My iPad Experience with a Bluetooth keyboard
On an impulse, I decided to buy the Bluetoothed Apple Wireless keyboard for use with the iPad. I felt there were times where I would want to create content without wanting to pull out my laptop and still have the flexibility of putting the keyboard away to enjoy the usual benefits of the iPad.
I'm sitting in the middle seat of a six-hour flight home and thought, "this would be a good time to give this a try"— especially with blog post ideas popping to mind.
As it turns out, the experience is quite nice. It, of course, takes up much less room than the full laptop which is quite handy when in an economy seat and the person in front of you feels the need to recline. Typing on an actual keyboard feels more comfortable than trying to peck away at the onscreen keyboard, too.
I'm impressed that many of the keyboard hot keys like brightness, volume, and iPod controls continue to work as you'd expect them to—just like on a regular computer.
When the new iOS4 comes out, I'd love to see greater integration including Command-Tab support that could bring up the pop-up doc to switch applications. It would also be handy if Command-Q brought you back to the home screen. Likewise, applications should recognize the keyboard and tie in extra shortcuts. Command-T in Safari would be handy for opening a new "tab"—at least in the way that Mobile Safari handles tabs. Or hitting Command-N to create a new note in Notes or document in Pages.
The most surprising thing was context switching. I found myself jumping back between applications such as Notes and Things and having to interact with the touch screen to do so. Switching between the keyboard and the touch interface felt comfortable. It felt natural. So much so, that I wonder when Apple will release touch screen MacBooks.
The only hiccup to using the keyboard with the iPad on a more regular basis will be having a convenient way of propping up the iPad while typing on the keyboard—you know, like a laptop. On the plane, I had the iPad resting against the seat in front of me and was prevented from sliding by the keyboard. In researching options, the Apple iPad Case seems like a decent accessory to add to the list, with its ability to rest upright or just slightly inclined. Time to add something else to the wish list.
Having used the keyboard and iPad together for a couple hours now, I believe that I will end up using my iPad even more than I did before—which was already quite a bit. And on the upside, maybe I'll even blog more!