back to article RUMBLINGS: Apple pondering 'Touch Cover keyboard' for iPads

Apple is said to have taken a page from Microsoft's less-than-successful Surface playbook and developed a keyboard cover – just like the Touch Cover for Redmond's tablet. This rumor comes courtesy of Edinburgh blogger Jamie Ryan, formerly in developer relations for Apple, who reported on Saturday that "a couple of people at …

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JDX
Gold badge

Surprised they haven't already

It seems to be one of the things about Surface that's actually done well... Surface looks so much thinner and slicker than other Windows tablets which tend to be chunky and bland.

An Apple take on the concept, presumably with their normal level of slick design, would be rather welcome to me.

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Re: Surprised they haven't already

>Surface looks so much thinner and slicker than other Windows tablets

Well, no 3rd party has put that much effort into Win RT Tabs, and as for full-fat Windows tablets 3rd parties have been concentrating on tablet/laptop hybrid styles that lean more towards the laptop side - i.e devices that can look like tablets but don't have detachable keyboards, such as the Lenovo Yoga, some Sony effort.

Windows without a keyboard is dependant on software that only requires a touchscreen, and most (but not all*) people will find their needs met in that regard met by a cheaper Android tablet.

*Windows tablets have been around for years; my mechanic uses one in the workshop for diagnosing vehicle systems, I've seen surveyors use them, and Wacom have just released a Win 8 tablet incorporating the best of their digitiser technology (want).

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Bronze badge

Re: Surprised they haven't already

I agree it would be rather welcome but I see a couple of problems. The iPad connector is not on the side, so there is nowhere easy to plug it in. Without the integrated plug, the keyboard must be wireless and therefore needs a battery which would make it a poor cover. I'd love to see this though.

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JDX
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Re: Surprised they haven't already

Good point but I'm sure there's a clever workaround. Use the metal iPad body as a conductor or something - the power need is so minimal - or maybe build a tiny connector on the iPad5 and up. Making it a feature of the iPad5 would give people a solid reason to upgrade, when there is little reason otherwise to anyone with an iPad3 or newer.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Surprised they haven't already

Apple copying Microsoft yet again, after ripping off Metro in IOS7. I suspect we will see a Magnesium widescreen iPad soon...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Surprised they haven't already

"Windows without a keyboard is dependant on software that only requires a touchscreen, "

No it isn't. The screen and on screen touch keyboard work perfectly well with applications not specifically designed for touch.

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Thumb Up

Re: Surprised they haven't already

Solar?

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Re: Surprised they haven't already

"The screen and on screen touch keyboard work perfectly well with applications not specifically designed for touch."..

Nurse.!! room 27 needs some pills. Please double the dose.

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Anonymous Coward

Or Apple could just add a swype style on-screen keyboard?

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Coat

They could add a second iPad as a keyboard

Therefore it has an integrated battery and networking.

Might be a bit over-engineered though:-)

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Prices are interesting!!

Most of the mentioned keyboards appear to be less costly that the Microsoft offering. Maybe they have something there!

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Protecting your iPad

Actually, it was thinking of trying to squeeze my iPad into a Surface cover. That way nobody will be tempted to steal it.

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I am particularly interestednin any Mac Pro announcements. Business has been flat with professional users in the pro space for too long.

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Happy

"... brushed aluminum and all"

HA! I KNEW you Brits would eventually learn to spell "aluminum" correctly! Now I can start on the Wikipedia editors...

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Happy

Re: "... brushed aluminum and all"

I hate to burst your bubble and all that, but I think that Mr Myslewski is in fact not British; for a long while the author line read Rik Myslewski in San Francisco (my emphasis), although it doesn't any more.

Sorry there old chum, what what.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "... brushed aluminum and all"

Just like Sodum, Lithum, Magnesum, Calcum, etc?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "... brushed aluminum and all"

Just like Sodum, Lithum, Magnesum, Calcum, etc?

