Wed 05 Sep
Let’s not even talk about the horrible wincing I did when I learned that Apple lowered the price of its iPhone today by US$200 — a mere eight and one-half weeks after I dutifully and idiotically waited in line to buy one. Apparently, there are some avenues of recourse available to us early adopters, but here’s my take: I have neither the time nor the energy in my life to go charging back up this particular hill. I knew what this thing cost when I bought it, and I knew it was going to go down in price one day, and so here we are.
In a tangentially related matter, the lower iPhone prices and the introduction of the iPod touch presumably means that more and more customers will soon be exposed to the wonders of Apple’s multi-touch, software keyboard. On that, I have something to say.
For a lot of people, Apple’s software approach to providing what is almost universally a hardware feature continues to either deter or confound. I know several would-be iPhone purchasers who felt as if they could not do without a physical, tactilely responsive keyboard. And RIM was there for them with a catalog full of Blackberry devices.
For my part, I grew accustomed to the iPhone’s keyboard very quickly, in a matter of days, I think. A lot of my initial frustration with the shortcomings of its purely visual feedback went away within the first week of use. In fact, in the first two weeks of use, my ability to coax my intended text from the keyboard improved markedly. I felt much, much better about it after a short amount of time.
Here’s the thing though: I haven’t improved any further. Looking back at the past six weeks or so, I’ve been making the same errors, entering the same typos as I was in those early days. The level of concentration that I find myself applying to typing sessions seems to be no less than before. Which is to say, typing hasn’t started to feel easier, and I haven’t been able to type with a more relaxed mental posture than before.
Beyond the fact that I’m a user of this keyboard, I’m a clearly under-qualified commentator on keyboard ergonomics. Still, that won’t stop me from airing my theory: there is an inherent learning plateau in Apple’s software keyboard, and that plateau falls short of full accuracy. That is, the vast majority of people will never be able to type comfortably on the keyboard with anything close to one hundred percent fidelity. You can get good enough to type what you need, but no better. Am I completely wrong?