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Old Feb 20, 2010, 06:18 AM   #1
macduke
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iPad Keyboard Dock's Secret Button

Why is there a blank button on the iPad Keyboard Dock?



Here is a list of the buttons:

1. Home
2. Search
3. Brightness-down
4. Brightness-up
5. Photo album
6. Keyboard toggle
7. BLANK
8. Skip-back
9. Play/pause
10. Skip-forward
11. Mute
12. Volume-up
13. Volume-down
14. Lock screen

Ok, so my MBP has no blank function keys. My Apple aluminum wired keyboard has two, F5 and F6, which are taken up by the keyboard backlight controls on my MBP. F5 and F6 still exist because programs use them for shortcuts. But what about the iPad? What can it do on there? Well it seems like there is nothing in the SDK for it. So why even make a button at all? Won't that confuse people--it seems unlike Apple to put something useless on their keyboard. The button doesn't do anything, at least not yet.

As some of you may know, I'm the guy who for weeks has been saying that Apple will implement a dashboard on the iPad, be it secretively in March or for certain in OS 4.0. The iPad demo lacked many widget-like apps, like weather, stocks, even a calculator among others! But you can read more about that here.

So this morning I got to thinking about the iPad keyboard. Certainly Apple would have a key for it on their official iPad dock. Was there some clue on the keyboard? So I googled and found high resolution images on iLounge and spotted the missing button. And guess where it is? Right about where the dashboard button is on a mac. Again, on my Apple aluminum wired keyboard, there is dashboard, blank F5, blank F6, and skip-back. On the iPad, it is keyboard hide, BLANK, and skip-back. The only key with a specific function on an Apple keyboard before skip-back is dashboard, and on the iPad the blank button is right before skip-back. Coincidence? Seems unlikely.

So I want to know what you guys think. Sound off in the comments and let me know!
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Old Feb 20, 2010, 06:25 AM   #2
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self destruct button?
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Old Feb 20, 2010, 06:37 AM   #3
msduncan
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I've got a good source inside apple that says when you push this button it activates the following all at the same time:

front and back cameras
flash
telephone support

and it also changes the name of the device to iSlate.


Does that cover it?
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Old Feb 20, 2010, 06:53 AM   #4
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I wont try and be a comedian and say that that sounds like a very plausible idea. In fact I'd be inclined to say you're probably spot on, if not, then....it was a great idea all the same.
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Old Feb 20, 2010, 06:59 AM   #5
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they probably have no use for it yet. currently the apple keyboards F5 and F6 have nothing assigned to them by default.
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Old Feb 20, 2010, 07:02 AM   #6
juice
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It's the home screen button. Same icon as the home screen button on the iphone/ipod touch.

-edit -- Im an idiot and completely misread the post. My advice to myself - Don't answer forums when you just wake up from a late night!

Last edited by juice; Feb 20, 2010 at 10:04 AM.
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Old Feb 20, 2010, 07:03 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoFoT9 View Post
they probably have no use for it yet. currently the apple keyboards F5 and F6 have nothing assigned to them by default.
On a MBP the F5 and F6 keys are used to brighten and darken the keyboard's back light function.

Maybe the blank button will be a user assigned shortcut?!?
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Old Feb 20, 2010, 07:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon-Luke View Post
On a MBP the F5 and F6 keys are used to brighten and darken the keyboard's back light function.

