Hands-On With the Collapsible Magnetic 'TextBlade' Keyboard for iOS Devices

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Mar 6, 2015.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Back in January, WayTools, a company known for its high-quality NextEngine 3D laser scanner, surprised the world with a collapsible, magnetic keyboard unlike anything we had seen before. Called the TextBlade, the keyboard garnered a significant amount of attention from the media and from prospective buyers who were intrigued with its unique design.

    Commenters here on MacRumors and across the Internet were immediately curious about the TextBlade, and had several questions. How does it work? How easy is it to use? What's the learning curve? How does it feel?

    Today we're going to answer all of those questions and more. Yesterday, WayTools invited MacRumors to visit its headquarters in Santa Monica to get an exclusive hands-on first look at the TextBlade. We met with WayTools CEO Mark Knighton, and a group of engineers who helped develop the product to get details on how it works and to try it out for ourselves.


    The first thing that's important to know about the TextBlade is that its design, which is the culmination of years of work and experimentation, has been engineered to be completely different from any keyboard that's on the market today.

    According to Knighton, the company did not set out to develop a keyboard for the iPhone or the iPad, they set out to develop a keyboard that's a better experience, overall, than any available keyboard, mobile or desktop.

    Portability is one of the key qualities that dictated the design of the TextBlade. The team at WayTools firmly believes that an accessory designed for the iPad or the iPhone should be smaller than the device itself. The TextBlade is approximately 1/3 of the size of an iPhone and it weighs an ounce and a half, so it's barely noticeable in a shirt or pants pocket.

    Click here to read rest of article...

    Article Link: Hands-On With the Collapsible Magnetic 'TextBlade' Keyboard for iOS Devices
  2. Motawa macrumors 6502

    Jun 24, 2012
  3. jclo Editor


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2012
    If anyone has questions about the TextBlade, feel free to ask. I spent a few hours meeting the TextBlade team and typing on it yesterday afternoon.
  4. HobeSoundDarryl, Mar 6, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2015

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    Thanks for a good, detailed review (great mix of description, pictures and video). It looks pretty cool and I'll be interested to give it a try. It looks like this group tried to think of every little detail, which is nice to see.
  5. MountainApple macrumors newbie


    Sep 24, 2011
    Guys, what's your deal - is this an advertisement or reporting?
  6. Asthmatic Kitty macrumors member

    Asthmatic Kitty

    Sep 29, 2014
    I have a question - what the hell was that shot at the end of the video where it drops into a jeans pocket? were they trying to make it look like bad CGI?
  7. Junipr macrumors regular


    May 4, 2011
    More like NoWayTools... haha... ok i'll walk myself out now
  8. Knunez macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2015
    New Jersey
    Obviously an advertisement, this might be the longest post I've seen on Macrumors. Good review though, at least it's in-depth.
  9. fiveainone macrumors 6502a

    Sep 16, 2011
    How many mistakes did you make when typing one letter but ends up pressing the letter next to it? From the video it seems like it's moving two keys at the same time or something..

    Also how does it feel compare to the full size Apple flat keyboards? Typing same speed? more careful?
  10. Kariya macrumors 68000


    Nov 3, 2010

    The new MS keyboard is far more appealing. I want a keyboard not a scrabble tray.
  11. kingofwale macrumors 6502a


    Apr 24, 2010
    stopped watching when it said "it types better than laptop"

    yeaaaaah, you wish.
  12. neilw macrumors regular

    Aug 4, 2003
    New Jersey
    I am generally weary of seeing this sort of complaint on tech web sites, but I have to say that the writing of this particular article really bothered me. So much of it sounds like it was straight out of the company's marketing materials, and then at the end there's even a recommendation that it's a good purchase despite the fact that Juli didn't spend long enough with it to achieve fast typing speed. I expect better from MacRumors.

