Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 25th Oct 2012 14:52 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless When Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone, one of its most prominent and most controversial features was the on-screen keyboard. In as world dominated by devices with physical keyboards, it was seen as a joke, something that could never work. We know better by now, of course, but while I still prefer the physical feel and clicks of a real keyboard, a recent new endeavour of mine has made me appreciate the on-screen keyboard in a whole new way.
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leos
Member since:
2005-09-21


Touch-screen keyboards were merely considered inferior to tactile physical keyboards for serious/lengthy input, as they are considered to this day.


Were talking about mobile devices here, and the device landscape proves that onscreen keyboards have won out compared to miniature physical ones. Fact is, iOS was the System that made that interface popular and usable with good autocorrect

Reply Parent Score: 3

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

"Were talking about mobile devices here, and the device landscape proves that onscreen keyboards have won out compared to miniature physical ones."

On something tablet sized, I still prefer a miniature keyboard to a touchscreen - just my opinion. Never underestimate the usefulness of tactile feedback!

"Fact is, iOS was the System that made that interface popular and usable with good autocorrect"

It was certainly a great market for apple to get into, but even if they hadn't I think the proliferation of modern tablet devices was quite inevitable given the decreasing costs of the technology. Technology's funny that way... some people would say Bill Gates was essential in bringing computing to the masses, but I think he capitalized on a market that was going to grow with or without microsoft. If microsoft hadn't been most popular, it'd just be one of the other players like apple, amiga, atari, xerox, etc. Alot of them would have been able to fit the "bill" ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2

leos Member since:
2005-09-21

On something tablet sized, I still prefer a miniature keyboard to a touchscreen - just my opinion. Never underestimate the usefulness of tactile feedback!


Totally agree. Given the choice I choose a full size physical keyboard anyday over an on-screen one. I was thinking more about "thumb" size keyboards.

It was certainly a great market for apple to get into, but even if they hadn't I think the proliferation of modern tablet devices was quite inevitable given the decreasing costs of the technology. Technology's funny that way... some people would say Bill Gates was essential in bringing computing to the masses, but I think he capitalized on a market that was going to grow with or without microsoft. If microsoft hadn't been most popular, it'd just be one of the other players like apple, amiga, atari, xerox, etc. Alot of them would have been able to fit the "bill" ;)


For sure. So many examples in history where a technology was independently invented in two different areas just because conditions for it were right.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Priest Member since:
2006-05-12

I don't remember a single Garmin GPS that used a physical keyboard. Most of the people I know who traveled at all owned a GPS with a touch screen keyboard.

It was the standard interface for small portable GPS's before mobile phones started doing it because they had similar requirements of a small device with a large screen and the ability to input data through a full keyboard.

All you can say about phones is they improved on it but even then T-9 for instance existed since the 90's and now works with a soft keyboard is all.

Reply Parent Score: 3

leos Member since:
2005-09-21

I don't remember a single Garmin GPS that used a physical keyboard. Most of the people I know who traveled at all owned a GPS with a touch screen keyboard.


Of course Apple didn't invent the on-screen keyboard. They just made it not suck. The on-screen keyboards on GPS units were horrible (and still are actually). Apple made it not suck by:
- using a capacitive screen. Touch screen keyboards on a resistive screen are completely unworkable because you need too much pressure to activate keys.
- Making it fast and responsive. You can't type quickly if the keyboard can't keep up (again a huge issue on GPS units).
- Making a powerful autocorrect system. This allowed people to type roughly and still get the correct output. I make mistakes on probably 20-40% of the words I type, but the autocorrect fixes the vast majority (some of course it screws up).

All you can say about phones is they improved on it but even then T-9 for instance existed since the 90's and now works with a soft keyboard is all.


Same as with any technology. There is not a technology on this planet that is not building on something previous.

Reply Parent Score: 3