Tag Archives: on-screen keyboard

Apple Wireless Keyboard

Apple Wireless Keyboard

Apple Wireless KeyboardThe Apple Wireless Keyboard is unquestionably the best Bluetooth keyboard that I’ve ever used, and it works beautifully with the iPhone.

The Apple Wireless Keyboard’s quality and ease of use is evident from the moment you open the box. The keyboard ships with two AA batteries, which are not only included but are actually inserted. Most new electronic devices require a few moments of hunting for the battery compartment, and then a few more moments of hunting for a tool to lever the compartment open. Not the Apple Wireless Keyboard. All you have to do is turn it on.

Pairing your iPhone and the Apple Wireless Keyboard for the first time is a breeze. There’s no need to find and press a connection button. Just turn the keyboard on, and your iPhone will do the rest.

It’s possible to touch type very quickly on the Apple Wireless Keyboard. As it’s full-sized and all the keys are the correct size, shape and position, getting up to speed takes no time at all.

The keyboard control buttons work. The volume keys adjust your iPhone’s volume, and the eject button makes your on-screen keyboard appear and disappear. The brightness keys function. The only non-functional keys are Dashboard and Expose, but that isn’t surprising as the iPhone operating system lacks those features.

You don’t even need to tell the Apple Wireless Keyboard to reconnect the next time you want to use it. Just turn it on, and watch your on-screen keyboard close automatically, when it realises you have a better way to input text.

Yes, the Apple Wireless Keyboard is larger than a folding Bluetooth keyboard. But it’s extremely thin and only weighs just over 300 grams. The lack of a number pad means the keyboard is quite compact and fits easily into a handbag.

There are only two things missing with the Apple Wireless Keyboard, as far as writing on your iPhone is concerned.

The first thing is protection. The Apple Wireless Keyboard is intended for desktop use and doesn’t come with a case. Cases made specifically for the keyboard tend to be expensive and hard to find. The easiest, cheapest and rather ill-fitting substitute would be an iPad case.

The second thing missing is a stand for your iPhone. It’s far more comfortable to write when your iPhone is propped up on a stand because the screen is harder to read when it is lying flat. Buying a separate stand or using one from another keyboard would be a good idea.

Although it lacks a stand and a case, I can definitely recommend the Apple Wireless Keyboard for writing on your iPhone. It is currently the keyboard I choose to use most.

The Apple Wireless Keyboard is US$60 or A$99. It’s available from a wide range of computer stores and also online.

Caps Lock On

Enabling Caps Lock on Your iPhone and iPad

To enable Caps Lock on your iPhone or iPad, tap on Settings.

Settings

Settings.

Tap on General.

General

General

Tap on Keyboard.

Keyboard Settings

Keyboard Settings

Turn Enable Caps Lock on.

Enable Caps Lock in Settings

Enable Caps Lock in Settings

Now you can turn on Caps Lock, when you’re using the on-screen keyboard, by tapping twice on the Shift key. When Caps Lock is enabled, the Shift key will turn blue.

Caps Lock On

Caps Lock On

Tap the Shift key again to turn Caps Lock off. When Caps Lock is off, the Shift key will be grey.

Caps Lock Off

Caps Lock Off

Arrow Keys

Why No Arrow Keys on the iPhone?

Arrow Keys

Because editing text requires the most precise cursor control of any iPhone function, arrow keys would revolutionise writing on the iPhone with the on-screen keyboard

Being a millimetre or two out when you’re poking your finger at a game sprite is rarely enough to ruin your game. But if you’ve typed wont instead of won’t, and your iPhone hasn’t autocorrected your mistake because wont is a word, sticking the apostrophe in before the W or after the O just won’t work.

iOS4, the current iPhone operating system, relies on a magnifying glass system to place a cursor in text. First, you poke at the portion of the screen where you’d like the cursor to go. Then you wait. It takes a second or so for the magnifying glass to activate, most likely so people won’t accidentally set it off every time they brush their fingers across the screen. These seconds can drag on for years when you have a lot of editing to do and you’re right in the flow of writing.

Finally, the magnifying glass appears, enlarging the text so that you can focus on dragging the cursor where you need it. Usually, the cursor overshoots the area you’re aiming for, and you have to grit your teeth, maintain pressure and drag your finger back, while feeling frustrated at all the time you’re wasting. If you accidentally release pressure, perhaps if you’re on a bus and it hits a bump in the road, the magnifying glass will disappear, and you have to go through it all again.

There’s a simple solution: arrow keys. There’s no wait with arrow keys. Simply press them and the cursor moves immediately, with character-by-character accuracy.

Unfortunately, arrow keys aren’t part of the official iPhone on-screen keyboard. There’s an app called 5-Row QWERTY Keyboard, which adds a top row of number keys to the on-screen keyboard, and a secondary keyboard with arrow keys. But it only works on jailbroken iPhones. There’s no chance of an official arrow key app, according to programmer Brice on Elance.com, when I tried to get one made in July 2010, because such an app would go against the SDK agreement.

If I’m wrong about that, and Apple has changed their minds since then, please let me know!

Until Apple comes to their senses, there is a way to get arrow keys onto your iPhone without jailbreaking your iPhone. Just use a Bluetooth keyboard.