    That said, this is certainly an interesting little gadget. I will look forward to a real, multi-day review, where the reviewer spends sufficient time to find out what can really be achieved with it.
  13. osaga macrumors 6502

    Jun 11, 2012
    There are people who have ipads who no longer use their laptop. I don't get those people. They're not techies, they're not programers, they find computers frustrating. They're not going to know how to update drivers, downsize photos for emailing etc. and so iPads are a joy for them. For me ipads are a slow inefficient way to do many things, but make great portable devices. The text blade looks to be a very very well thought out product. If I typed on an ipad while sitting at a table I'd buy it.
  14. jclo Editor


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2012
    I didn't have that happen at all, even though I was new to the keyboard. There are eight total keys, each of which has multiple letters. Sensors underneath each key determine where you're hitting on the key to type the actual letter so you're not hitting multiple letters even though they're all on the same key. It seemed pretty accurate, I had zero instances where I got a mistyped letter.

    It actually felt fairly similar to the full sized Apple keyboards because the key spacing is the same and so is the amount of force that it takes to press down a key.

    It definitely felt better than a lot of the mobile keyboards I've used. Most of those shrink the keys together so there's not a standard amount of space between the keys. And on most of those, you're not really getting the same key feel as you do on a desktop computer. The keys on the TextBlade were really solid.
  15. wilhoitm macrumors 6502

    Jul 22, 2002
    Can I use this TextBlade keyboard with the Apple Watch? That would be awesome. I think?
  16. OneMike macrumors 603


    Oct 19, 2005
  17. QuarterSwede macrumors G3


    Oct 1, 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    For those of you who haven't heard of this thing before don't dismiss it so fast. It's an evolution of the keyboard and it's brilliant. If it works as well as its designed to it'll be more efficient and therefore faster. Plus it's crazy small.
  18. KrakaJap macrumors member

    Jul 10, 2008
    You said tap on the spacebar/battery to release the sub charging chip thing. What exactly do you mean by tap? Will this thing simply fall out if jostled around too much in your pocket? Or does it take a good bit of force to remove it? Or is it like some microSD slots that are push button released? I pre-ordered one of these a while back and should receive it early next month.
  19. usersince86 macrumors 6502


    Oct 24, 2002
    Columbus, Ohio
    Honestly, this looks very promising, and it's nice to see something that's truly innovative.

    Good luck! Not sure I'll be buying one, but it looks pretty cool.
  20. Arcady macrumors 6502


    May 24, 2002
    Lexington, KY
    This is the hokiest looking keyboard I have ever seen.

    My iPad keyboard case uses no room at all, besides making the ipad a little fatter, and it is instantly available when I open it up. And it costs less.

    And how long til Blackberry sues them for making a keyboard?
  21. Felix01 macrumors regular

    Oct 22, 2008
    How do you type special characters like a degree sign or an umlaut?
  22. Liquorpuki macrumors 68020


    Jun 18, 2009
    City of Angels
    Unless you need to carry a keyboard in your pocket 24/7, I'd just get the MS Foldable one

    Same price and you don't have to play legos everytime you need to type something
  23. amirite macrumors 6502a

    Aug 17, 2009
    There's no way they'd go into this much detail (with so much praise) about a third-party product without being paid to :rolleyes:

    MR should make it clear that this is a paid advertisement.
  24. jclo Editor


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2012
    I want to make it very clear that this is in no way an advertisement. WayTools did not pay us to do this post. None of our posts are advertisements. Ever. We don't work that way.

    I spent many hours with WayTools employees yesterday, watching them type on the TextBlade, typing on it myself, and looking at each and every component that goes into it. I spent time learning about the way that it works, the effort that went into it, and what you're able to do with it.

    I was genuinely impressed. I'm not out to deceive anyone or parrot marketing materials. WayTools is doing something with keyboards that no one else is doing and a lot of what they're bringing to the table in the TextBlade objectively innovative.

    Pointing out that I didn't get to use it for a long period of time is a very fair criticism of this post. I had a limited amount of time to type on it, but I will say that I felt my typing speed improving over the course of an hour and I extrapolated from there. I also talked with employees who had been using it for months and months on end and observed them typing on it -- they were fast.

    I didn't just blatantly say this is a good purchase, and I didn't base it on my results with typing speed -- I said it's worthwhile if you're looking for something portable and if you're willing to try a new experience. I think this holds true.

    By the way, for anyone who purchases the TextBlade, either based on this post or just because it looks interesting, there's a return policy. You can send it back if you don't like it.
  25. SchneiderMan macrumors G3


    May 25, 2008
    The key layout is irregularly spaced. Can't see myself using something like this.

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312 March 6, 2015