I'm British and spell as Aluminium, but thats still a shit argument...

What about Platinum and Molybdenum?

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The cover-keyboard was a good idea. It could have been a killer feature if it had been bundled with every surface for free rather than costing an extra ~£120.

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Even if it had been a $25 extra, it could have been a killer feature. According to a teardown analysis, the component cost of the Touch Cover was just around $16, making its $120 price tag almost pure profit. Or at least, it would have been, had the Surface actually sold. The cost to manufacture the Surface RT itself was estimated to be well under $300, so Microsoft could have priced it far more aggressively than they had. You can't expect to charge the same premium for a new product that the established leaders in the field with rabid fanbases are charging, especially when your platform has a significant lack of software compared to the competition. Had Microsoft priced the surface RT around $400 from the start, with the Touch Cover either bundled or an inexpensive extra, they could have established themselves as a major contender in the field. The platform would have sold itself. Instead, they spent more on advertising the product than they made on sales.

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Bronze badge

I sometimes bait my friend with this thought,

but it really does seem that Apple users can look into the future by looking at Android phones (for the next iPhone's hardware specs), Windows Phone (for the look and feel of the future iOS) and now the touch cover as well. Amazing crystal balls they have access to :)

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Re: I sometimes bait my friend with this thought,

Please point me in the direction of that Android phone with a 64 bits processor and a Biometric scanner.

Hang on. I already have that on my iPhone/

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Re: I sometimes bait my friend with this thought, @Philippe

"Please point me in the direction of that Android phone with a 64 bits processor and a Biometric scanner.

Hang on. I already have that on my iPhone"

So you are saying the only difference between your iPhone and Android is that it has almost none distinguishable higher number count bit of hardware and a pretty much usless gimmick of a technology? Well, two can play that game...

How about

Please point me in the direction of that iPhone with 4.3 inch display with 720x1280 resolution and a pixel density of 342pi, a standby battery time of over 400 hours, duel core 1500 MHz processor, 32 GB built in storage, a radio, HDMI slot, a 12 megapixel camera and built in NFC that all costs less then lets say £200 fully unlocked.

Hang on. I have that on a 'pile of shit will upgrade as soon as cost effective' Sony that came out almost 2 years ago.

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Re: I sometimes bait my friend with this thought, @Philippe

Sony Xperia S ?? Oh Please...

The built quality was atrocious with some light gaps all over the place, the screen although big and HD has terrible colour accuracy, pictures, although 13 Mpx are grainy as hell with a a huge amount of noise (forget about low light photography).

The benchmarks were pathetic compared to the iPhone 4S at the time and the only place you'll find a 400 hours battery on this thing is the number written on the box.

There were some small plastic things to remove to access the HDMI and USB ports (every night for charging), and the back keep falling off, which I don't understand as there is no SD card or replaceable battery.

This thing was more 270 pounds than 200 pounds btw.

I know someone who has got one and he'll never touch an Xperia again after that experience.

You've been owned by the Specs my friend.

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Facepalm

Re: I sometimes bait my friend with this thought, @Philippe

"You've been owned by the Specs my friend." Vs “Please point me in the direction of that Android phone with a 64 bits processor”

Ha Ha Ha.

And I don’t know where you got that price from, it costs £180, well it would have, but it’s on contract and a replacement for a broken phone so it costs me £16 a month with unlimited phone calls, 5000 texts a month and all you can eat data.

The back comes off to get to the sim card and to unscrew the battery compartment, the plastic covers stop crap getting into the HDMI slot and an inbuilt radio and NFC are not specs, they are examples of gimmicky tech just like your useless unsecure fingerprint scanner.

