My Take on the iOS Virtual Keyboard
After four years of using the touchscreen-optimized writing tool, I can attest that I have an unmalleable opinion that many others will agree with. Following Nikhil’s poll asking readers whether they prefer a virtual or physical mobile keyboard, I knew that I had to fully stand behind the iOS virtual keyboard since I find it near-perfect for a keyboard of this size.
Once the majority of users get past the initial, frustrating learning curve, then they soon learn that a keyboard on a touchscreen is not half-bad. If we look at it from a size perspective, it is actually superior to a physical keyboard of these dimensions. The flat surface and extra room for finger error contribute to a better experience. Many physical mobile keyboards have a key press that ultimately slows down typing along with keys that seem smaller in an actual block form.
We cannot forget about what may be the iPhone’s saving grace: auto-correct. Auto-correct intelligently fixes errors most of the time, allowing for quicker, more worry-free typing. Even though it can be completely wrong at times, it works well enough, at least until it can be based around both the rest of the sentence’s meaning and the jumbled letters.
While landscape mode is the no-brainer choice for new users, the more experienced including myself have no issues with the smaller keyboard available in portrait mode. I find the iPhone more comfortable to hold in that orientation, so thankfully I can type about just as well either way.
Beyond knocking out more than a few texts and instant messages on an iPhone in a fairly satisfactory fashion, I am also no stranger to typing 1,000-word editorials on it. Truth is, I have practically no complaints for what screen real estate practically allows, even when being such an avid writer.
If the next iPhone does feature a slightly bigger screen, the typing experience could almost become fantastic since there would be more room for each key, leading to a smaller chance for error.
There is one significant reason that the iOS virtual keyboard is great: it’s always available to me. It works, it is usable for long writings, and it I can always pull it out of my pocket and begin typing away. In fact, since the only electronic device I currently have with me is my iPhone, my previous four posts were written with its touchscreen (though the majority of my posts were written on a Mac).
By the way, this post? Written, edited, and published on an iPhone 4.