Maybe the blank button will be a user assigned shortcut?!?
i guess thats why its blank then.. no need for it on a desktop (would love keyboard backlights on desktop keyboards tho).

user assigned shortcuts would be cool! but it wont happen.
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Old Feb 20, 2010, 07:05 AM   #9
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Home button is top left fella
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Old Feb 20, 2010, 07:44 AM   #10
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Widgets?
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Old Feb 20, 2010, 07:44 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoFoT9 View Post
they probably have no use for it yet. currently the apple keyboards F5 and F6 have nothing assigned to them by default.
I mentioned that in my post. The thing is, on Macs, F5 and F6 correspond to shortcuts in various applications. For instance, in most browsers F5 refreshes the page. I suppose they could allow for it to be a user configurable button in a future software update, but for now it seems a bit out of place on a device that has all software buttons, and where the official Apple keyboard dock would have to provide only functions to least common denominator apps, such as the ones that are baked in. Apple typically doesn't create buttons that have no function at all whatsoever on their products. For example, they could have put a mail icon there, since that is likely to be a commonly used app. But a dashboard--that would let you quickly glance at your inbox, the weather, pull up a calculator while you're in another app, etc. That makes sense. Think of it as multitasking lite edition. It's not that I'm wishcasting here. I am simply looking at the information supplied and seeing a pattern. Sure it would be nice if the iPad had this at launch, but I don't really mind if it doesn't. I'll be purchasing one either way. I'm just having fun figuring out the puzzle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by juice View Post
It's the home screen button. Same icon as the home screen button on the iphone/ipod touch.
Like I stated above, the home screen button is the first button. It has the rounded rectangle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by t0mat0 View Post
Widgets?
Precisely. Lite-apps that don't use many processing cycles and can run in the background easily.
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Old Feb 20, 2010, 10:45 AM   #12
gt1948
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wireless keyboard has blank key

what will the blank key above the six key be used for?
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Old Feb 20, 2010, 01:17 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by gt1948 View Post
what will the blank key above the six key be used for?
That's what this thread is about. Widgets is my guess. To correspond with this, the SDK at some point will have to show how to access that on an iPad if it is.

And if they want widgets released, wouldn't they want to announce this prior to launch so developers could knock some up?
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Old Feb 20, 2010, 01:22 PM   #14
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Built in Click to Flash button?

Auto Load MacRumors button?
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Old Feb 20, 2010, 01:41 PM   #15
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I have F5 and F6 with no "apple" function on my wired Apple KB and the Wireless BT ones has the exact same keys with no function on em. Looks like Apple added a keyboard icon to one and left one blank on their dock. Don't see the issue... nothing secret about it, probably user assigned.
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Old Feb 20, 2010, 01:43 PM   #16
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The blank button is exclusively for Steve Jobs only. No one should even question what it is.
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Old Feb 20, 2010, 01:43 PM   #17
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Interesting... maybe it's for widgets.
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Old Feb 20, 2010, 01:45 PM   #18
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The blank button is exclusively for Steve Jobs only. No one should even question what it is.
Sounds about right!
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Old Feb 20, 2010, 04:12 PM   #19
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9to5mac.com picked up my story! Nice.

http://9to5mac.com/apple-secret-ipad-key-354986743

Dashboard widgets, here we come.
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Old Feb 20, 2010, 04:43 PM   #20
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Red face

I bet it's a sleep/dim screen button for when someone walks in the room while you are looking at some super secret pr0nz!
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Old Feb 20, 2010, 04:58 PM   #21
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The blank button obviously beams Stevie Jobs in the room.

Do Not Touch It, he's a busy guy.
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Old Feb 20, 2010, 05:28 PM   #22
EssentialParado
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What I wanna know is why on Earth Apple still keeps putting a useless caps lock key on their keyboards.

As to whether it's a dashboard button- how often do Mac users use their dashboard, let alone prospective iPad users?
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Old Feb 20, 2010, 05:30 PM   #23
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And is it just me, or does the dock connector in the picture look way too small to fit an iPad?
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Old Feb 20, 2010, 05:34 PM   #24
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It's an emergency kill switch to delete the porn when your wife walks in the room.
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Old Feb 20, 2010, 06:22 PM   #25
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What I wanna know is why on Earth Apple still keeps putting a useless caps lock key on their keyboards.
The CAPS button is useful to flamers and ragers who want to SHOW HOW MAD THEY ARE. RAWR

But yeah, I really wish they would take it off. I hit it by mistake.
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