I am the future of technology journalism.

Apparently the iPad’s onscreen keyboard is ugly. And terrible.

In Apple on April 5, 2010 at 7:41 am

I don’t have an iPad yet, because I have better things to do than throw my money away on a smartphone under a magnifying glass, but I was reading about it — because the cool kids in the media have decided that it will be a success, no matter what actual consumers may have to say, such that it’s basically impossible not to read about it if you’ve got your eyes open — and Gizmodo has an interesting bit about the actual usage experience of using the on-screen keyboard on the thing.

The gist is that the keyboard is a failure of design and execution, and the recommendation to do some of the things the device is supposedly designed to do is to purchase an expensive accessory. Actually, the suggestion is to buy one more than even Apple suggests, which is pretty ridiculous.

The keyboard is two small for one-handed typing (such as you can do on the iPhone), but two small for proper two-handed typing (speaking as a person who detests laptop keyboards for their lack of size, owwwww), so it’s in a weird nether-region that suggests that the real purpose of the iPad is, shockingly, to go to the iTunes store and buy movies, music and apps, which is to say, unceasing and expensive consumption. This is in stark contrast to the apparent design ethos of the as-yet-unannounced Courier from Microsoft, which looks built for people who actually want to do something with the devices they own other than vegetate in front of a different screen.

While we’re talking about flaws, look at this:

This is so awkward, so ugly, that if you’d told me that this was actually just a crappy mockup created by a pimply-faced kid, one that, were they ever to see it, Apple designers would violently void their bowels on, rather than actually being the work of a company known for a transcendant design sense, I’d have believed you without any hesitation. What a hack job.

According to Gizmodo, the keyboard is largest and easiest to type on in landscape mode; in portrait mode the virtual keyboard is more appropriately sized, but the “too big but too small” issue is exacerbated so much that the device is hardly usable.

I’m not going to be alarmist and suggest that Apple’s lost their touch on this one, even though I could and if I did I’d be right, but really, it shows where their interests lay, and it shows also what they think of their customers, and about the contempt they have for you all. Here’s a hint about the mindset: the only thing they want you to do is use the iPad to purchase more stuff; they don’t care what you think.

Virtual keyboards are dumb. Simple. Just because you can put on under a piece of glass doesn’t mean you should, and it doesn’t mean doing so improves the user experience in any way.

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  1. Two or too? I’d think it is TOO big for one handed typing but TOO small for two handed typing.

    I buddy of mine bought one for his wife. I think it’s pretty cool but it is a $500 device for consuming media but very limited in its ability to actually be productive.

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