreen phone, but for a laptop-sized device, surely that wouldn’t cut it.
Then we got the iPad, and discovered that you could actually type quite fast on a full-sized touch screen. So much so, in fact, that many declared the iPad the perfect writing device!
So, is there still any need to get an external keyboard for your iPad? I’ve recently picked up an Apple Bluetooth Keyboard for mine, so keep reading to see what advantages a “real” keyboard brings to the iPad and whether it’s worth getting … or not.