back to article iPad typos are Apple's fault, not yours - new claim

The iPad's soft keyboard has been caught failing to pass key presses to applications, introducing errors and letting the typist take the fall. The iPad's on-screen keyboard indicates a successful press by turning the key grey, but Reg reader Dave Addey filmed his typing in slow motion and established that a decent proportion …

COMMENTS

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  1. zb

    no, no, no ...

    This is a feature.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Actually it is made on purpose (i.e. a feature), and I've just tested it.

      Here's how:

      Press any of the keys, it turns grey, now keep holding down your finger and slide over to a neighbouring key. Now release it. The whole key press is ignored.

      You need to press *and release* the virtual key while your finger is still over it for it to be passed on the application.

      That's what's happening in the video, he's typing quickly and moving to the next key without raising the finger enough from the previous press.

      This may be some feature to avoid spurious keypresses.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not just for "Spurious keypresses"

        It's not just "to avoid spurious keypresses", it's the way the whole iOS works!

        You press something, but then notice it's not what you wanted - by seeing the wrong thing turning grey - so you just slide the finger off and it's not registered.

        It's iOS's cancellation action. Works like that for all UI buttons.

        1. g e
          WTF?

          But if it looks like a keyboard

          It should behave like one.

          We've had n-key rollover since the early eighties in keyboards. Perhaps someone has a patent on it that Apple cant buy and refuses to pay for.

        2. dssf

          Hopefully there is no patent on that because...

          My android-based phone behaves similarly. Also, on regular computers, decades ago, i learned that if I click something inadvertently, I could just hold the press, and drag it off in any directionand then release, and that way that click and release would not register as a normal click and release.

          I thought it was a flaw or an annoyance, and then it became second nature.

          But, in my HTC EVO 4G, a REAL annoyance (which I don't know about in iOS) is when a phone call is being detected by my phone and suddenly while typing text messages, i get crappy laggy response, jittery/frozen keyboard action. If surfing, sometimes the screen/page will fail to stretch, of stop in mid-stretch.

          Lately, the dolphin browser would just crash for no apparent reason (it doesn't even do the "oops" recovery thing anymore).

          So, I suspect, as you do, PA, that this really is a feature. I don't know whether it's pointed out in the user manual or any iOS for Dummies books, but if not, it should be told (in books and in the UI and in How-Tos, etc.), not be found as an easter egg thing.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          In Pages, if you press D, slide off to F and hold F for a few seconds then release, you get a D registered. If you do the same but much more quickly then you get no key registered. This suggests to me that it is an anti-typo feature, not a 'cancellation' feature.

          The same happens in other apps but, strangely, the minimum delay varies. In the Google search bar in Safari, for example, the delay period is very short compared with Pages.

      2. Jamie Kitson

        I think this is supported by the fact that the very same two mistakes are made in the short passage: "I have" twice comes out as "iave", though the first one is corrected to "image".

      3. Ceolach
        Alert

        press and release

        Watching Buddy's slo-mo two-finger typing, one can see that he is occasionally still pressing one 'key' with his right digit while hitting the next 'key' with his left.

        Also, the AutoCorrect gave several reasonable choices before settling on "image" in the first line. I have heard many people blame AutoCorrect for mistakes when, instead of taking a half a moment to select the appropriate choice offered,they have just plodded on hoping that their device somehow knows which of a dozen similar words they had intended to type.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Ceolach - Damn it, no!

          I don't want that bloody device to offer me anything. I just want it to let me type what I want, damn it!

          I had a brutal contact with this idiotic feature when I tried to add a contact on my shiny new dumb phone. I had to fight with it every time I wanted to add a letter. I managed to get rid of this very "helpful" feature but that was not that easy thanks to an obscure settings menu.

          Progress is good but I'm currently tri-lingual and switching to any of the three languages prior to typing anything is not funny. Believe me, there is nothing more stupid than a phone trying to be smart.

