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View Full Version : A theory regarding the "mystery" blank key on the iPad dock keyboard...




ravenvii
Apr 6, 2010, 09:30 PM
Since the keyboard is stated to be shipping "late April", perhaps this is because Apple plans to introduce an feature (Expose? Dashboard?) in iPhone OS 4.0 that will use that key, and they don't want to reveal it until after the announcement this Thursday? Maybe that's also when the SDK will be released, and developers can test it on their iPads - blank key and all?



NT1440
Apr 6, 2010, 09:34 PM
Uh, no.

Just because there are blank keys doesn't mean that they are going to be used anything. Have you seen the bluetooth keyboard?

rorschach
Apr 6, 2010, 09:55 PM
Uh, no.

Just because there are blank keys doesn't mean that they are going to be used anything. Have you seen the bluetooth keyboard?

But the Bluetooth keyboard can be used with a computer and you (or applications) can assign functions to it. That's pointless with the Dock keyboard, so clearly it may be used for something.

Mark Booth
Apr 6, 2010, 09:58 PM
I think the blank key will be used to signal the mothership to bring more tin foil for the hats! :)

Mark

HiRez
Apr 6, 2010, 10:24 PM
Adding a Tab key sure would be nice. And why the heck is the apostrophe not on the home page? The exclamation mark is and I use that far less commonly than the apostrophe.

Nausicaa
Apr 6, 2010, 10:44 PM
I was assuming that the blank key was just the "home" button on the iPad.

pooryou
Apr 6, 2010, 10:49 PM
Uh, no.

Just because there are blank keys doesn't mean that they are going to be used anything. Have you seen the bluetooth keyboard?

Uh, no.

The bluetooth keyboard does not have blank keys.

Apple would not leave a key completely blank, so this is actually the most plausible reason.

ravenvii
Apr 6, 2010, 10:52 PM
Adding a Tab key sure would be nice. And why the heck is the apostrophe not on the home page? The exclamation mark is and I use that far less commonly than the apostrophe.

Maybe because Apple figured most of your apostrophe needs would be handled by the auto-correcting feature? It converts ill to I'll, im to I'm, and its to it's and so forth.

Just a guess.

rorschach
Apr 6, 2010, 11:09 PM
Adding a Tab key sure would be nice. And why the heck is the apostrophe not on the home page? The exclamation mark is and I use that far less commonly than the apostrophe.

Yes! How are you supposed to indent lists in Pages in landscape mode where there is no toolbar? :confused:

kdesign7
Apr 6, 2010, 11:12 PM
;)
B.i.n.g.o

Michael CM1
Apr 6, 2010, 11:14 PM
That's where the Windows key will go once Steve Ballmer initiates a hostile takeover with Monopoly money.

pooryou
Apr 6, 2010, 11:24 PM
Maybe because Apple figured most of your apostrophe needs would be handled by the auto-correcting feature? It converts ill to I'll, im to I'm, and its to it's and so forth.

Just a guess.

I think you are right. At first this annoyed me, but considering that the majority of people out there don't seem to know how to use the apostrophe correctly in the first place, it is probably for the best.

goobot
Apr 6, 2010, 11:29 PM
Um no? People already have the keyboard dock. and MacBooks have blank keys. And they left it there so they don't screw up the keyboard layout.

pooryou
Apr 6, 2010, 11:34 PM
Um no? People already have the keyboard dock. and MacBooks have blank keys. And they left it there so they don't screw up the keyboard layout.

MacBooks do not have blank keys. Function keys are not blank.

Babybandit
Apr 7, 2010, 12:32 AM
MacBooks do not have blank keys. Function keys are not blank.

My MacBook Pro has F11 and F12 Blank. Maybe you guys are just 'thinking too much'?

HiRez
Apr 7, 2010, 02:32 AM
Except "it's" and "its" are two different things, how would autocorrect know which one to use? I don't think it's that smart.

Stetrain
Apr 7, 2010, 02:39 AM
Adding a Tab key sure would be nice. And why the heck is the apostrophe not on the home page? The exclamation mark is and I use that far less commonly than the apostrophe.

I think that this is about the physical keyboard dock, not the on-screen keyboard. :)

pooryou
Apr 7, 2010, 02:50 AM
My MacBook Pro has F11 and F12 Blank. Maybe you guys are just 'thinking too much'?

