Collapsible 'TextBlade' Keyboard for iOS Devices Uses Just Eight Smart MultiTouch Keys

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jan 13, 2015.

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  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    WayTools today debuted the TextBlade, a compact, collapsible keyboard that's just a third of the size of an iPhone. Instead of using traditional keyboard layout, it uses "next-gen key switch technology" to allow users to type using just eight large smart keys that represent the entire alphabet.

    Described as the first MultiTouch keyboard, the TextBlade weighs 1.5 ounces and lasts for a month in between charges thanks to the lithium polymer battery built into the spacebar. Charging takes less than an hour and works through any USB port.

    The TextBlade is collapsible and uses built-in magnets snap the pieces together into a form factor thats "as easy to carry as a pen," which was WayTools' main goal for the product. Its keys use a technology called "MagLever," which the company says is superior to a rubber spring keyboard with no drag, stretch, or wear.
    TextBlade uses the same character map as a traditional QWERTY keyboard, allowing people to use the same fingers to select the same letters as they would on a standard keyboard. This function makes typing on the TextBlade "instantly familiar" according to WayTools. The keyboard's eight smart MultiTouch keys are also described as "MultiLayer," allowing them to be used to select symbols and make edits quickly. All keys one might expect to find in an iOS-compatible keyboard, including keys for accessing audio controls and Siri, are included in the TextBlade.

    TextBlade can be pre-ordered from the WayTools website for $99, and will begin shipping out to customers in February.

    Article Link: Collapsible 'TextBlade' Keyboard for iOS Devices Uses Just Eight Smart MultiTouch Keys
  2. furi0usbee macrumors 68000


    Jul 11, 2008
    Cool idea, but I don't think I want to learn a *new* way to type.
  3. stiligFox macrumors 65816


    Apr 24, 2009
    It looks super cool and portable, but a full size bluetooth keyboard can be had for around $60 - I'll wait until the second gen and a price drop once the initial R&D has been paid off.

    It looks interesting, it'll have to be seen how intelligent the software is...

    EDIT: If it works as well as that video, consider me sold!
  4. jclo Editor


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2012
    Supposedly you don't have to. It's just like typing on a regular keyboard because you use the same fingers for the same keys. Pretty interesting premise... really want to find out if it really is as easy as the site says it is.
  5. ArtOfWarfare macrumors G3


    Nov 26, 2007
    It's kind of ugly and... correct me if I'm wrong, but it looks like it's 4 separate pieces? Two things full of 4 keys each plus the spacebar plus a little hold them together thing?

    At 9 seconds in the video, it magically changes from having that little thing to hold them together to not having it anymore. But then it never shows up again in the video.

    But it seems to clearly be visible in the picture (top right corner - there's something holding the three other pieces together.) So I'm confused. Is it three parts which are held together with nothing but magnets, or is their a fourth piece which is needed for keeping it together when it's collapsed? What are we supposed to do with that fourth piece when the rest is being used?

    Anyways... interesting... maybe I'll get one. Have to hear what independent reviewers think first before I spend $100 on something like this.
  6. MacKai macrumors regular


    Jun 15, 2010
    East Bay Area, CA
    That little thing holding the pieces together is the stand for your phone or tablet.
  7. Deelron macrumors regular

    Jan 30, 2009
    It appears the 4th piece can be used as a iPad stand while you're using the keyboard. Also it's pretty tiny, I wouldn't be all that concerned at where I was going to keep it when using the rest.
  8. peteullo macrumors regular


    Dec 13, 2009
    Scranton, PA
    Hopefully they find a way to set up a demo display at a retail store. I feel this is definitely something that needs to be tried out before buying.
  9. 69Mustang macrumors 603


    Jan 7, 2014
    In between a rock and a hard place
    That hold them together thing is the stand holding the iPad

    Held together with magnets. That 4th piece is holding your iPad. Like you, I would need to see it reviewed AND put through its paces for a couple of months. On face value, it's a pretty slick piece of kit to me. Compact and extremely portable. But a $100? It would have to work with more than just iOS for me to find value.
  10. macduke macrumors G3


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    This is a really neat and considerate design. The way that the thing neatly tucks into the stand and uses the space bar as the battery are brilliant, as well as snapping it together with magnets. The software features are also great, such as the way that you can easily select and edit text and even jump by word or line. This is one of the biggest problems with current keyboard designs when used with an iOS device. I usually end up just using my finger, which slows down my workflow. The magnetic USB charger is also pretty cool, and can charge right off your iPhone charger which is a nice bonus.