      4. ElReg!comments!Pierre

        Re: "it's a feature"

        If so, it's a feature that introduces mistypes. So either the UI is well-designed, but poorly implemented (dropping registered keypresses) or it's well implemented but poorly designed (using button-like behaviour for a keyboard). In any case it makes the device less usable so it IS a flaw in my opinion. The difference between Apple's view and mine is that I somehow came to expect the device I use to behave as I want it to, whereas Apple expects the user to behave as the device requires them to ("you're holding it wrong", anyone?). Then again, as one commenter in the original article pointed out, the problem disappears when you use a 3rd-party virtual keyboard so that's "not that big of a deal", as someone would say. It would also suggest that the "problem" -be it a deliberate choice or a technical flaw- resides with Apple's own keyboard. The button-like behaviour (if that's the reason) is probably aimed at the keyboard-impaired, who are no doubt the core market for a virtual touchscreen keyboard. It should still be possible to switch between button- and keyboard-like behaviours, in my opinion, but that would be giving the user a choice. It might be confusing for most, frightening even; Apple's motto always have been "don't confuse users by giving them a choice". Not always without merit; it certainly worked well for them to date.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          But Pierre, as you ALWAYS say in your comments you'd never buy Apple anyway. Not surprised you don't agree with Apple's view on this occasion.

          However if - after hell froze over - you'd consider the alternative option, accepting all keypresses, maybe you'd find that on a capacitative screen it would introduce even more mistypes, the worse kind of mistypes because autocorrect works best with missing letters, not lots of extra ones.

          But no, that's would be agreeing with an Apple design decision and obviously that's not an option for you.

          The good news is this won't ever be a problem for you. Just stick to your UUCP and your text terminal (hopefully VT100 compatible, I recommend the Digital VT220) and you'll be fine.

          1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

            AC Friday 6th January 2012 21:30 GMT

            >But Pierre, as you ALWAYS say in your comments you'd never buy Apple anyway. Not surprised you don't agree with Apple's view on this occasion.

            I never say never, and the main reason why I don't buy Apple is that their kit is overpriced. I still get to play a lot with their stuff, as the missus is -would you believe it- a fangirl.

            >on a capacitative screen it would introduce even more mistypes

            Probably not, no. As I mention, at least one person solved the problem by using a 3rd-party virtual keyboard.

            >autocorrect works best with missing letters, not lots of extra ones.

            [citation needed]

            In any case, autocorrect is a pain in the nether regions for people who know more than 500 words. And as soon as you're multilingual it is completely unusable. Most people I know have it turned off at all time.

            >But no, that's would be agreeing with an Apple design decision and obviously that's not an option for you.

            I actually agree with most of Apple's design decisions. They are good at design, there's no denying that.

            >Just stick to your UUCP and your text terminal

            Will do. I still need a graphical workstation for the final steps of my image processing workflow though. I am looking at a NeXTcube, I hear they dropped in price a bit.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              !

              > Probably not, no. As I mention, at least one person solved the problem by using a 3rd-party virtual keyboard.

              > [citation needed]

              So a comment in a blog claiming he solved the problem using a 3rd party virtual keyboard is sufficient proof for you, even when the keyboard he mentions has terrible reviews.

              However you need a citation when another comment says autocorrect works better at fixing missing letters rather than extraneous ones? Bit of a biased double standard there. But I suggest you give it a try on your missus's iDevice.

              ps: You don't really want an old NeXTCube, get an old Sun workstation instead. They're clearly better for your graphical requirements, albeit noisier. Most Sun keyboards are superb too.

              1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

                Re: !

                >So a comment in a blog claiming he solved the problem using a 3rd party virtual keyboard is sufficient proof for you, even when the keyboard he mentions has terrible reviews.

                >However you need a citation when another comment says autocorrect works better at fixing missing letters rather than extraneous ones? Bit of a biased double standard there.

                Ah nope. 1 citation vs zero, I still win. No double standard here.

      5. Stupidscript
        Thumb Down

        On Purpose Doesn't Make It Good

        The keyboard should behave like a keyboard. Period.

        That means letting the user create typos because they pressed the wrong key, not assuming that a tiny slide of the finger is indicating the user's desire to cancel their keypress.

        Just consider the number of times you type something and wish you could take back that last keypress because you hit the wrong key. In my case, it happens about once every 1,000 characters, and it's easily corrected within a second or two.