See next post.

pooryou
Apr 7, 2010, 03:02 AM
Just in case people haven't seen what we are talking about here..this one is 100% blank, not a like function key.

http://a248.e.akamai.net/7/248/2041/1680/as-images.apple.com/is/image/AppleInc/MC533?wid=1200&hei=1200&fmt=jpeg&qlt=95&op_sharpen=0&resMode=bicub&op_usm=0.5,0.5,0,0&iccEmbed=0&layer=comp

Mr Skills
Apr 7, 2010, 03:58 AM
Is it possible that they are just using the exact same keyboard as the bluetooth one (to keep manufacturing costs down) and they just didn't have anything left to put on that key?

GrindedDown
Apr 7, 2010, 04:03 AM
^^^ Apple doesn't do anything without a purpose. Example: All of the iphone marketing materials (posters, pics, etc...) show the time as 9:42 all of the ipad ones show as 9:41. Those were the times they were announced. If the key was meant to be left blank, the would have removed it from the keyboard or put some arbitrary function. It could possibly be some sort of hot key function, but I think OP may be right about it being a function related to OS 4.0.

Ka Ora!
Apr 7, 2010, 04:11 AM
Since the keyboard is stated to be shipping "late April", perhaps this is because Apple plans to introduce an feature (Expose? Dashboard?) in iPhone OS 4.0 that will use that key, and they don't want to reveal it until after the announcement this Thursday? Maybe that's also when the SDK will be released, and developers can test it on their iPads - blank key and all?

Its a new revolutionary F6 key without F6 on it.

None of the function keys have F numbers on the displayed picture which kind of leaves F6 no choice but to be blank. Aesthetically it would look better not being blank.

Steve ballmer was invited to give it a use and he placed on it the first thing that came to mind......Nothing So from now on the blank key on a Apple keyboard should be called the Ballmer key.

MacBoobsPro
Apr 7, 2010, 04:34 AM
They could of used LEDs instead of that button. What a missed opportunity. The keyboard would be so cool with LEDs. :rolleyes:

Guys come on its a frickin' button. Why all the conspiracy theories?

It theres no specific function it doesnt get an icon. If the buttons had F1 F2 F3 on them then it would be F7 yet still not have a function assigned to it unless you give it one. The reason its not labelled as F7 is because the others are not labelled F1, F2 F3, etc.

Theres no 'new' iPad function in the pipeline. If there was what are they going to do? Recall all the keyboards and label up the buttons again?

:rolleyes:

LinMac
Apr 7, 2010, 04:51 AM
Guys come on its a frickin' button. Why all the conspiracy theories?


Remember that Apple is the company that kept the iPad under lock and key at the Wall Street Journal having an employee unlock it every day then lock it back up to keep it secret. Conspiracy theories don't sound so far fetched when dealing with Apple.

pooryou
Apr 7, 2010, 05:06 AM
Conspiracies are very common actually; many people seem to be confused as to what the word actually means.

GregGebhardt
Apr 7, 2010, 05:36 AM
Since the keyboard is stated to be shipping "late April", perhaps this is because Apple plans to introduce an feature (Expose? Dashboard?) in iPhone OS 4.0 that will use that key, and they don't want to reveal it until after the announcement this Thursday? Maybe that's also when the SDK will be released, and developers can test it on their iPads - blank key and all?

I think you need to relax and let your mind rest!

Peter Harrison
Apr 7, 2010, 05:44 AM
I'm skeptical about these kind of theories too, but I'm definitely not rejecting it. Apple design is all about style. It has to look slick. A big empty key? It's most likely nothing. But I don't think it's an impossible idea. You never know, expose could happen.

Mark Booth
Apr 7, 2010, 09:58 AM
When you use an external keyboard with the iPad (Dock Keyboard or Bluetooth Keyboard), the iPad is smart enough NOT to bring up the on-screen keyboard when text entry is needed. The iPad sees the connected external keyboard and assumes you are going to use that external keyboard. And, just in case you might want the on-screen keyboard anyway, Apple provides a key for that purpose on the iPad Dock Keyboard. It's the one to the left of the blank key.

Just as an FYI... if using an Apple Bluetooth Keyboard, the CD/DVD eject key on that keyboard functions the same way when connected to the iPad. Press the CD/DVD eject key and the on-screen keyboard pops into view. Press it again and the on-screen keyboard disappears.

