Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Slow motion video replay shows iPad skipping key presses

The on-screen keyboard of the iPad intermittently fails to pass key presses to underlying applications, causing typing mistakes. This was the conclusion of blogger Dave Addey, who wanted to determine whether the on-screen keyboard could be a valid alternative to a physical one. Not entirely convinced that the lack of tactile feedback results in more typing mistakes, Addey took a video of himself typing some sample text using Pages.
When played back at 15.5 percent of the original speed, Addey found that three errors were his own, but another 20 errors were introduced by the on-screen keyboard. Keystrokes that were obviously registered by the keyboard were ultimately not transmitted to the app. And though eight were fixed by autocorrect, this left the resultant document looking quite different from the source. Addey says he obtained similar results when using apps such as Note and Mail, which eliminates Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) Pages app as the source of the problem.
Responding to his blog post, a couple of readers suggested that the iPad could have been programmed to ignore sliding keystrokes to reduce the problem of accidental key presses. For now, Addey has promised additional tests to test out this theory, though he points out that such a feature would be an impediment to fast typing.
The popularity of tablet devices and the adoption on Apple's iPad by some businesses means that the effectiveness of an on-screen keyboard is an increasingly relevant topic for businesses. Alternatives in the form of Bluetooth keyboards such as the portable ZAGGkeys FLEX exist, though they add to the cost and bulk of a tablet deployment and may well sway a decision to go ahead with tablets.


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