        If normal keyboard behavior had been in effect, then the video would reflect 3 typos, as made by the typist, not 20 typos, 8 auto-corrected, that will take many more seconds to correct, providing the UI lets them be corrected and doesn't continue to introduce typos on his behalf.

        While most Apple consumers might be too clumsy to hit the characters they intend to hit, most of the rest of the world doesn't have that particular developmental issue, or has the ability to recognize and repair their own fat-finger typos.

        Its perfectly simple ... bad UI engineering. Period.

      6. Dave Addey

        That’s certainly a possibility, and it’s something I’d considered during my testing. The behaviour you describe is the standard UIButton control behaviour on iOS, and it may be that the on-screen keyboard is made up of a set of UIButtons. However, this button-like behaviour – sliding off a key to negate a keypress – wouldn’t be appropriate for fast typing, which is much more about the initial impact on a key, rather than the subsequent movement.

        If this *is* the cause of the missed keypresses, then it’s a mistake to use this kind of touch handling approach on a keyboard. Unlike a considered button press, typing is all about moving speedily around the keyboard. To put it anther way: if every keypress registered on the keyboard in my video *had* been used, my document would have had fewer mistakes.

        Unfortunately, without a high-framerate video camera, it’s very hard for me to find out if this is the likely cause. Personally I’m not convinced – my typing style is very pecky – but it’s certainly worth considering.

  2. D@v3

    i've actually found typing on my ipad to be pretty painless. not so easy to do while holding the thing (which itself has been helped by the ability to split the keyboard), but prop it up (using the case as a stand) and i can knock out a pretty decent speed / accuracy. Not as good as an old style keyboard, but that's not really that surprising. Is it?

    1. spencer

      It's a battle

      Anecdotal evidence from one person Vs the opposite claims from someone in the comments.

      Who to believe?!?

      1. amanfromearth

        ..

        I like Anecdotal evidence from one person Vs the opposite claims from comments, but which is best?

        There's only one way to find out...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          A fight to the death?

  3. Dotter

    Isn't it possible that this is a fault with this particular iPad?

    If you're going to test something like this, you should at least perform it on a larger scale to rule out possible problems like that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No!

      This is Apple and any excuse to knock 'em down must be taken. Don't bother with all that logical processes nonsense, the press will only clip all that out when they print anyway so why bother?!

    2. James Howat

      Although I haven't waded through the video, if I'm reading the article and the summary right, the issue is that the hardware registers the screen press, the onscreen keyboard recognises the key activation, but the keypress isn't passed to the application.

      So I don't think it can be a fault, except in the software.

      Can someone with an iPad confirm - does the greying of the button that the author refers to happen when the key is lifted, or just when initially touched? Is the problem that the finger presses the key, but is sliding off before the press is lifted?

      1. Si 1

        @James Howat

        I've just had a go on my iPad and the greying occurs when you touch the key, rather than after lifting. I wasn't able to get my iPad to miss any keys, but it was only a quick test. I've definitely noticed missed keys in the past, but that's usually when there's something installing in the background and the key doesn't grey in those situations.

        I did notice that if you touch a key and then slide your finger off it, it won't count that as a key press. This makes sense as touching a control then sliding your finger off it without releasing is the standard way of telling iOS you touched that control in error and don't want to complete the action.

        So it's possible this guy is sliding his finger a bit too much before lifting off a key. Ideally he needs to film with two cameras, with the second one horizontal to the screen so we can see if he's sliding or lifting his fingers when it goes wrong. In some cases it did look like he might have dragged his finger a bit when it went wrong, but from the top-down perspective it's virtually impossible to tell.

        Personally, I don't like typing on my iPad if I can help it. The lack of tactile feedback just makes it much slower to use, although I personally think the auto-correction is generally very good. It seems to get better with every major new iOS update and is getting scarily good at interpreting utter nonsense words into what I actually meant to type.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fingers must be made of the wrong stuff

    Better have them replaced.

    Gummi Bears work well, apparently.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Thumbs Down?