    My biggest criticism is the use of brushed metal. Hopefully they will come out with a version that is bead blasted aluminum to match Apple products. I'd also like a black version as the current gray model looks rather bland. Beyond that I think a price of $79 is fair. Sure, this thing is neat and has value that might warrant $99. But I don't think the market will sustain that. This thing is pretty niche. $79 still puts it above many bluetooth keyboards.

    I'll wait for the reviews and if it's any good I'll order one. My wife loves her ClamCase for her iPad Mini, but it's a little too chunky for me. I like the slim profile of my Air 2 so just went with the Black leather Smartcover. Something like this would be really handy for meetings around campus since it fits in my pocket. Would also be interesting to use it to take notes on my iPhone 6 Plus.
  11. RichTF macrumors regular


    Nov 11, 2007
    London, UK
    Well this is something that a sensible person should definitely try out in person before buying…

    But hey, the product looks great, the tech seems clever, the design is very well thought-out, and I really love their website and demo videos. Soooo… *impulse buy*

    I'll report back in March. :D
  12. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    Oh come on! PLEASE don't try and reinvent the keyboard. The market is niche enough, and it's primarily people who want to work on their spreadsheets, writing, and whatever. The majority care mostly about the efficiency and the ability to use shortcuts like you would on an actual computer.

    It's clever, but completely useless for anything but typing some text messages and emails.
  13. 4jasontv macrumors 65816

    Jul 31, 2011
  14. Anonymous Freak macrumors 603

    Anonymous Freak

    Dec 12, 2002

    If it works completely reliably without having to look down, allowing full-speed touch typing, then this will be my perfect mobile keyboard. I prefer keyboards with an angle ("ergonomic" keyboards,) but there are no good full-or-nearly-full-size portable ones. So I'm using a compact BT keyboard (Microsoft Wedge Mobile.)

    If I can truly full-speed touch type on this, this will be amazing. I can't wait to try it in person.
  15. camnchar macrumors 6502


    Jan 26, 2006
    SLC, Utah
    That's a really, really cool device for typing on an iPhone in a place where portability is a must. For an iPad, I'd rather use a full size keyboard.
  16. lazyrighteye macrumors 68000


    Jan 16, 2002
    Denver, CO
    Not for me but an interesting take on an ultra portable keyboard. Hardware design appears smart as well.
    Look forward to the reviews...
  17. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
  18. kkillam macrumors member

    Aug 26, 2011
    Imagine this sort of thing on a MacBook pro with a larger sized trackpad (think Magic Trackpad, maybe bigger). I think that would be pretty cool.
  19. jayducharme macrumors 68040


    Jun 22, 2006
    The thick of it
    Interesting concept, if a bit pricey. I was wondering how difficult it would be to use when six letters sit on a single key. But then I noticed that each letter is dimpled, which would make it easier to instinctively find.

    I do agree with other, though: I hope there are demos available to try before buying. My main concern is how cramped it appears to be.
  20. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    Useless to you. What's wrong with people in a niche having a product they want? Why should there only be products for the majority?

    (Although I think the majority DO type a lot of messages and emails. And there are times when they'd carry a "pen" but not a computer.)

    This looks great to me! I'm at least curious, but I'll await reviews on how it's actually executed, of course. It could be terrible. And having some shortcut support would be an improvement, no question.
  21. mw360 macrumors 65816


    Aug 15, 2010
    Thought it looked ridiculous at first, but the edit keys video on their website sold it to me. Looks like a very nicely designed gadget. And they keys are actually bigger than a standard keyboard? That's clever.
  22. justperry, Jan 13, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015

    justperry macrumors G3


    Aug 10, 2007
    In the core of a black hole.
    Yeah, I guess this is useless for keyboard shortcuts as so many of us Mac users use.

    But, the video was amazing, if it really works that well it could be a hit, sadly the price is steep.

    Edit: I would like to know if this can be used for other languages as well, it seems to me this is software controlled, if this is the case then it needs different software for different languages.
  23. goobot macrumors 603


    Jun 26, 2009
    long island NY
    Looks cool but like how everyone else said u would need to try before buy. Also I'm going to guess that bottom piece is the power source rather than a trackpad?
  24. ZipZap macrumors 603

    Dec 14, 2007
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