Bluetooth Keyboard and iOS

Using the iPad on the road.

This was originally published on May 4, 2011. In a discussion with my brother about the Surface Pro I made reference to this post. In almost two years this is still how I use my iPad on the road. I like it and it is useful. That being said, two years is a LONG time in the world of technology and we still don’t have basic Mail key commands? C’mon Apple.


I have written many times about how traveling has become a much lighter affair since I acquired an iPad a year ago. Now I travel with the 1.33lb device and Apple’s Bluetooth keyboard, for a total weight of something less than 2lbs. Most of the time I simply use the on screen iOS keyboard on the iPad, but when I have time in the hotel room to do some more serious typing I break out the keyboard and it works like a dream. Well, like a dream in the sense that some things work very well and others aren’t quite like you might expect them to be.

Some of the things that work so well are the special keys: brightness, volume, iPod player control (play/pause, forward, back), and the eject button reveals/hides the onscreen keyboard. Basic key commands work, like copy and paste and the tab key takes you between input fields. But there is definitely room for improvement. There are a number of things that I think should “just work” but are AWOL. [mfn]BTW these are also reasons why a touch screen iMac, for example, wouldn’t work yet. Too often you would have to go up to the screen to perform an action.[/mfn]

• CMD-Tab – This should switch between apps, just as in the MacOS.
• Arrow keys to select menu items – Once you starting typing into, say, the Google search field or an email address field you have to touch the screen to select the option you want. I should be able to use the arrow keys to select it.
• Mail – The basic Mail key commands should be supported: Reply, Reply All, Delete, etc.

I am sure I will think of some more, especially app specific commands (the Photos app could benefit from delete, for example). Do you have any to add?

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