      I always type with thumbs down. That can't be the answer

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        I LOL'd

        1. French Tickler
          Trollface

          Well I hope you cleaned up afterwards.....

  5. lglethal Silver badge
    Joke

    Ahem...

    "El Reg contacted Apple, which had not responded at the time of publication"...

    And unless a single recent communication is to be taken as a significant change to a long lasting policy, I expect we will have to wait until moments before the official news conference of the long awaited Ski-Resort Hell (complete with frozen over ice-skating rink) before El Reg receives a response from Apple on this topic!

    1. Znort666
      Thumb Up

      Dagnabit!!!

      Beat me to it...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If you read past articles hardly anyone ever replies to El Reg "at the time of publication". Reg hacks probably give it 5 minutes before posting the article.

      The usual practice is to publish an update after.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        @Metavisor

        If you read past articles, Apple _never_ reply to El Reg. Possibly because articles concerning Apple are not just parrotted press releases, but independently sourced and written, and Apple don't seem to like this, because it damages their reality distortion field.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Loyal Commenter

          Well that's false isn't it.

          Apple has in fact replied on several occasions to The Register, including twice just in the last 30 days:

          http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/12/30/apple_statement/

          http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/12/19/apple_supplier_factory_explosion/

          Replying to an article like this would need referral to Apple's engineering team and some investigation, like I said I doubt El Reg would wait the time necessary to get a proper answer.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "One can speculate that the keys are deliberately dropped to maintain the smooth performance of the iPad, or perhaps they're just lost in transit."

    Or they are so brief they are considered to be "noise" beneath the threshold and thus dropped on purpose

    Maybe some background into how capacitative screens work and how much filtering goes on would be of benefit to understand this.

    But like any device you eventually get a feel for how reacts and adapt to that. I regularly type one page letters with far less errors than the example in the video, as the post above it gets to be pretty painless.

    1. Oliver Mayes

      If they're so brief that the iDevice is ignoring them as noise then why does it highlight the pressed keys as normal?

      Also, what are you typing your one-page letters on, a normal keyboard? There are only three errors made in that video and when using a touchscreen keyboard that offers no tactile feedback that seems to be a perfectly normal error rate.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Maybe its the bit of software that sits between the keyboard and the app?

        Something like Carrier IQ?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Right tool for the job

    Interesting anecdotal evidence. I would have thought that writing anything vaguely 'long form' would be better suited to a detachable keyboard, or a proper laptop, however others have not noticed the problem... Might just be the way he types.

    If it really is because of the cramped screen, as mentioned in the article, one can only wonder what typing is like on a 7 inch screen tablet. A comparison would be interesting.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
      Holmes

      7 Inch tablet?

      I don't have this sort of problem using the on-screen keyboard on my HTC Desire, where the individual keys are smaller than my fingertips, so I fail to see how a touchscreen that is an several times the size can have such problems purely attributable to the size.

    2. Blank Reg

      Actually it's not as bad as you'd think. On my playbook I can touch type but I tend to use less fingers than with a real keyboard. On a real keyboard I can do 80+ wpm, on the playbook it's more like 20-30, no worse than on my Galaxy tab. I've never noticed a key press go missing on either, all errors are my own.

      But touch keyboards are never going to be as good as a real keyboard. Not only is there no tactile feedback but it's also trivially easy to press the wrong key. And then we have the nonstandard layout from one device to another and the need to switch mode to get to numbers and symbols.

  8. AndrueC Silver badge
    Joke

    They are typing it the wrong way.

    1. auburnman
      Trollface

      Damn

      I was hoping no-one had posted "You're typing it wrong" yet.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    iPad

    It just wrks.

    1. AdamT

      i'd have gone with ...

      ... "it just woks" myself. But then I think "wok" is a funny word anyway. Crazy word, crazy cookware.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      @ the downvoters

      Get a sense of humour, you boring cnts.

      1. Ben Tasker Silver badge
        Joke

        Should have more downvotes

        But the iPad users can't seem to get the press to register

        Sorry cheap-shot, I know!

