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

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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 is brimming with advanced technology, including the World's first physical MultiTouch Keys, ultra low energy Bluetooth Smart, and the first MultiLayer Keys, bringing symbols and editing to home row ... all engineered into the most compact touch-type machine ever produced.
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.

Keyboard covers shrink keys, and fatten your tablet. Not TextBlade.You get full 19mm finger spacing - the same as a desktop.Precision keys outperform a MacBook Pro, with full 2mm travel and extra large keytops. TextBlade's innovative frameless array eliminates all keyboard shudder, with rock-solid grip that hugs the table closer than a MacBook Air, so it's even easier on your wrist. TextBlade's ultra-low profile is half as thick as an iPhone 6.
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
 

stiligFox

macrumors 65816
Apr 24, 2009
1,226
705
10.0.1.3
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!
 
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jclo

Editor
Staff member
Dec 7, 2012
1,675
3,356
California
Cool idea, but I don't think I want to learn a *new* way to type.

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.
 
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ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,926
4,787
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.
 
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Deelron

macrumors regular
Jan 30, 2009
234
113
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?

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.
 
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peteullo

macrumors regular
Dec 13, 2009
244
56
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.
 
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69Mustang

macrumors 604
Jan 7, 2014
7,580
14,371
In between a rock and a hard place
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?

That hold them together thing is the stand holding the iPad

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.

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.
 
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macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
11,159
15,116
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.
 
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RichTF

macrumors regular
Nov 11, 2007
196
471
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
 
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Jessica Lares

macrumors G3
Oct 31, 2009
9,337
818
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.
 
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Anonymous Freak

macrumors 603
Dec 12, 2002
5,349
719
Cascadia
Interesting...

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.
 
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camnchar

macrumors 6502
Jan 26, 2006
434
415
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.
 
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lazyrighteye

macrumors 68020
Jan 16, 2002
2,041
861
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...
 
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kkillam

macrumors member
Aug 26, 2011
46
25
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.
 
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jayducharme

macrumors 68040
Jun 22, 2006
3,835
3,830
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.
 
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nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,546
1,196
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.

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.
 
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mw360

macrumors 68000
Aug 15, 2010
1,686
1,666
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.
 
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justperry

macrumors G4
Aug 10, 2007
11,271
7,410
I'm a rolling stone.
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.

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.
 
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goobot

macrumors 603
Jun 26, 2009
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2,649
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?
 
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