I’m a huge fan of the split keyboard that was added to the iPad on iOS 5. I have to credit a friend with predicting this addition several months before WWDC actually, he specifically said “a split keyboard on the iPad would make me so happy.”
He got his wish and now I use it all the time to type with my thumbs in vertical mode. It makes it a ton easier to hold the iPad in two hands and still jot out short messages.
Well, in typical Apple fashion, it has managed to sneak in a subtle and invisible addition to the split keyboard that makes it even cooler. It has hidden duplicate buttons invisibly along each end of the split, making it possible to ‘reach over’ the gap to grab a key on the other side without having to use the opposite hand.
This discovery was made by Finer Things’ David Chartier and makes a nice addition for those of us that don’t exactly conform to ‘home row’ practices when typing with our thumbs. If you’re used to crossing over to grab the occasional key that doesn’t belong to that hand, you might even do it subconsciously.
It’s well known that Apple plays with the tap target sizes of buttons invisibly by predicting which letter you’re going to type next. This makes it easier to snag a button that you’re going for next even when you’re stabbing away a bit recklessly. The addition of these invisible additional keys is another great example of invisibly helping a user without their knowledge utilizing subtle and invisible UX design.
You can activate the split keyboard by simply dragging it apart with two fingers or by tapping and holding the keyboard button at the bottom and choosing ‘split keyboard’.
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