  10. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

    Noise / debouncing

    > Or they are so brief they are considered to be "noise" beneath the threshold and thus dropped on purpose

    Then surely the device shouldn't have acknowledged them in the first place.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      By acknowledge you mean changing the key's colour? Well yes, if it didn't change the colour right away it would give the impression that the UI was sluggish.

      It's difficult to do both rejection and give real time feedback, compromises have to be made.

      1. ChrisC

        You really believe that providing immediate but occasionally inaccurate feedback to the user is preferable to providing them accurate but occasionally laggy feedback?

        If the key colour is changing, this should only ever mean that the keypress has been accepted as valid and passed onto the underlying app, never that the system thinks you might have pressed the key but a split-second later decides that, oh no, actually you didn't.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @ChrisC

          That's of course your opinion. Maybe from a user interface perspective there's a good reason to grey the key before accepting it as valid and passed on. I'm not going to say either way without testing.

          But the problem is actually another, as two posters in comments above already have found.

          If you press the key it greys out, but if you then slide the finger off to the side without releasing it the whole keypress isn't recorded.

          Not sure why it's done this way - again would need to test both approaches - but to me that explains what's being seen in the video.

  11. John Angelico
    Coat

    Reminds me of the stories from the earliest typewriter days

    When the first mechanical typewriters were invented, competent typists could jam the mechanisms with the speed of their work.

    Therefore Mr Scholes invented the QWERTY keyboard layout to avoid jamming the key mechanism. A partially intended consequence was that typists were slowed down and thus rendered less efficient than they might otherwise have been.

    Now we have a sub-optimal keyboard layout represented on screen, but superficial factors appear to necessitate dropping of keystrokes. Argh - it's deja vu all over again!

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Coat

      "Now we have a sub-optimal keyboard layout represented on screen, but superficial factors appear to necessitate dropping of keystrokes. Argh - it's deja vu all over again!"

      Obvious solution. Randomise the keyboard layout after each keystroke. That should slow down those pesky typists!

  12. rurwin

    The keyboard does register the key each time, but sometimes it does not get into the document. So it is not that the keyboard is treating a key-press as noise. My guess would be that a buffer is too short or there is a race condition.

    It is difficult to imagine a situation in which this could be an isolated hardware problem unique to a single iPad.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A race condition would show up differently on the iPad vs iPad 2 given differences in CPU configuration and performance.

      Not sure which of the iPads was used for the video.

    2. Tom Stephenson
      Coat

      It's really N key roll over that is missing

      If you press a key, then another (while the first is still pressed) and the system sees both keystrokes, that is 2 key roll over. If you can press three keys and the system sees all three keys, that's N key roll over.

      Real keyboards debounce the keystrokes *and* provide N key roll over. You should on a mechanical keyboard be able to slide you finger across the row and not miss a keystroke. But you will miss keystrokes if you have only 2 key roll over.

  13. Francis Fish
    Happy

    I think predictive also means it guesses what key you might be typing

    I remember reading somewhere that it predicts what you might be typing next and makes some keys have a larger hit area (without changing the display).

    Maybe the problem's with that algorithm?

  14. Rob Morton

    Anecdotal?

    "You keep using that word. I do no think it means what you think it means" Watch the video. Specifically watch as "image" ends up on the screen. You see the "I" flash then the space bar flash very briefly but is not passed to the app then the "h" flashes and again is not passed to the app. That's not anecdotal.

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge
      Joke

      I couldn't watch the video

      So it's anecdotal evidence to me

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      Anecdotal

      It is anecdotal, with video of his experience while he's using it. Other people are not reporting the same problem.

      Until there is a definitive test showing the problem to be systemic, it remains anecdotal.

      From the 3rd definition on dictionary.com

      3.

      based on personal observation, case study reports, or random investigations rather than systematic scientific evaluation: anecdotal evidence.

  15. JeffyPooh
    Pint

    iOS's autocorrect is piss-poor

    It highlights the misspelled or unknown word in pink, and then you have about 142 milliseconds to react before your next keystroke touches down and it takes that inevitability as approval to make the randomly-insane auto-replacement. Typically this happens most often with extremely long words, thereby making each instance a pain.

