Vid 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 of those key presses aren't being passed to the applications. It seems the iPad relies on the application's autocorrect function to pick up the missing keys, or lets the user think they're just crap at typing.
In his testing, typing an unfamiliar paragraph, Addey made three errors of his own but the keyboard introduced another 20 and autocorrect only fixed eight of those. That left him with paragraph a long way from the original, despite Addey only being responsible for three of the errors.
Real typos are green, blue were spotted by autocorrect, red remained
That test was conducted with Pages, but he then repeated the test using Notes and Mail with similar results – so the problem seems to be common across iOS apps. 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. Addey's video is below.
But the test does gel with the anecdotal experiences of iPad users, who almost universally agree that the soft keyboard isn't suitable for typing anything longer than a few paragraphs. They generally blame the lack of response and difficulty in locating their digits, but such problems have never affected users of FingerWorks keyboards, which are equally unresponsive and almost as smooth (FingerWorks 'boards do have a couple of nobbles on the home keys, but it's hard to use them without pressing the underlying keys).
As someone who uses FingerWorks on a daily basis, your correspondent was surprised by how poorly he touch-typed on an iPad – the gadget appears to make touch-typing effectively impossible – but blamed the cramped size of the iPad screen which doesn't lend itself to touch typing by any but the most petite of mitts.
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. But now they can blame Apple, as long as they've got an iPad.
El Reg contacted Apple, which had not responded at the time of publication. ®