Mark

JKColo22
Apr 7, 2010, 04:20 PM
I have to agree with the OP. Apple is not going to ship that thing out with a blank key. Looks like the key on the top left is a home button, this is going to be something new; perhaps either dashboard or expose. Maybe we will find out tomorrow what it's for, but i'd bet it's not going to ship out blank...

jazz1
Apr 7, 2010, 04:44 PM
I received the dock/keyboard yesterday. I have not opened it, as I don't know if I'm going to keep it. I also won't get my 3G until the end of this month. So the blank key remains a mystery to me too ;)

teege
Apr 7, 2010, 04:47 PM
Just in case people haven't seen what we are talking about here..this one is 100% blank, not a like function key.

http://a248.e.akamai.net/7/248/2041/1680/as-images.apple.com/is/image/AppleInc/MC533?wid=1200&hei=1200&fmt=jpeg&qlt=95&op_sharpen=0&resMode=bicub&op_usm=0.5,0.5,0,0&iccEmbed=0&layer=comp

Hmm...what's so special about the space bar? :p

pooryou
Apr 7, 2010, 05:35 PM
Hmm...what's so special about the space bar? :p

Ask this guy. :D

http://www.cdaccess.com/gifs/shared/front/large/spacebar.jpg

cualexander
Apr 7, 2010, 07:21 PM
I have to agree with the OP. Apple is not going to ship that thing out with a blank key. Looks like the key on the top left is a home button, this is going to be something new; perhaps either dashboard or expose. Maybe we will find out tomorrow what it's for, but i'd bet it's not going to ship out blank...

My apple Bluetooth keyboard that ive had for months has a blank key there. This is nothing new.

NT1440
Apr 7, 2010, 07:23 PM
Uh, no.

The bluetooth keyboard does not have blank keys.

Apple would not leave a key completely blank, so this is actually the most plausible reason.

I'm staring at the two on mine right now.....

F5 and F6 are blank.

http://regmedia.co.uk/2008/11/26/apple_wireless_keyboard.jpg

JKColo22
Apr 7, 2010, 08:57 PM
Woops. Didn't realize the keyboard was already shipping or that the the bluetooth keyboard had blanks. Fair enough, perhaps it is just a blank key, seems weird for Apple.

goobot
Apr 7, 2010, 09:00 PM
Just in case people haven't seen what we are talking about here..this one is 100% blank, not a like function key.

http://a248.e.akamai.net/7/248/2041/1680/as-images.apple.com/is/image/AppleInc/MC533?wid=1200&hei=1200&fmt=jpeg&qlt=95&op_sharpen=0&resMode=bicub&op_usm=0.5,0.5,0,0&iccEmbed=0&layer=comp

yah and the other keys dont have f11 ect either. your logic is flawed

pooryou
Apr 7, 2010, 09:04 PM
I'm staring at the two on mine right now.....

F5 and F6 are blank.

http://regmedia.co.uk/2008/11/26/apple_wireless_keyboard.jpg

LOL, are you being intentionally obtuse?

yah and the other keys dont have f11 ect either. your logic is flawed

Explain how.

macduke
Apr 8, 2010, 03:55 AM
I'm the author of the original thread on this (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=867496&highlight=secret+button+ipad), 9to5mac was the first to carry my story and credited me.

I was just thinking about features for the event later today when I got to thinking about this very topic again. I remember hearing the keyboard dock wasn't shipping until the end of April, and sure enough, that was the case. I was about to post about it but searched and found this thread.

I believe this is entirely possible, especially given that the iPad only has 256mb of ram, as does the 3GS. I expect that the 3g and original iPhone won't even see this feature, and might not even get OS 4.0 at all (but that might be stretching it a bit, they may only not feature multitasking). Using a dashboard with highly streamlined, small-footprint apps makes even more sense now than it did before. There isn't a lot of extra memory available on this device. Widgets FTW.

Um no? People already have the keyboard dock. and MacBooks have blank keys. And they left it there so they don't screw up the keyboard layout.

What people have the keyboard dock? I was under the impression that the only people who had one were the people who got review units of the iPad ahead of time. They didn't pay for it, it was free, and it was pre-release hardware. Review hardware changes all the time--just ask the guys at dpreview.com about the cameras they review. This gives Apple plenty of time to release keyboards with the dashboard button by the end of this month, while telling them that it will be available this summer.

I'm staring at the two on mine right now.....

F5 and F6 are blank.


Except that they are labeled F5 and F6? Wow, for the sake of all mankind I hope you're joking. You do know that apps use those function keys for specific things in real OS X, right? Go ahead and push F5 to see what happens to this page. Magic!

ClarkD
Apr 15, 2010, 07:02 PM
I've used both the Bluetooth mini-keyboard from Apple and also this iPad Keyboard Doc. They both work great.

As for the mystery key, it doesn't seem to do anything.

Just pressed it.... nothing happens.

Would have been a nice key to bring up the iPod app.

kepner
Apr 15, 2010, 07:19 PM
I've used both the Bluetooth mini-keyboard from Apple and also this iPad Keyboard Doc. They both work great.

Have you found a way to return to the home screen from the Bluetooth keyboard?