    Next issue is that it appears to sometimes be unaware of its own cursor position. It'll make auto-changes (e.g. auto uppercase in the middle of a word correction) that can only be explained by some code segment being cursor-position-oblivious.

    These glitches stand out because most of their code is pretty slick. Try the PlayBook soft keyboard for comparison...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      http://fyouautocorrect.com/

      1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge
        Pint

        Thanks for the link

        ROTFLMAO - I'm glad I own a phone with real keyboard :D

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm with those that haven't noticed a problem, and I've typed some relatively long documents - a few pages rather than a few paragraphs without any real problem.

  17. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Joke

    Maybe the BOFH installed his own kind of predictive texting on this one

    I remember there was an episode where he replaced the standard spell checker with one that introduced errors.

    On a serious note, I think he did that on the machines some of my students are using at the moment.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Reminds me of the anecdote

      A friend of a friend story, but nevertheless amusing, a biochemistry student had finished preparing their PhD thesis and was ready to send it to the printers. A 'friend' decided it would be amusing to do a find-and-replace of the word 'organism' with 'orgasm', throughout the thesis. This wasn't noticed until after submission of the thesis.

      1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
        Coffee/keyboard

        Now that would true BOFH style

        or maybe PFY

    2. PC Paul
      Devil

      In the early days of viruses there was one that measured your typing rate and when you went past some threshold it just swapped two random characters.

      True evil genius...

      1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

        @ PC Paul

        somehow that one never affected me

        1. Keep Refrigerated

          He's right

          Necer affevted me either.

  18. Silverburn

    Sort of agree

    It seems fine when typing slower, but speed up and the errors creep in disproportionately. And it's usually a letter missing, when auto-correct then picks up and changes the whole word. So instead of fixing one letter, you have to delete and re-type the whole word.

    Missed keys I can accept; I can slow down afterall. But I had (see???) that damned auto-correct with a vengance!

    1. chris lively
      WTF?

      I think speed is the key. Same thing happens on the iPhone.

  19. Fab De Marco

    Auto-correct/predictive will always have flaws

    Even back in the day of texting by numbers on mobile phones. I remember once having a saucy conversation with a girl go sour when I suggested to "Kick her Puppy"

    But thats a story for another time children

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Kick her puppy"

      LOL.

      I guess a 'dual' was totally out the question then?

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      What an aunt!

  20. Lallabalalla
    Thumb Up

    El Reg contacted Apple, which had not responded at the time of publication.

    HAHAHAHHA stop it, you're killing me.

  21. Ryan Clark

    "British schools don't teach typing any more. They stopped when typing pools disappeared – which was ironically just in time for the generation who most require the ability to be denied it – so the majority of computer users can't type properly at all"

    First course we did in the computer lab at school was touch typing on our BBC model B machines. Probably the most useful thing I learnt at school, although I am still not what would be classed as a typist.

  22. Doug Glass
    Go

    Optional

    O frakkin sheet! No wate .... i dont own any Aple produtc. Whew!

  23. lurker

    Abysmal two-finger typing detected

    I'd imagine this must be even more of a problem for someone who can actually type.

  24. Gold Soundz

    Electromagnetic interference

    When I was evaluating my options for tablets I would go to HMV in Islington at lunchtime and spend a little time playing with each of the Android tabs and the iPad.

    One thing that I immediately found strikingly obvious was that often the keyboards did not seem to pick up my key presses when typing quickly. I called the shop assistant over and asked if they really were this bad. He laughed and told me if i picked up the tablet and put it on something else, it'd work fine - I did this, putting it down on a cardboard box and low and behold, it picked up every key press with no delay. This happened on ALL of the tablets.

    It turns out this is a problem with capacitive touch screens and interference. In HMV they put all of their tech on this large metal bench, alongside countless other bits and bobs like speakers and laptops. When the tablet is laid flat on the desk, the interference screws up the touchscreen.

    Incidentally, i ended up buying an iPad and can touch-type like nobodies business on it with no problems at all.

  25. uhuznaa

    Well...

    The greying of the key does NOT mean that the keypress is taken. It means that if you raise your finger now this key will be taken. Sliding your finger off an UI element before raising your finger is the iOS way of cancelling a tap in progress. Happens easily if you're trying to type fast and not very accurate.