But that’s not the point, try reading again the line where I say

"a 'pile of shit will upgrade as soon as cost effective' Sony"

The Xperia S is not very good, but, come on, you don’t think I’m stupid enough to pay a inflated price for a phone just because it came out that month, when waiting 12 months the price is half that, I mean, only halfwits who never learned to manage their money properly, and insecure losers who can only feel validated by owning a bit of kit that functions almost exactly like every other bit of kit but is shiny new buys a phone as soon as it comes out, wait, i'm sorry, you own an iPhone.

Do you know a flight from London to Costa Rica costs £509?

How much did your iPhone 5s cost?

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Old Idea

Integrating a keyboard into the travel cover was shipped by IBM in 1984:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_Portable_Personal_Computer

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Re: Old Idea

And Commodore in the same year:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodore_SX-64

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Hold on ...

... aren't there about a million third party keyboard/cover type thingies of various style and types already for the iPad? Some that act as cover/stand combos. Some actually sold in the Apple shops.

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Facepalm

Re: Hold on ...

Congrats! you actually read the article.

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The press invitation for today's Apple event reads:

"We still have a lot to cover"

which could well be a hint at new iPad covers (as well as updated iPads), if you compare past Apple event invites with what was actually announced.

http://www.theverge.com/2013/10/21/4852132/history-of-apple-event-invitations-and-hints

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Logitech

I just got a Logitech Bluetooth keyboard for my iPad from Amazon (£30). The iPad fits neatly inside it and it is a decent keyboard too. I really do like to have the arrow keys for editing.

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Thin end of the wedge

soon someone will discover that if you put the battery in the keyboard, the screen can hinge up naturally without needing a silly cardboard/leather stand. then we'll almost be back to the ultrabook/netbook

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Happy

Re: Thin end of the wedge

That's just cynical.

A laptop/netbook/ultrabook is a keyboard and computer in a single unit with a screen attached via a hinge.

These would be screen and computer in a single unit with a keyboard attached via a hinge - completely different!

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Silver badge

Quick question:

Does anyone have experience of using a 3rd party Bluetooth keyboard that is sold as working with iPads with an Android device?

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Re: Quick question:

I have one for the iPad, works a treat (useful for editing documents on the fly as well as blog posts).

This is really where it works best, iPad with a 3G connection, sat with a coffee in a cafe (or via wifi if in a slightly better establishment) or even in the bar with a pint. Prop up the iPad in it's stand, pull out the keyboard and as soon as it's turned on it's away you go and comments are posted on El Reg shortly after (minus the typos from using the onscreen keyboard).

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Re: Quick question:

I agree they are great, gives you back the tab and arrow keys, acts as a cover when traveling and the battery lasts a long time, mine cost about 20GBP.

Well worth the investment IMHO

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Facepalm

Will anyone make a cover for the cover, so you don't accidently type anything on the cover while the iPad is covered?

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If it's anything like the 3rd party covers it'll close keyboard to screen with an auto-off feature so while the cover's closed the iPad is in sleep mode.

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It needs to make sure....

That it removes the keyboard from the screen though. Keeping it there while it's not used is a big waste of screen space. I'm not aware that iOS can currently hide the keyboard for most apps when you're typing.

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Re: It needs to make sure....

@hardboiledphil

That's actually exactly what it does. I use the Apple wireless keyboard with my iPad and the onscreen keyboard is absent as long as the wireless keyboard is paired and present.

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"users who actually want to do some work"

I am unclear what having an iPad and actually doing some work have to do with each other.

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Anonymous Coward

One of the worst things about Apple.....

is that they copy everyone else while claiming to "innovate" and then saying everyone is copying THEM.

Apple : Think Hypocrisy

That aside, let all the litigation cease and let them ALL rip off each other - who cares? It happens in the car industry.

This whole 64bit nonsense -so freaking what? Finger print scanner? Ditto. I remember IBM had them on their laptops years ago. The ONLY people it WILL impress are people that don't UNDERSTAND what these "innovations" are and still think turning on a light is like magic . The fact you feel a need to BOAST about a 64 bit processor says it all, I wouldn't use it as your primary chat up line though......

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