iPad Keyboard Prototype: Text editing on the iPad made easy

If you’ve ever tried editing text (repeatedly) on the iPad, it’s probably crossed your mind that there should be a more efficient method of moving the onscreen cursor and selecting the desired text. I know I have and it’s one of the primary reasons why I love using the Shift and arrow keys on the ZAGGfolio bluetooth keyboard. Well you can leave it to Youtube user danielchasehooper to provide a visual on how this could be implemented on iOS for the iPad. As shown in his prototype video, you drag one finger left/right to move the cursor (two fingers to move it faster), and hold shift while dragging to select the text. Perhaps Apple will provide similar functionality in iOS 6, but until WWDC next month (where Applecould very well announce the next iOS) we won’t know for certain if the virtual keyboard will receive any improvements and upgrades. But you can let Apple know that you wish to have this feature on the iPad. Here’s how:

From Daniel Cooper’s Youtube page:

1. Go to bugreport.apple.com, sign in and click “New Problem”
2. Set the Title to “Editing Text on iPad (duplicate of rdar://11365152)”
3. Set the Product to “iPad”, Version Number to “N/A”, Classification to “Feature (New)” and Is It Reproducible to “Not Applicable”
4. Copy the letter below and paste it in the Problem Details section then click submit

I just saw Daniel Hooper’s iPad keyboard demo and I want that for my iPad! (Check out the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGQTaHGQ04Q) Apple says the iPad is the future of the Post-PC world; if it’s going to be my primary keyboard, I want a better way to edit text! 

Tapping directly on text to move the cursor works well for small portions of text, but we don’t just write short portions of text anymore! When performing lots of edits in larger documents the direct interaction metaphor falls apart for cursor control. Even short portions of text can be painful to edit when you need to move the cursor to a precise location. Would you ever want to write a document on your computer without using the arrow keys? This is the reality iPad users face because they do not have the equivalent of arrow keys. There is a better way.

Take advantage of gestures by making a drag over the keyboard UI move the cursor. Move the cursor in word increments when dragging with two fingers. And finally, let the user select text while dragging when they hold down shift.

This developer’s definitely nailed it on the head and I can’t think of an easier way to edit text on the iPad, especially without adding extra keys on its virtual keyboard. Hopefully Apple’s got a few ideas of their own and will implement it for iOS 6.


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