    Either this or there are iPads with glitches. I don't have any more keys lost with iPads than with other touchscreens.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Exactly!

      There's really no "fault" here, that's the way it has worked since the first iPhone.

      Another Apple non-story in The Reg, as if the rumour ones weren't enough, and they wonder why Apple doesn't reply to them.

      Does seem to elicit a lot of premature ejaculation amongst a segment of the commentards though.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can't recreate it other than when *I* make a mistake... the guy probably works for Sumsong [sic]

  27. Tim99 Silver badge
    Meh

    Works for a rubbish typist

    I am a rubbish typist, using two fingers on one hand and three on the other. It works pretty well for me.

    The predictive text/spelling is sometimes a bit strange - If I type in "iz" instead of "is" it returns "in", so obviously its mind-reading abilities are a bit naff... Typed on an iPad 1.

  28. VeganVegan
    Headmaster

    This is a conflict between

    expectations for keyboards versus pointing devices (mice).

    The finger is the replacement of the mouse as far as touch screens are concerned.

    Hence, mouseDown and mouseUp events. As any fule snows, they do different things.

    Hence, pick up your fingers when you are typing.

    1. uhuznaa

      Everyone with even the slightest interest in how things actually work, especially how user interfaces work, will know that even with a mouse a button on the screen is only "clicked" when you release the mouse button and not in the moment you press it. Keep it pressed down and nothing happens. Move the mouse pointer off the button while keeping the mouse button pressed and you can release it then without the button actually firing. Exactly this is happening in this video.

      With such touchscreen keyboards a much better mental model of what's actually happening is one of "pulling" the keys instead of "pressing" them. Imagine the keys being gluey and you fire them by touching and pulling them off the screen. Try this and you won't have lost keys anymore.

      (And I find it telling that the super-smart "Apple users are iSheep" self-proclaimed geeks seem to have never thought about how such things work)

  29. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    "pulling" the keys

    >(And I find it telling that the super-smart "Apple users are iSheep" self-proclaimed geeks seem to have never thought about how such things work)

    Ever wondered why physical keyboards don't work by "pulling" the keys?

    Didn't think so. You should.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But this is not a physical keyboard is it?

      Maybe you should wonder why they work differently.

      1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

        @AC

        No it's not a physical keyboard. Still, given the way our hands are made, it is much, much, much faster to push a keyboard key than to pull it*. Our fingers are (individually) designed to push. To pull you need several fingers and a movement of the arm. Plus, tapping down on the screen but thinking of it as if you were actually pullyng is not really very intuitive.

        Note that this is not an argument against Apple but against the idiotic suggestion that people who understand how UI are made instinctively pull-as-they-push the keys and have no problem. Although I'm sure it significantly reduces the typing speed, thus getting rid of the problem.

        *And pulling a virtual key on a touchscreen... well I'll let you try.

  30. Grubby

    Typing on any tablet

    is a bit rubbish I've found. I have a few (test various things on them for my job) and they are rubbish. I've not actually got any issues with the responsiveness or auto correct (which can be turned off on Android I think) it's the keyboard layout, it's the same as a standard keyboard but I usually have my tablet in my hand, laving either 1 thumb on each hand or one full hand to type. I would say something like the old Microsoft (i think) keyboard from a few years ago were it's split in two, half in one corner for the right thumb and obviously the rest for the left hand. It would take a while to get used to a new keyboard but texting was new a few years ago, it's now one of the most popular methods of communicating.

  31. sisk

    Sigh

    It's so tempting to rag on Apple, but the thing seems to be doing what it was designed to do. This guy just can't seem to pick up his fingers while he's typing, hence the errors. So the fault lies with the typist trying to use a touchpad the same way he would use a real keyboard. That's never going to work no matter how well the thing's designed.

    Now autocorrect, that's a fail. I don't expect something like that to be perfect but Apples version of autocorrect seems to be worse than just having the misspelled words in your message.

  32. James Katt
    FAIL

    The guy just doesn't know how to type on the iPad. Period. Idiot.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not that big of a deal, change the way you type!

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