The state of the mobile keyboard... and what comes next!

This will probably be the most CrackBerry-centric infographic that spins out of Talk Mobile, and fair enough. If there's anything BlackBerry still owns, it's the hardware keyboard, and unlike BBM, that's probably not going cross-platform any time soon, and it's certainly not coming to the iPhone anytime... ever.

By the same token, the iPhone's virtual keyboard, a marvel in its day, is now one of the oldest implementations in the industry, and not only is BlackBerry doing really interesting things with their BB10 virtual keyboard. but so are a lot of third parties on Android, like Swype and Swift Key.

Apple hasn't shown off any major changes to the keyboard for iOS 7, other than transparency. So here's where I make a CrackBerry-centric infographic all about iPhone and iPad:

Check out the inforgraphic below and let me know if it properly describes your usage and your needs, and then tell me - What do you want to see from Apple when it comes to keyboards going forward?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

The state of the mobile keyboard... and what comes next!


I have never liked the idea of texting.
It is moronic at best, but NOW a necessary evil for some and a distraction for most.
I use SIRI for messaging.
And I edit if it gets something wrong. ( notice I didn't say she)
I can communicate LONGER messages and I look like Capt. Kirk when speaking to my phone sending a NOVEL to someone else.

And frankly SIRI spells better then I do.

Would like to see a better update to SIRI as for texting.

I am evil that way.

I think the infographic does a really good job showing the breakdown and usage. For me texting/email is a huge part of my device usage. I enjoy one handed use that gets my message typed and sent quickly.

As someone who has used BlackBerry (Both physical keyboard (9930) and touchscreen (Z10)), Android (tried many versions with SwiftKey being my favorite), and also iOS with an iPhone 4, I personally feel that I've adapted to typing on glass fairly well. I want to come back to iOS when "7" is available, but I would like to see a few things to add a little bit of variety/customization...

*Tactile feedback such as vibration.(Pretty sure my iPhone 4 didn't have this but can't remember 100%) For some reason I really like when it's an option. Everything from txting to simply typing a web address just feels better to me when there's a "response" from the device.

*Predictive/Auto-Corrected words that could maybe be highlighted or colored differently to show it was an inserted predicted word. I'm someone who is really afraid of the auto-correct. When I used iOS I felt as though I always had to proofread my txts before sending just in case I sent my grandma something that would give her a heart attack...

Those are a couple of points off the top of my head as far as a keyboard. I rarely use voice commands to text or type, but might have to start playing around with it.

Excellent topic Rene.

I would really, _really_ like Apple to add some sort of SwiftKey or Swype-like gesture typing functionality to the iOS keyboard. It's been extremely helpful to me since I switched to Android and I'd never want another device that didn't have it in some form. If Apple were to do that plus make the iPhone's screen about 4.5" (especially adding a few mm to the width), I just _might_ be persuaded to return to the iPhone and iOS.

Me too! I'm using a Galaxy S4 with the Google keyboard and swype is awesome! I always thought it was a gimmick before actually using it, but it makes typing so much better and faster. Swype lot less frustrating to deal with too.

I feel like a sucker after switching from my EVO to an iPhone. Swiftkey was a remarkable piece of software two years ago, I can't imagine what it's like now. The iPhone keyboard is a par three golf course compared to Swiftkey taking the role of Pebble Beach.

I think the iPhone has the best keyboard. I have had 2 android phones which I tried many keyboards on and hate them all. I had a windows phone and like the keyboard better then any on android, but it still wasn't very good. Now I have gone back to the iPhone and may hands are happy agin. Apple makes the best use of their screen. Their keyboard it awesome and the screen size at 3.5 or 4 inches is perfect. If you want a bigger screen get a tablet or a PC.

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