With just a bit of practice, I found that typing on my iPad's "glass keyboard" didn't seem "that" different from using a more physical input device. (I can suppose that for those who've grown accustomed to entering short notes and posts on the keyboard of a smart phone, there might be that much less of a deal to be made about something larger.) With a small collection
of text editors
and a Dropbox account, I can "pat out" quick-and-dirty rough drafts and transfer them to my computer. (This might not be that different from how the TRS-80 Model 100
was used by many. I suppose the Model 100's keys had more "travel" than indeed just about any portable computer keyboard available these days, but then in at least some circumstances I can see more than eight lines of forty characters each on an iPad's screen, and "filling the memory" doesn't seem to be an issue the way it might be with just thirty-two kilobytes to work with...)
However, if there was one thing that could slow me down, it was how there are only four punctuation marks available on the iPad's regular keyboard. To keep from sounding like one of those science fiction cultures that never use contractions, I'd have to reach down, call up the "punctuation keyboard," and type an apostrophe. To type any other punctuation mark, I also have to "put that keyboard away" once I'm done with it; adding HTML tags to a comment can be pretty involved. After a while, I began looking for alternatives. Considering keyboards sized to fit into an "iPad cover" kind of cramped, I bought a very cheap black-plastic Bluetooth keyboard (with a suspicious resemblance to the layout of the more solid Apple Bluetooth keyboard of the time) from a local surplus store; it was easy enough to carry it as well on a typical sort of day in a regular messenger bag. However, putting the batteries back in the keyboard and getting it connected did always seem to be just a bit of a production. I then managed to find a "third-party software keyboard" that was actually a "stylus input area
," which at least brought thoughts of how these "keyboardless devices" were "once" supposed to work; however, writing on the screen seems just a little more involved than writing with a pen on paper. Doing a bit more searching, I happened on a software keyboard
that squeezes skinny punctuation keys in around the regular screen keys; it was possible to get used to it, but I did get to thinking there was a slight air of lessened aesthetics about it, and that there could be something to "leaving keys out to fit in limited space" after all.
There were enough options to that new keyboard, though, that in exploring it I began to pick up on how you could "tap and hold" some keys and have extra characters pop up, the way I already knew to produce accented letters. All of a sudden, though, I was thinking about just where the apostrophe and punctuation mark are on the punctuation keyboard, and if there might be a trick to the regular iPad keyboard after all... Switching back, I found I really could hold down the comma to get an apostrophe, and hold down the period to get a quotation mark as well. This feels useful enough that I can wonder if it was my fault I hadn't seen anyone else notice it until now, but then there's always the chance someone else might yet hit on this tip for the first time here.