Tag Archives: cost effective

Gorilla iPhone Stand

iPod Touch Writing

This post is a response to an email sent by a reader.

Chronically ill, she spends a lot of time on a recliner writing and surfing the web, but her 17 inch laptop is too heavy to keep on her lap.

She’s thinking about getting an iPad to write on, but she also wants to know if she’d be just as happy writing on her iPod Touch instead.

I replied:

Sorry to hear that you’re sick. Writing is such a good way to be productive when you’re too unwell to do anything else.

I think you could be just as happy with a Bluetooth Keyboard and your iPod Touch. But first, I need to check a few things with you.

How old is your iPod Touch? If it can run iOS4 you’re good to go. It means you can use all the latest word processing apps and connect to a Bluetooth keyboard too.

Do you already own a Bluetooth keyboard? (You mention “the Bluetooth keyboard” in your email, so it sounds like you’ve already got one.)

If you don’t have a Bluetooth keyboard, I recommend the Apple Wireless Keyboard. It’s cheap (only $100 or so new) and extremely comfortable and light. It works beautifully with Mac devices running iOS4 and with laptops as well. This means even if you decide not to write on your iPod Touch, the keyboard isn’t wasted. You can put your heavy laptop onto a nearby table and write on it using the feather-light Apple Wireless Keyboard on your lap.

If you want to write on your iPod Touch, I recommend starting out with a free app. The Mail app is built into the iPod Touch. Just do your writing in an email and email it to your laptop when you’re finished.

If you enjoy that, get yourself a tripod for your iPod Touch so you can write more ergonomically. This extendable tripod only costs about $6 from eBay:

iPhone Tripod Stand

Tripod stand - try searching eBay for "iPhone tripod"

It will be useful if you want to put your iPod Touch on a nearby table at eye level. You can balance it on your recliner too (I use it on my bed) but you’ll have to hold it steady each time you move.

If you want to attach your iPod Touch to your recliner, you might want to try a Gorilla-style tripod such as this one:

Gorilla iPhone Stand

Gorilla iPhone stand - try searching eBay for "Gorilla iPhone stand"

The flexible legs can wrap around the arms of your recliner and hold your iPod Touch steady.

The next step in iPod Touch writing would be purchasing the TextExpander app for autocorrection as you type. You could also buy a word processing app. There are hundreds available. I recommend My Writing Spot or Notebooks if you don’t use formatting such as italics or bolding in your writing. If you use formatting, Doc2 is an inexpensive, but fully featured app.

So there you are. I hope that answered your questions. If you have any more, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Regards,

Charl

charl@iphonewriting.com

http://www.iphonewriting.com/

Twitter: iPhoneWriting

MP-0118+ Bluetooth Keyboard

MP-0118+ Bluetooth Keyboard

MP-0118+ Bluetooth Keyboard

The MP-0118+ folding Bluetooth keyboard

The MP-0118+ Bluetooth Keyboard was my first folding Bluetooth keyboard. It’s the least expensive near full-sized folding Bluetooth keyboard on the market. (If you find a cheaper one, please let me know!)

Usually sold as a generic Bluetooth keyboard (try searching eBay for ‘folding Bluetooth keyboard’) the MP-0118+ comes with a a small driver CD (which you can cheerfully throw away if you only plan on using the keyboard with your iPhone), a neoprene zippered case, one cheap AAA battery with a working life of roughly three hours (a decent battery will last up to a hundred hours) and a slide-out, folding phone stand.

The MP-0118+ weighs 175g (including the case, stand and battery) takes one AAA battery, and folds up small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.

Unfortunately, it achieves its small size by making compromises with the keyboard layout. There’s no dedicated number and symbol key row. Instead, numbers are incorporated into the top QWERTY row of letter keys, and can be accessed by hitting the Numlock Num key on the bottom row. Symbols and punctuation are incorporated into the top two rows of the keyboard, and can be accessed by hitting the Punct key on the bottom row. The space bar is oddly corrugated, and divided in half by the central hinge.

If you’re accustomed to touch typing, you’ll be spending the first five minutes feeling for the symbol keys and making lots of mistakes. The single and double quotes, and the colon and semicolon keys are in the correct place. But the up arrow key is where the question mark should be. You can only type a question mark by pressing the Punct key and (of all unintuitive keys) the letter F. The full stop (period) key is very close to the back arrow key, and I often find myself hitting it by mistake. Then I have to stop and move the cursor back out of the word I just typed. The H key on my keyboard is very stiff and sometimes requires a couple of presses before it produces a letter.

Looking back on what I’ve just wrote, I can see I’ve got lots of complaints and that’s really unfair to a keyboard that never really set itself up to be anything spectacular. What matters most is that the MP-0118+ is cheap and it works. Not spectacularly, but it’s still a major improvement over the on-screen iPhone keyboard. It has arrow keys, which are something that a writer really cannot do without, and you can touch type.

The MP-0118+ Bluetooth keyboard isn’t a terrific keyboard, but if you want dabble with writing on your iPhone, it’s the least expensive way to begin.