Monday, April 23, 2018

Writing With an iPad and a Clicky Keyboard

Jason Snell (tweet):

My primary workspace is largely unchanged from when I set it up in 2014, though I’m now using a clicky keyboard and an iMac Pro now. I don’t do all of my writing from my desk, though; I’m a big believer in increasing productivity through a change of scenery. Sometimes that involves taking my iPad outside, often to the Starbucks that’s five minutes from my house. In the summer I’ll attach the laptop-like Brydge Keyboard and go sit in the backyard.

When it’s not nice out, I’ll just relocate to the bar in my kitchen and write on my iPad.


So I replaced the Mini Tactile Pro with the Matias Laptop Pro, a Bluetooth mechanical keyboard with a silver-and-black style that fits in pretty well with my iPad and its stand.

John Gruber:

People who like split screen multi-tasking on iPad: Don’t you find it infuriating that there’s no indication at all which side has keyboard focus?

Nathan Edwards:

Although harder to find, compact mechanical keyboards are a third, better option that combines the best of both boards.


I’ve tried a bunch of compact keyboards, and the first one I tried—and the one I’d recommend as a starting point for most people—is the Qisan Magicforce 68. It has a white backlight, full-size mechanical keys exactly where they’re supposed to be, arrow keys, and a navigation cluster. It comes with a detachable cable and built-in media shortcuts. And it’s only about $60, which is impressively cheap for a mechanical keyboard with good switches.

Having recently switched back to a full-sized keyboard, after many years with a compact one, I find that I make heavy use of all the extra keys except for the higher numbered F-keys and the Clear key.

Update (2018-04-29): Luke Kanies:

Unlike touch, keyboards are inherently targeted. While touch is powerful specifically because of your ability to directly manipulate the software you’re using, keyboards must first be pointed at a place that needs text. They need focus. And here’s where the iPad falls down.

Via John Gruber:

It seems crazy to me the iPad lets you command-tab between full-screen apps, but when you’re in split screen mode there’s (a) no way to switch between the apps on screen using the keyboard, and (b) no indication of which app has keyboard focus.

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