back to article Apple vanishes multi-touch ancestor has finally disappeared, five years after Apple bought the company and integrated multi-touch into the iPhone, hopefully paving the way for a new kind of keyboard. Fingerworks manufactured multi-touch keyboards for those with more money than sense*, enabling the use of gestures and multi-touch interaction with …


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  1. pardonme
    Jobs Horns

    Still using it

    My Touchstream is a work of art, cost me $400 plus import duty. They come up on eBay once or twice a year for thousands of dollars. It stopped my RSI and i will never buy an apple product because of what they did to fingerworks. I loose sleep at night in the fear that the USB cable will wear out one day and I can't get a new one. My wife left me because I told her that using my Touchstream was better than sex.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    touch typing has kept me in several jobs.

    Along with the ability to stand very still while completely naked.

    In the 80s they also said that in 10 years *every* office would be a paperless office.


    BTW how does this square with MS and their "multi-touch" tables? Is it licensed? Irrelevant (as it's not a keyboard)? Or just ignored?

  3. Jimmy Floyd

    Dvorak anyone?

    I'm curious. Have any El Reg readers tried to retrain using a Dvorak keyboard? Is it possible to be 'bi-lingual' with keyboards or can the mind only focus on one layout at a time? Is it worth it?

  4. Blake St. Claire

    @Jimmy Floyd, re: Dvorak anyone

    Yes, I've tried Dvorak.

    But in the end it comes down to needing to get work done and I've never achieved the speed I have when using QWERTY No doubt that would have turned out differently if I had learned how to type using Dvorkak in the first place.

    I also use a Key Tronic Flexpro (with a DIN->PS/2 converter), and have several set aside.for when they eventually fail. But when the day comes that computers don't have PS/2 keyboard ports I'll be in trouble. Unfortunately DIN->PS/2->USB converters tend to fall down. Anyone know of a DIN->USB converter? Oh, and the lack of the Windoze key(s) (or Command key for a Mac) sometimes makes things tricky too.

  5. SuperTim

    I like qwerty.

    I like it, i can touch type and i dont want to be learning "gestures" just because some darwinian throwbacks get a bit of RSI because they are weak. Never had RSI in the MANY years i have been touch typing. I am old enough to remember how great the Microwriter was supposed to be. Some claimed 240 wpm, and sure it was fast, but i couldnt get the hang of it that easily and i never saw anyone go at 240.

    Character and word recognition is now good, but i still think a good qwerty touch typist can get the stuff on-screen faster and with fewer mistakes. Still i live in the hope that we can all just think our words on to the screen (though i am sure i would get fired if i didnt check it for insults first).

  6. pardonme
    Jobs Halo

    Pardon me

    I was wrong about Steve, here a preview of his new device!

  7. Lars Silver badge

    Some more proof needed

    "It persists to this day despite the fact that we know it causes long-term damage to the hands and lots of viable alternatives exist."

    Perhaps, but how would you prove that.

    I have a navigator with the letters in a ABC sequence, very annoying.

    So how do you get "lots of viable alternatives". Dvorak is only one.

    Also the long-term damage is rather with your shoulders and your neck than your hands and affected musicians badly a very long time ago, too.

  8. IT specialist

    A slate doesn't need a keyboard

    A slate doesn't require a keyboard. The new slate computers are basically content consumption devices. You look at movies. You read ebooks. You view things, using the touch interface.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    My patent knowledge is pretty near non existent, but from what I can see patents around multi-touch are a minefield and not as clean cut as people keep mentioning, i.e. Apple are the holders, for example, seem to have have quite a few critical to developing multi-touch keyboards.

    Anyone know of any reliable info about who has what covered?

  10. Paul Bruneau

    Qwerty myth persists

    Qwerty is not bad at all, and I dare someone to show me a scientific study that shows any other keyboard design is any better for speed or health.

  11. Tim 35


    Last I read, most of the claims of the amazingness of the Dvorak keyboard in terms of RSI and efficiency were massively overstated and not reproduced in impartial studies. Can't remember where I read it though.

    Keyboards are a hassle to squeeze on a phone but they are pretty good when you think about it. It is pretty rare that I can think of anything to type quicker than I can type it. Although that does have an alternative explanation.

    1. John Gamble

      Yep, QWERTY Inefficiency Is A Myth


      As seen in the above link, Unca Cecil also ran the qwerty myth, and then corrected himself with new information from a correspondent. This, or the paper he links to, may be what you're remembering.

  12. Froggie

    FrogPad had multi touch IP since 1998.

    You can review data entry on multi touch screens

  13. Wilson

    QWERTY Minutae

    Just a note: the author writes QWERTY is "...a layout designed purely to prevent mechanical keys jamming."

    Not so; note the top alpha-register of the QWERTY keyboard contains all the letters in the word "typewriter." The QWERTY anachronism is a marketing tool, designed to allow early typewriter salesmen to astonish customers with the speed and ease-of-use of the new machine.

  14. Jay42

    Apple iSlate prediction number #8621

    I predict that when laid out on a flat surface the iSlate will fire up a pico-projector as screen and the LCD will switch to being a keyboard.

    Remember you heard it here first!

  15. JeffShortland
    Thumb Down

    It's quite true.

    I've heard alot of hype about Dvorak, and frankly, thats what it is. urban myths and nay say for conventional layouts. the imput limitations are going to be persistant regardless of what order you set the keys in, because frankly THERE IS ONLY SO FAST THAT A HUMAN CAN REACT AND ACT TO INPUT.

    but oh well, it does sell nifty stickers for my keys.

  16. dave lawless

    other layouts are easy to learn

    When I broke my left wrist this summer I learned to use this

    in a few days

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    I switched to a dvorak layout about 6 months ago. My typing speed went up a bit and it seems to be easier on my hands/wrists. It took me about a month to really learn the layout, and I've mostly lost the ability to touch-type on qwerty (though I'm sure practice would bring that back).

    Honestly, if qwerty is comfortable/fast enough for you, there's not a lot of reason to switch - it's a case-by-case thing.

    I'm a fan of unicomp's keyboards, and they'll even customize the layouts on PS2 models for a nominal fee.

  18. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Any one know what one holds the speed record

    Only AFAIK its not a QWERTY (and its 200WPM+). Note that the Dvorak is the *only* other standard to have an Ansi standard (unlike say the Maltron) and to be available in the keyboard drivers of many (including Windows) operating systems.

    2 issues which might make a difference are how much coding you do (there is a special programmers devorak layout developed by a European programmer) and how oftne you have to switch keyboards IE moving desks or sites.

    At heart though my view is if you code a good editor should have language modes which map a standard set of commands to the structures and language currently selected. For bulk text entry I think speech would be the way to go.

  19. Hani Jabr

    How can so many know so little

    The reason why Dvorac is a faster key layout is finger movement. The most common letters are in the middle row. Next most common are clustered around the index fingers. If you can type more words without moving your fingers, you can, logically, type faster.

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