The thing about typing on a touch screen is that you can’t feel the keys, so you really can’t comfortably touch-type; no matter how familiar you are with your device. Believe me, I know. I’ve owned an iPad since 2010. The keyboard is always positioned the same, no matter what device model or operating system. But, I still have to look down at the on-screen keyboard if I want to be sure I’m typing the right letters.
Accessory maker Tactus takes the concept of a touch screen keyboard overlay one step further with the Phorm case for iPad mini, which includes a screen protector with tabs that literally rise onto the screen at the user’s command.
The case’s screen protector has a number of tabs at the base of the portrait mode that lay flat in the resting position. Using a switch on the back side of the case, users activate the tabs, which rise up like bubbles on the screen.
The idea is that the little tabs that appear will allow you to touch-type more naturally, like the way you do on a traditional keyboard. The tabs help the user identify where the keys are so they don’t have to keep looking down to make sure they are touching the right keys.
Of course, it isn’t exactly the perfect solution. Engadget points out that you won’t be able to rest your fingers on the tabs the way you would when typing on a traditional keyboard. The tabs are more like a guidepost for your fingers.
Another problem with the Phorm case is the cost. You can preorder it for $99 or purchase it from retailers later for $149. It is only available on the iPad mini at this time. For that price, you can get yourself a pretty nice folio keyboard case that actually works more like a traditional one, resting fingers and all.
Still, the technology is pretty cool. I like the idea of a screen cover that raises and lowers a keyboard overlay at my behest.