Alternative iPad virtual keyboards?

Started May 6, 2012 | Discussions
Cyril Catt
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Alternative iPad virtual keyboards?
May 6, 2012

Can the iPad's default touchscreen keyboard be replaced with a more conventional one, with a shift key to access numerals and punctuation?
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Cyril

Halibut
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Re: Alternative iPad virtual keyboards?
In reply to Cyril Catt, May 6, 2012

Apple's own bluetooth keyboard works very well for me.
http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop_ipad/ipad_accessories/keyboards

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seeblue
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Re: Alternative iPad virtual keyboards?
In reply to Cyril Catt, May 6, 2012

That's how I roll. I even pair the Apple Bluetooth Keyboard with my iPhone sometimes.

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Cyril Catt
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Re: Alternative iPad virtual keyboards?
In reply to seeblue, May 6, 2012

Thanks Halibut and seeblue, a bluetooth keyboard works fine at home.

But carrying a keyboard when travelling tends to negate the portability of the iPad. There are so many apps that allow the iPad to imitate all sorts of other devices, I would have thought an alternative to the default keyboard would also be a possibility.
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Cyril

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Jen Yates
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Re: Alternative iPad virtual keyboards?
In reply to Cyril Catt, May 6, 2012

It's not possible for an app to replace the default iOS keyboard. Which is a good thing as if it was possible there would be huge compatibility or usability issues (I'm an iOS developer... I know about such things)

You can use the built in software keyboard in six different configurations.

You can use a bluetooth keyboard. (I use a stowaway Sierra which is full size but folds to 1/4 of that)
You can use a wired USB keyboard (With the CCK)

That's choice enough for most, but of course not everyone. Apple doesn't try and please everyone (as it's not possible) so they go with a comprehensive set of options which you pretty much have to learn to live with.

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Cyril Catt
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Re: Alternative iPad virtual keyboards?
In reply to Jen Yates, May 7, 2012

Thank you Jen, for the advice. However I do not know how to access what you say are six different keyboard ‘configurations’. I see only three possible software keyboard layouts and 12 possible hardware keyboard layouts stated in the Settings menus, none of which appear to make any major changes in the number or size of the keys, and none of which adopt anything close to the configuration of my desktop Apple computer’s keyboard.

Whilst deferring to your knowledge of the iOS, as the iPad’s screen can imitate a piano, a guitar, a percussion set, a chessboard, a slide rule, several different calculators, etc, and convey the correct signals from touches to relevant software in order to initiate appropriate responses from the speaker or from the screen display, I am surprised that an app cannot be written to usurp the default keyboard, remap the screen to represent a different keyboard layout, and send appropriate signals to those apps which accept keyboard inputs.
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Cyril

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apcrcom
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Re: Alternative iPad virtual keyboards?
In reply to Jen Yates, Feb 23, 2013

Jen Yates wrote:

It's not possible for an app to replace the default iOS keyboard. Which is a good thing as if it was possible there would be huge compatibility or usability issues (I'm an iOS developer... I know about such things)

Wow, thats an interesting 'expert' opinion.

An IOS developer who has apparently never used Android, which has about a squillion keyboard replacement apps available without any "huge compatibility or usability issues"

The fact is that IOS is just locked down in this regard. Nothing to do with do-ability. Its completely do-able from an infrastructure standpoint. Just Apple dont allow it.

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James C. Murray
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Re: Alternative iPad virtual keyboards?
In reply to apcrcom, Feb 23, 2013

I have the Logitech Bluetooth. Keyboard that clips over the iPad screen. The result is a slightly thicker iPad otherwise it is the same dimension. The keyboard has its own battery nd has a slot that holds the iPad in an upright position, actually slightly leaning back.

I'm sure their site w ill have it. I think it works very well.

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Chuck Eklund
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Re: Alternative iPad virtual keyboards?
In reply to James C. Murray, Feb 23, 2013

James C. Murray wrote:

I have the Logitech Bluetooth. Keyboard that clips over the iPad screen. The result is a slightly thicker iPad otherwise it is the same dimension. The keyboard has its own battery nd has a slot that holds the iPad in an upright position, actually slightly leaning back.

I'm sure their site w ill have it. I think it works very well.

Ditto on the Logitech Bluetooth. Not too much bigger than the standard iPad cover. Once I developed a routine for keeping charged it was very convenient.

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seeblue
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Re: Alternative iPad virtual keyboards?
In reply to Cyril Catt, Feb 23, 2013

Also, try dictation.  I suspect hardly anyone knows it's there and nobody uses it, but it works quite well once you get the hang of it.

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Jen Yates
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Re: Alternative iPad virtual keyboards?
In reply to apcrcom, Feb 24, 2013

An IOS developer who has apparently never used Android, which has about a squillion keyboard replacement apps available without any "huge compatibility or usability issues"

There's a squillion different replacements available and you claim there's no usability issues? And that applies to everyone right?

So you end up with a squillion different devices all running a squillion different keyboards. Excessive choice does not guarantee a better user experience.

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Alpha Doug
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Re: Alternative iPad virtual keyboards?
In reply to seeblue, Feb 24, 2013

Ditto dictation.  It really does work quite well.  But there are other options.  First, I would look at iPad cases that have built in keyboards.  Most of them protect the iPad better than the simple clip on cases, and there are a few that have VERY thin and light keyboards included.  Not only that, they allow your to prop up your iPad on your lap or stomach or on a table or chair arm easily.  And it really does not add all that much bulk or weight.  Also, I read about a company that makes a little "clip on" device that "projects" a virtual keyboard on a flat surface in front of the iPad.  Don't know how it works, but it's an option.

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