Using an iPad Software Keyboard Full Time

I still can’t do an em-dash with the software keyboard.

On November 1st, I wrote about how Apple’s new Keyboard Folio doesn’t make a lot of sense for the money, and I made a small note at the end of that post:

> Fundamentally, typing on a slab of glass should be possible on the slab of glass.

Shortly after publishing, I cleaned off my desk, and put away all my keyboards. I’ve been using only the software keyboard on my 12.9” iPad Pro since then. Let’s see how that’s been going.

## First, Why ?

Ideally you don’t have to carry around or use a keyboard, right? Ideally the *device itself* is enough for everything you need to do. Which means you need to be able to input text without an accessory. So you either dictate everything or use the software keyboard. I started by testing the software keyboard, because I wanted to know where and how it fails.

## Speed and Accuracy

Going into this I knew it would work, because many before me have done this. Hell, there’s been entire novels written on smartphones, so surely a bigger keyboard on the 12.9” would be just fine. What I was surprised by was the accuracy and speed with which I could type. It’s not faster or better than other methods, but it’s a far cry from being the deal breaker I assume it would be — it has lasted me 19 days now.

For speed, I’ve found that I am fast enough, but not nearly as fast as I am on a hardware keyboard. That said, it’s only been two and a half weeks, and I am sure I will get faster. When I’m really not thinking about it, I can move quite quickly.

Accuracy is the big issue, or I assumed it would be. Finger placement is the hardest part of typing on the glass. You have to trust the system, you have to keep going even when you see an error, because there’s a really good chance the system will fix that error for you. All in all, I am not sure I am any less accurate than I am on the Smart Keyboard cover, it’s just different errors than before.

Which really brings me to the big part of typing on the software keyboard: confidence. You have to be confident in where your fingers are landing and with the system itself. If you slightly miss, that’s ok because the system will likely fix it for you. You also need to not look at your fingers and trust where they are and that they know what they are doing. Which is why I think this only works on the 12.9” model as the smaller iPad models don’t have a good enough layout for most people to be able to use them how they need to be used.

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