I’ve started using my iPad Mini a bit more often. I like it, but typing on an iPad reminds me of tap-dancing on ice, so a couple of days ago I ordered a physical keyboard.
The keyboard, a Logitech one, arrived in the post today.
The initial experience of using it was very strange. As my fingers sought out the individual keys my left hand signalled back to my brain with the disturbing news that there was no tab key next to the “A”.
If you touch-type, like this crocodile here, you probably know how weird that feels. The tab key doesn’t get used a lot while typing but it helps the fingers suss out where the “A”, “S” and “D” keys are. Without a tab key I kept pressing “S” when I meant to press “A”. Just imagine the social embarrassment that could cause.
You mean to type: “That meal you cooked was a hit”
You actually type: “That meal you cooked was s hit”
As I got more confident and started to type more quickly, a new problem emerged which reminded me of pretty much every time I’ve tried to combine a keyboard with a tablet. This involved the fingers brushing against the iPad’s screen every now and again, causing the cursor to jump to a new random location and making a right mess of the text I was entering. Having to stop typing every five words to reposition the cursor is not my idea of fun and it probably isn’t yours either.
That particular problem seemed to abate quite quickly though. I guess my fingers adjusted their flight paths without a conscious effort on my part, diverting to new routes that allowed them to hop from key to key without hitting the screen. And the little finger on my left hand was gradually coming to terms with its new responsibilities as the “A”-typing key, and my ring finger was making friends with the “S”. I was starting to get to grips with the thing at last.
When writing I redraft sentences all the time. Very rarely do I write something and then leave it as it is. You’d never tell from reading this blog, of course, but it’s true. I’m utterly dependent on shift and arrow keys to select words, lines or entire paragraphs, then move them around or consign them to the scrapheap.
These sorts of things are long-winded and frustrating to do on the iPad’s “soft” keyboard, so I was relieved, as I started to experiment with them, to find that the new “hard” keyboard actually did them pretty well. And when I stopped typing and turned it back into a case again, I was glad to see that the keyboard did the magnetic thing and made the iPad’s screen turn off too, same as the official Apple case. My earlier annoyance with the keyboard started to fade.
I decided to write a post about the keyboard right away, before I became accustomed to its ways and forgot how it had felt in these first five minutes of use. And I thought, maybe I’ll type the post with the new keyboard, to really put it through its paces. Then I thought, life’s too short. So this post has been typed on a “real” keyboard.
Sorry, little keyboard! You’re good – but not that good.