Ditching ASK For On-Screen Keyboard

Discussion in 'iPad' started by spiderman0616, Apr 5, 2018.

  1. spiderman0616 macrumors 68040

    spiderman0616

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2010
    #1
    I wanted to get some feedback from people regarding the 10.5" iPad Pro's on-screen keyboard. I typically carry my Pro around with the Apple Smart Keyboard Cover attached. I also own a standard Smart Cover that I have seldom used up until lately. I have a work issued Macbook Air that I use during the day, but for personal stuff and after hours work stuff, I use my iPad Pro exclusively. My iPad Pro and iPhone X are my main computers for the most part.

    So lately I've been thinking a little bit about how I USUALLY use my iPad Pro. I really love the Apple Smart Keyboard as far as how it feels and conveniently folds up and acts as a cover too. BUT, it makes the overall setup heavier and a little clunkier (just as any other Bluetooth keyboard cover would), and I've found that whether I'm out and about or just sitting around the house using my iPad, I often just switch over to the on-screen keyboard when I need to type something.

    The 10.5" iPad Pro is the first model of iPad where I've felt like I can comfortably type on the screen similar to how I type on a normal keyboard. I would always want to use the ASK for more long form typing, but for quickly sending out a tweet or e mail, or even posts like this one, the on-screen keyboard usually does the job just fine and allows me to get back to what I was doing quicker.

    I kind of miss the days of that nice thin overall package of just iPad + Smart Cover (and some kind of thin back cover), so I've been experimenting with that setup for the last few days. Have any of you been successful in mostly ditching the ASK for the on-screen keyboard? I feel like I'm getting much better at it after a couple of days of practice.
     
  2. sparksd macrumors 68000

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    Jun 7, 2015
    Location:
    Seattle WA
    #2
    I bought the ASK for my 10.5 iPP but found I don't care for it as a general use case/cover. I got a Zugu Prodigy X case that has multiple viewing angles and are held in place such that every viewing angle is bombproof even when typing with the on-screen keyboard. I have a couple of Bluetooth keyboards I can also use with it but I generally use the on-screen keyboard. Net result is that I never use the ASK. I also have a lighter weight case and an Otterbox Defender (too many cases) but far prefer the Zugu.
     
  3. spiderman0616 thread starter macrumors 68040

    spiderman0616

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    Aug 1, 2010
    #3
    I have been using the ASK for almost two straight years as my main keyboard, but lately have been doing some soul searching as far as how much I REALLY need it with me all the time. If I plan ahead a little bit I think it would be more beneficial to only bring it with me when I know I'm going to be "typing War and Peace" (as Steve Jobs once said). Most of the time when I type stuff, it's nothing I couldn't do almost as quickly on the on-screen keyboard.
     
  4. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #4
    I actually bought one and found for the price, its just not worth it. Lack of backlighting, not working in the apps that my kids were expecting. I think the issue is with the apps, but the fact remains it was not working as we had hoped. I returned it and we're back to the virtual keyboard
     
  5. spiderman0616 thread starter macrumors 68040

    spiderman0616

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2010
    #5
    Good to know--thanks!

    My issue has never been with apps, but just bulk, weight, and footprint. When I originally got my first iPad back in 2011 (iPad 2), I noticed after about a week that my laptop was sitting unused in its bag most of the time, and I eventually sold it. It was just too unwieldy on the train, in airplane seats, and anywhere else I wanted to use it that wasn't a table or desk. Recently I realized I had kind of painted myself into that corner again with the Apple Smart Keyboard. I DO use it to type long form things, but most of the time it's folded flat and around the back of my iPad unused, because it's usually easier to just quickly take care of business on the on-screen keyboard, especially if I'm also using my Apple Pencil at the same time.

    EDIT: Keep in mind, I plan on KEEPING my ASK, but I'd like to start leaving it at home more and only using it when needed.
     
  6. thisismyusername macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2015
    #6
    I use my ASK about 50% of the time. I'm a big fan of it and glad I purchased it. When I'm using my iPad in "tablet mode" (e.g. reading on the couch or in bed), I leave the ASK off. When I'm using my iPad in "laptop mode", I have the ASK on. This is one of the things I like most about the ASK... it's so easy to attach it when you need it and remove it when you don't. Lots of other iPad keyboard solutions are either too hard to get on and off, require charging, don't attach to the iPad at all, and/or make your iPad as thick as a laptop. The ASK is perfect for me.

    I always bring the ASK with me when I'm out and about because I often don't know what I'm going to need my iPad for.
     
  7. DNichter macrumors 604

    DNichter

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    Apr 27, 2015
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #7
    I use it all day in the office and love it. I am just as fast on it as I am any typical keyboard. At night around the house, I never use it and will rely on the on screen keyboard, which I am fast with as well. I feel it's only really valuable if you are using it at a desk.
     
