Hands On: iKeyboard Brings Touch Typing to the iPad [Macworld / iWorld 2012]



SAN FRANICSCO, MACWORLD / IWORLD 2012 — Before the 2012 edition of the expo wrapped yesterday, I had the opportunity to take one last pass on the exhibit hall floor to check out what the Saturday crowd was showing interest in. There was one product that grabbed my interest as a writer, especially considering how much I use my iPad for creating articles.

I’m not the best typist — not by a long shot — and I’ve used a keyboard for my iPad for longer posts over the past year. Whether it was a keyboard that was part of a case or my trusty Apple Bluetooth Keyboard, I had one with me at all times. That’s where the iKeyboard comes in.

The iKeyboard was another Kickstarter success story at Mocworld / iWorld 2012, garnering over 6 times what the required threshold was for funding. Its mission is to “addresses the one drawback of a tablet computer” which is the inability to touch type on the iPad’s virtual keyboard. Again, I’m not a fast typist — I definitely need to work on that to improve my overall productivity when writing. The iKeyboard gives me the opportunity to work on that on what is often my primary writing tool.

The apparatus is thin and when I used it to type it reminded me of the old “Pop-o-matic” dice contraption that was popular with board games (and I wasn’t the only one who felt this way). The fact I had a tactile keyboard to write with — this piece was written using it — took some getting used to on the iPad, especially considering it was attached directly to the device. It adheres to the iPad without leaving any permanent residue — and the sticky strips can be cleaned using scotch tape or a lint roller. And because I wasn’t using the screen to type with, my iPad stayed fingerprint free….which is a rarity. That came in handy when I switched to an app that didn’t require the keyboard, and with the virtual keyboard out of the way, I simply moved the iKeyboard to the top bezel of my iPad to get it out of the way as well.

When I was done using the iPad, I closed my DODOcase over top of the device with iKeyboard placed so that it didn’t even look like it was there. There was little added bulk to my case because the iKeyboard is so thin.

Admittedly, I wasn’t sure how much I’d enjoy using the iKeyboard. But once I got used to it, I rather enjoyed using it for the longer written pieces I’ve been working on. I may not use it for everything I write, but I’ll definitely slap it on for some of the opuses I need to crank out.

The iKeyboard is now available in black from the iKeyboard website and it works with both the iPad 2 and original iPad. The website currently redirects you to Amazon, and the price is listed at $35.00. There is also a white model coming soon, but as of this writing there was no availability.

  • Jonathan Ober

    with all of these keyboard ‘helpers’ I am thinking I am one of the only people that can type fast on an iPad without looking :/

  • Andrés Torrejón

    No, we are two, at least.

  • truncj

    I ordered a similar product off of kickstarter which has several advantages over the mentioned ikeyboard. The product I ordered is called a TouchFire. It stays in place using magnets in conjunction with the iPad 2’s magnets. That means easy, autoaligning without the worry of cleaning or reafixing. I’m
    not sure about the ikeyboard, but the TouchFire is designed not to fire a keystroke when your hands are resting on the keyboard, but rather only when you apply a little extra pressure. I should be getting mine in late February.

  • CharliK

    forgetting about the price, which frankly I think is a total rip, what about using things like the popups for accented letters. You lose that cause you can’t slide your fingers up. 

    And is touch typing on an iPad really that huge of a deal. THe screen is a half an inch above your fingers. This isn’t like on a regular computer where you would be bobbing your head up and down and few dozen times a minute to look for a key and then up to make follow your progress. 

  • John Howell

    I dont really see where this would be better than a cheap bluetooth keyboard. If you are a serious key pounder, then nothing is going to be as good as a regular physical keyboard. Mine only cost me NZ$70, runs on AA cell batteries, and I havnt had to chane them yet. Much more comorable than the virtual keyboard for long from typing and you still get the whole screen to view your work as the virtual keyboard does not appear.
    Yuo can also get so many cses where the keyboard just folds out of the way

  • John Howell

    Ugh, these dialogs are terrible on an ipad or iphone, I keep loosing the ability to edit text in the dialog. Awfull support for iOS from a Mac or apple based website.

  • OS2toMAC

    I guess it doesn’t help spelling.  Notice “Mocworld”. :)