The Apple iPad has a surprisingly good on-screen keyboard which you can use to type at a reasonable speed thanks to nice large keys and a decent layout. But the keyboard doesn’t provide any tactile feedback, which means if you’re not looking at the screen it can be hard to hit the right key, and that can slow you down if you’re a touch typist. Enter the iKeyboard.
Basically the iKeyboard is a plastic frame designed to latch on to an iPad and provide a physical frame over the top of the virtual keyboard so that you can feel the keys as you type. There are no batteries because the iKeyboard doesn’t require electricity like a Bluetooth keyboard.
It’s not the kind of thing you’re going to want to whip out of your bag every time you enter a URL in the web browser, but if you plan to sit down for some serious writing, it could help quite a bit. I imagine this sort of thing could come in handy if you’re taking notes in a class or meeting, or if you’re writing the great American novel.
I can also see some problems with the iKeyboard. What happens, for instance, if Apple pushes out a software update that changes the position or size of the keys? One of the benefits of a virtual on-screen keyboard is also that the keys can change depending on context, with different keys showing up when you’re using different programs. The iKeyboard might not be able to work with some applications that use different key layouts.
The iKeyboard isn’t a real device just yet. The designer has created a KickStarter project to turn the idea into reality. If the $4,000 goal is reached, anyone who pledges $30 or more will get a first generation product.