  8. kazmac macrumors 604

    kazmac

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    Mar 24, 2010
    Location:
    On the silver scream
    #8
    I wish I'd returned mine within the 2 week exchange window as I never got comfortable with the combination of touch screen and type. Way overpriced for something that is just not worth the expense to me. I actually enjoying typing onscreen on the iPad Mini 4. I felt very productive on that and the iPhone 5.
     
  9. spiderman0616 thread starter macrumors 68040

    spiderman0616

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    Aug 1, 2010
    #9
    Thanks for the comments everyone--

    I just wanted to see if I was crazy or not. The nice thing about having both is that I can choose one or the other. Don't get me wrong--I do love the ASK and love having it available when I need it. But more often lately, I'm finding I don't need it once I'm not at my desk anymore.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 5, 2018 ---
    I like mine every bit as much as I like my Magic Keyboard--I'm with you there. I find that I"m able to type just as fast on either one as well.
     
  10. Phineasgage1848 macrumors newbie

    Phineasgage1848

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2016
    #10
    You’re not crazy, I have both and alternate them frequently. If I’m going to be working or typing quite a bit (like I should be now), I use the ASK. But there will be days on end that I don’t connect it and only use a regular Smart Cover if I’m just doing general, light things.
     
  11. spiderman0616 thread starter macrumors 68040

    spiderman0616

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    Aug 1, 2010
    #11
    That's the beauty of being able to swap them out so easily I suppose. I want to start taking advantage that ability more often. I like traveling light, and I think I actually use my Apple Pencil more than my ASK these days.
     
  12. Shirasaki macrumors 604

    Shirasaki

    Joined:
    May 16, 2015
    #12
    The too short key travel distance makes typing on the Smart Keyboard much more painful than Apple Bluetooth keyboard. I understand they want to keep the keyboard thin, but it downgrads the typing experience. Kinda like the new MacBook Pro keyboard. For long term typing, I still prefer a keyboard with decent travel distance, preferably backlight and some other features if possible.
     
  13. spiderman0616 thread starter macrumors 68040

    spiderman0616

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    Aug 1, 2010
    #13
    I had that problem more on the 9.7" ASK because it was just too cramped and forced me to angle my hands inward too much. The 10.5" doesn't give me that issue at all--I've adjusted quite well to it. BUT, I have noticed that lengthy typing on the screen seems to cause me some fatigue.
     
  14. Shirasaki macrumors 604

    Shirasaki

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    May 16, 2015
    #14
    Same for me. Not even long time. Just type on the screen a few minutes with fingers other than thumb already causes me some fatigue. Smart Keyboard did a bit better but not good enough. I really wish Apple could increase key travel distance so the experience could be much better, just like typing on old MacBook Air.
     
  15. spiderman0616 thread starter macrumors 68040

    spiderman0616

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    Aug 1, 2010
    #15
    I love the Macbook Air keyboard. Typing on it right now! It's a 2014 model that I have to use for work. Next year it's being replaced with a Macbook Pro when the service contract is up. I usually don't use it in laptop form--it's usually docked to my two monitors and used with Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse in clamshell mode.
     
  16. subjonas macrumors 68000

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    Feb 10, 2014
    #16
    Personally I hate any amount of typing with full onscreen keyboards (thumb typing on small onscreen keyboards for short periods is tolerable), so I need the ASK. Whenever I take my iPad (12.9) out of the house I carry it in a messenger bag, so for me the ASK isn’t any more trouble to bring. Like someone else said, I never know when I need to do a good amount of typing. (Of course it also serves as a stand and a screen protector—particularly when it’s in the bag). In the cases I only need to use the iPad without the ASK, then I separate the iPad from the ASK as I take it out of the bag. When I put the iPad back in my bag it magnetically clicks together with the ASK and it’s oh so satisfying every time.

    The only way I would consider ditching the ASK is if the stock iOS keyboard had swipe gestures and it worked VERY accurately (I’ve had too much frustration with swipe keyboard accuracy up until now, also I don’t fully trust third party keyboards anyway), or if iOS had system-wide handwriting recognition text input with the Apple Pencil.
     
  17. spiderman0616 thread starter macrumors 68040

    spiderman0616

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    Aug 1, 2010
    #17
    I’m not planning on fully ditching it— but I am going to start using my regular Smart Cover more and only taking the keyboard with me for extended jaunts outside the house. I guess yet another option would be to just take it off and set it down when I dont need it.

    I just want to see if I can become adept enough on this on screen keyboard that I feel comfortable traveling a little lighter sometimes
     
  18. sracer macrumors 604

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    #18
    I can relate to some of your love-hate (maybe "hate" is too strong a word) of the ASK. I've been trying 2 basic approaches with my 12.9 Pro...

