Using The Apple Wireless Keyboard With An iPad

Despite popular opinion, I do not think the iPad should only be a content consuming device. A computer as powerful as the iPad ought to be usable for content creation, and as such it is a matter of using the iPad in different modes. For me, the iPad writing mode involves a physical keyboard and the iPad oriented in landscape.

A trip to the Apple store yielded the two parts of the writing mode: an Apple Wireless Keyboard and the Incase Convertible Book Jacket case. I am using both to write this post in Evernote, and I will later publish it to the web site. Here is a picture of the iPad in what I am calling the writing mode:

As Todd pointed out, the wireless keyboard has several function keys, some of which work and others that do not. The Apple Keyboard Dock for the iPad has several specific keys for the iPad, and I think Apple or someone else should develop an app to map the function keys on the wireless keyboard to provide the same functions as the keyboard dock.

My wish is that such an app would also make the iPad more keyboard centric. I know this may sound antithetical to tablet computing, but if I have the tablet in my “writing mode” I want to do as much as possible from the keyboard rather than having to touch the screen. Simple functions such as page up and page down would be very handy, though at least copy (Command-C), paste (Command-V), and cut (Command-X) works and you can select text by holding down the Shift key and using the arrow keys.

Clearly Apple expects some people to use Bluetooth keyboards with the iPad because the capability is part of the device, so I think Apple should have spent a little time trying to make external keyboard use with the iPad the best experience possible. Still, I think this may be the best keyboard available for the iPad though it may not be as portable as the Stowaway type keyboards. (Todd has written a post about how to get the Stowaway Bluetooth keyboard to work with the iPad.) The Apple Wireless Keyboard is available from Apple online and in their retail stores and costs $69.

Publish date: May 10, 2010 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT