This photo, from a “leaked Microsoft Research presentation,” shows a one-thumbed soft keyboard design for Windows 8. And – if you’ll excuse the pun – it certainly looks handy. It also looks dead fugly, which is why we’ll never see anything like it on the iPhone, despite the rumors of growing screens in the iPhone 5.
Much of the speculation about Apple’s rumored tall iPhone design (I’ll believe it when I see it) is based around the “fact” that a user wouldn’t be able to use a squareish 4-inch touch screen with just one hand. If any of these writers had taken the time to pick up their iPhones to test this, they would see the truth: Your thumb reaches the side of the iPhone easier than the top. In fact, even with my giant hands I would find it harder to reach all of a tall screen than a 4:3 screen.
Anyhow, this Microsoft keyboard actually looks very easy to use. The keys cluster three letters together on each and presumably use predictive algorithms to work out which letter you want, just like the iOS keyboard and RIM’s old doubled-up Blackberry keyboards.
Of course, it’ll all come down to software, but the idea of actually slanting the on-screen display to fit your thumb is a very good one. Unfortunately, like Swype, it will never be a systemwide iOption without a jailbreak.