    First, is to tote the Pro with the ASK attached. Although it is, IMO, the lightest and most convenient way to use a keyboard on-the-go, it still seems bulky (relatively speaking). When I'm at the office and want to use it as a tablet, rather than detach it, flip it over and reattach it (so that the microfiber side is against the back of the iPad), I'll just detach the iPad from the ASK.

    The second, is to tote the Pro with only a smartcover. I keep a Logitech K380 BT keyboard on my desk in my office. When I want to use a keyboard, I'll use the K380. The K380 is nice because it can pair up with 3 separate devices (my 12.9 iPad Pro, iPad Mini 4, and iPhone SE). Great for those times when I leave my iPad home and need to Message with my wife, it's easy to use the K380 with the iPhone SE. When I take the 12.9 Pro to a meeting, I'll leave the K380 behind and use the onscreen keyboard and Pencil. If I know that the meeting will require me to use split-screen, then I'll bring the K380

    Option #2 has been working pretty well so far.
     
  19. spiderman0616 thread starter macrumors 68040

    spiderman0616

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    Aug 1, 2010
    #19
    One thing that makes it a little easier on me is that I work from home full time these days, so the ASK is always close by if I really need it. If I’m going to go sit at my kids soccer practice for 2 hours and think I’ll be doing lots of emails for work while I’m there or something like that, I can always just swap out.
     
  20. subjonas macrumors 68000

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    Feb 10, 2014
    #20
    So I take it you don’t carry your iPad in some sort of bag? You hand carry it out of the house? In that case, I can see how carrying the extra bulk of the ASK is a decision.
     
  21. spiderman0616 thread starter macrumors 68040

    spiderman0616

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    Aug 1, 2010
    #21
    Little of both actually. I have a Swiss Gear bag I use to carry it in bad weather or if I think it needs a little extra protection for the situation. If I have it in the bag I will most likely put the keyboard on it.
     
  22. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    Oct 9, 2005
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    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    #22
    I have never bothered with the ASK. Aside from the fact that I think it makes the iPad Pro too bulky, I really don't need it and don't care for the fact that there is no flexibility in adjustment of the position of the keyboard. I have Smart Covers on my two iPad Pros (10.5 and 12.9) and that works out very well for me. At home, when sitting out on my deck in nice weather, I will use Apple's BT keyboard, with the iPad on a stand, which then makes everything easy to adjust to just the position I need. When lounging in bed with the iPad at home, I'll use the built-in keyboard for short messages. On a trip away from home I also will just use the keyboard on the iPad itself, since I don't take the external BT keyboard with me and often in those situations I'm simply quickly responding to an email or a forum comment anyway, not writing anything lengthy....
     
  23. muzzy996 macrumors 6502

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    Feb 16, 2018
    #23
    As I'm reading the comments in this thread I have to remind myself that we're all different and most of it is subjective I guess . . Still, its interesting sometimes just to hear what others do or think so I thank the OP for this thread.

    When it's not in my messenger bag I carry around my iPad Pro 12.9 with ASK just in hand like a book and don't mind the bulk much at all. I go caseless with just a skin on the back of my iPad so that probably factors into my feelings about not being too bulky. Like many though I do make an evaluation whether or not to take the iPad with me to certain things and I'm sure the size of it factors in but I don't think I let the ASK factor into that equation. It's more about whether or not I'm going to spend any quality time with the device.

    I don't mind the lack of backlight either, I turn that function off on my MacBook as I can type just fine in complete darkness, YMMV.

    When I lack a surface to prop the iPad onto I'll switch to on screen keyboard but there's no way I could honestly say that I can type as well on it as a keyboard. I typically average about 65 wpm or so on a keyboard and I'd be hard pressed to be able to do that on an on screen keyboard, though I am sure that people can. For me the greatest turnoff about on screen keyboards is that they take up screen space.
     
  24. Shirasaki macrumors 604

    Shirasaki

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    May 16, 2015
    #24
    I have one 2014 MacBook Air for my personal need. And to be honest, that air is not a beast but portability is insanely good. Sometimes I only need to carry the air to finish my job. Do more than iPad and almost the same size as 12.9” iPad Pro. Insane. Typing on it is really comfortable and the trackpad is much better than new trackpad on new MacBook. I know iPad does not need a trackpad, and touching on the screen is not that bad compared with using trackpad. But omg, what a beautiful machine (I mean the air).
     
  25. spiderman0616 thread starter macrumors 68040

    spiderman0616

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    Aug 1, 2010
    #25
    I do kind of like my Air. It’s still holding its own. But I can’t say I ENJOY using it like I do with my iPad Pro.
     

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