The iPad is a pretty flexible device and suitable for a number of tasks. Writing a novel, however, is not one of those tasks. That is, unless you are using a real keyboard. The on-screen keyboard is better than many I’ve used, but still falls short when it comes to typing anything more than a paragraph or two. Since iPad uses Bluetooth, pretty much any Bluetooth keyboard will work. However, there is one keyboard designed specifically for iPad and that is the iPad Keyboard dock.
The keyboard dock allows you to dock the keyboard, in portrait mode only, and be productive. The keyboard, though a little small, is still close to being a full size keyboard. It is silver and white and a bit on the hefty side, which I kind of like. It does not feel flimsy, though it looks flimsy as all get out.
The dock itself has a pass through connector allowing you to either sync or charge the device. It also features an audio out connector.
The keyboard has a few keys dedicated to the iPad itself. The top row of keys feature a search key, screen brightness keys, on-screen keyboard key, iPod control keys and the lock key. There is a Command key, option key and Control key along the bottom row. It also features up, down, left and right keys for moving the cursor. The rest is a standard QWERTY style keyboard.
The feel of the keys is similar to what you would feel on any Mac keyboard. It is somewhat clicky and the keys are easy to press. The tactile feedback is good.
The keyboard dock is not cheap: $69.95 (US) Is it worth it? Yes, if you are going to do any lengthy typing on the device. Could you get by with just a wireless? Yes, but the dock is handy. The only drawback to the dock is you are stuck in portrait mode. That does not bother me since that is the orientation I use the most, but I can see it would be highly annoying for others who use it landscape mostly.
One note about the arrow keys: it makes it really easy to use cut/copy and paste. Move to where you want to cut or copy, hold down shift and then use left/right to highlight the text. Press command and C to copy, then command and V to paste. Pretty simple.
I should also note that with the camera connection kit, you can use the included USB dongle and connect a USB keyboard and get the same functionality.
While seventy dollars is a bit much for a keyboard, I consider it money well spent for what I want to do with the iPad. I bought mine at a Best Buy, but it is also available from the Apple retail store and the Apple on line store.
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad