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TokyoMango publishes this Youtube video which demonstrates the Japanese keyboard from the iPhone 2.0 firmware:

We've previously posted screenshots of the iPhone 2.0 Japanese keyboards. Tokyo Mango describes the input method:
You can pick from a muti-tab style kana keyboard or a sliding keyboard. Japanese kana letters are organized in groups of five according to a beginning letter and corresponding vowels (a i u e o), so you can either put in the first letter and then hit the same key b/w 1-5 times to get the right sound, or you can put the first letter in and then scroll through to see all five sounds and pick the right one.


Article Link
 

mavis

macrumors 601
Jul 30, 2007
4,368
726
Tokyo, Japan
Looks pretty smooth, and a vast improvement over the current entry method. The locals are going to love this!!! :D
 

Mal

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2002
6,249
17
Orlando
So wait. I thought Japanese input also would allow for handwriting recognition like Chinese? I don't see any mention of that here, is that not the case? It was a big feature for me, as I'm learning Japanese and being able to draw a symbol I don't recognize to find it's meaning and pronunciation would be nearly priceless.

jW
 

jettoblack

macrumors member
Nov 1, 2006
70
0
So wait. I thought Japanese input also would allow for handwriting recognition like Chinese? I don't see any mention of that here, is that not the case? It was a big feature for me, as I'm learning Japanese and being able to draw a symbol I don't recognize to find it's meaning and pronunciation would be nearly priceless.

jW

Yeah, a lot of the Japanese press and tech pundits are fuming mad that the Chinese get HW recognition for kanji but the Japanese don't, even though it's mostly the same characters... for perspective, that's like giving a really nice English spellchecker to Scottish iPhones but disabling it completely for Irish phones... makes no sense at all. :mad:

Someone will probably make a Japanese dictionary for the iPhone, but it sure would be a lot easier if they didn't have to write their own kanji input method from scratch.
 

tbobmccoy

macrumors 6502a
Jul 24, 2007
935
165
Austin, TX
Yeah, a lot of the Japanese press and tech pundits are fuming mad that the Chinese get HW recognition for kanji but the Japanese don't, even though it's mostly the same characters... for perspective, that's like giving a really nice English spellchecker to Scottish iPhones but disabling it completely for Irish phones... makes no sense at all. :mad:

Someone will probably make a Japanese dictionary for the iPhone, but it sure would be a lot easier if they didn't have to write their own kanji input method from scratch.

this will make the iPhone even less popular in Japan, believe me. it should be at least 10 times easier to do hw recognition for japanese characters, since there are only about 120 kana characters and 1000ish kanji standardly used (10k or so would make it a college-level phone). a third party better come out with this soon...
 

mavis

macrumors 601
Jul 30, 2007
4,368
726
Tokyo, Japan
a third party better come out with this soon...
I'm sure Apple will take care of it, especially if it receives bad press here (which I kind of doubt it will - remember, most Japanese phones are so complicated, people don't know how to use them anyway. The iPhone is a HUGE step up, no matter what the text entry is) ... ;)
 

iSlicer

macrumors member
Feb 7, 2007
68
13
Himeji, Japan
this will make the iPhone even less popular in Japan, believe me. it should be at least 10 times easier to do hw recognition for japanese characters, since there are only about 120 kana characters and 1000ish kanji standardly used (10k or so would make it a college-level phone). a third party better come out with this soon...

Actually, there are over 80,000 Kanji (of course most are not used) and the standard set that you need to say, read a newspaper is 1945. This set will increase in the year 2010 to 1956 characters.

Also, in argument to a lot of the comments I often see here regarding asian languages, Japanese is very easy to learn and is much easier to speak than English and a hell of a lot easier to spell. Mandrin (one of several Chinese languages) is also very simple to learn, hence why it has become a major international language.

I still believe this iteration of the iPhone software for Japanese input is far from perfect. Japanese people type just as fast on a standard qwerty keyboard or kana keyboard as western people do on a qwerty. Not sure why this has to be so damn complicated on the iphone. It would be great however to have a Kanji HW recognition tool like the chinese get. Great for us learners.
 

iSlicer

macrumors member
Feb 7, 2007
68
13
Himeji, Japan
I'm sure Apple will take care of it, especially if it receives bad press here (which I kind of doubt it will - remember, most Japanese phones are so complicated, people don't know how to use them anyway. The iPhone is a HUGE step up, no matter what the text entry is) ... ;)

I do remember, and my Japanese phone from last year is really simple to use. "Remember", people in Japan actually write novels on their phones, so they can't be that complicated, or are they just devoting their extra 3 points (on average) of IQ to the use of the phone?
 

CaptainHaddock

macrumors 6502
Jul 6, 2004
382
0
Nagoya, Japan
That kana keyboard appears functionally equivalent to a regular Japanese phone now, which is nice.

What is harder to judge from the video is whether the predictive algorithms are as good, and whether they account for the post-fix structure of Japanese words. It's a real time saver if the software knows what particles or verb endings are most likely for what you've just typed, and suggests them for you. Mere dictionary prediction is inadequate.

Again, I see no indication of emoji or emoticon input — a major flaw in the iPhone.

They've made progress, but it still doesn't live up to the basic input of even the cheapest Japanese phone, so I probably can't justify the $100/mo. cost. :( I'd have to buy an iPhone for the software features and keep my regular phone for messaging.
 

mavis

macrumors 601
Jul 30, 2007
4,368
726
Tokyo, Japan
What is harder to judge from the video is whether the predictive algorithms are as good, and whether they account for the post-fix structure of Japanese words. It's a real time saver if the software knows what particles or verb endings are most likely for what you've just typed, and suggests them for you. Mere dictionary prediction is inadequate.

Again, I see no indication of emoji or emoticon input — a major flaw in the iPhone.
According to the store manager at the Softbank shop where I placed my pre-order (who has actually seen the iPhone), there is indeed no emoji support ATM. I'm sure that will be a major turn-off for many, although I couldn't care less. (>_<)○------(^o^)○

Also, the current input method (romaji) already suggests particles/conjugation/etc ... I don't see why they would've removed that feature.
 

Streetmentioner

macrumors newbie
Jan 14, 2008
4
0
While I'll admit I'm a little baffled that Apple would not have the recognition feature for Japan, I think it would be a novelty. I have to say that the shown entry method could very easily be faster than a recognition software, once a user gets used to it.

Think of it this way:

A given kana takes two taps to type out (which, I may add, in a CV syllabic system is exactly the same as it would take in Roman characters). The predictive engine throws up a selection of kanji after two kana. That's four taps, then a fifth to select the kanji.

This compared to kanji with, easily, 10+ strokes. Done with fingers instead of a mouse, that input I just saw looks like it would be faster than what I can do on my iPod Touch in English.

Hell, if I were to use a Japanese iPhone I'd prefer the system in that video to stroke recognition by far because I wouldn't have to produce the kanji from memory, just spell phonetically and go "Oh yeah!" when the right kanji pops up.

Granted, I'm not Japanese so that vote doesn't count, but simpler is simpler.
 

djgamble

macrumors 6502a
Oct 25, 2006
904
391
Let me substantiate on some of these claims about Japanese and their cellphones.

I'm a foreigner but have lived in Japan for 10 years and am a JLPT "level 1", which is the highest grade. I know around 3000 kanji.

Japanese people don't remember the kanji or the stroke order because they have hiragana and katakana! They really love cellphones, and the most popular method (on computers and phones) is to type in the "romaji" (english characters) and then have it converted into the Chineses "kanji" characters. That, or they just hit "ka" "ki" "ku" "ke" "ko" and scroll through until they get the sound they're looking at. Maybe more do that actually? But I know lots who just type in the English as it's easier (in my view... granted English was my first language, so I do have a big bias there).

Chinese character recognition includes the Japanese characters! I assure you... Kanji is "traditional" Chinese, they're exactly the same and have the same meanings! Exact same meanings, they're just pronounced differently, and compounds have different meanings. But... the handwriting recognition can't do compounds... what you do is enter characters using it, and then combine them together to get compounds. If you're using Japanese text entry then it shows the possible kana for the kanji (because compounds can be different depending on the context). But if you know your stuff it's easy to guess from that...

Nowadays the Chinese use "simplified" Chinese. But older people still know their traditional Chinese, so I'd doubt the handwriting recognition doesn't include traditional Chinese characters (AKA Japanese kanji).

Recognition of characters is done by your cellphone's camera in Japan, you just take a picture and it recognizes the character! Handwriting recognition is useless unless you know the correct stroke order! It's also really slow for entry of characters compared with typing in the English characters (as I said earlier).

So this is no breakthrough. Japanese people (and fluent speakers such as myself) want 2 things:

1) The camera to be able to recognize traditional Chinese characters.
2) Something like the current firmware 1.1.4 keyboard where you enter the English and it converts it into Kanji/Kana.

People don't want or need handwriting recognition. It's damn slow, and useless unless you know the correct stroke order in my experience (which would suggest you know the character anyway).

Most Japanese people are in fact forgetting the kanji (traditional chinese) characters because they use cellphones so much. They can read the kanji, but often can't remember how to write it.

So big rant... but 3 points:
1) The chinese handwriting recognition HAS to be Japanese as well, unless they've excluded traditional Chinese characters. They'd have to then cripple it for it to not work for Japanese people... it's seriously not that bigger feature (although Jobs has talked it up big time) because you need to know the character in order to use it 99% of the time, in which case you'll just enter the english sound.
2) The Japanese don't want handwriting recognition anyway. They are used to using their phone's camera for this, so will be pissed if the iPhone can't do that I'd be willing to guess... even if the handwriting recognition is freaking amazing...
3) The new keyboard isn't all that impressive as most Japanese people enter the text by typing in the english sounds. It will be most useful to people who bother scrolling through all the kana and selecting the right one (hey some people do).
 

mavis

macrumors 601
Jul 30, 2007
4,368
726
Tokyo, Japan
djgamble said:
1) The chinese handwriting recognition HAS to be Japanese as well, unless they've excluded traditional Chinese characters. They'd have to then cripple it for it to not work for Japanese people... it's seriously not that bigger feature (although Jobs has talked it up big time) because you need to know the character in order to use it 99% of the time, in which case you'll just enter the english sound.
While the characters may be the same, the handwriting recognition input screen is simply MISSING - it's not an option - when using Japanese input. That's why everyone is saying it doesn't work in Japanese. You'd have to switch to CHINESE input mode to get the handwriting recognition screen, to be able to input any characters that way. At least with the firmware the way it is currently.
djgamble said:
2) The Japanese don't want handwriting recognition anyway. They are used to using their phone's camera for this, so will be pissed if the iPhone can't do that I'd be willing to guess... even if the handwriting recognition is freaking amazing...
I've only lived in Japan for six years (as opposed to your ten) but in that time I've NEVER ONCE seen someone use their phone's camera to scan/recognize kanji. Not once. So, I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about there.

As for Japanese people not wanting handwriting recognition, I don't think it's necessarily that the feature would be particularly useful. It's more a matter of 'why is it only available for Chinese?' than anything else, from what I've gathered when talking to my Japanese friends. If you've lived here for ten years, I'm sure you know exactly why that might anger some Japanese. ;)

djgamble said:
3) The new keyboard isn't all that impressive as most Japanese people enter the text by typing in the english sounds. It will be most useful to people who bother scrolling through all the kana and selecting the right one (hey some people do).
The default entry method on most (all?) phones in Japan is entry by kana, not romaji. Walk into a Bic Camera, pick up any phone, start to compose an email, and see what character appears when you press the "2" key. I guarantee you it won't be an "a" - instead, you'll see a "か"... From Wikipedia's entry on Japanese input systems for keitai:

The system used to input Japanese on mobile phones is based on the numerical keypad. Each number is associated with a particular sequence of kana, such as ka, ki, ku, ke, ko for '2', and the button is pressed repeatedly to get the correct kana. Dakuten and handakuten marks, punctuation, and other symbols can be added by other buttons in the same way. Kana to kanji conversion is done via the arrow and other keys.

I realize that Wikipedia is not always the most accurate source of information, but this particular entry is spot-on. I've never once seen a Japanese person use a romaji to kanji conversion system on a mobile. In fact, on the three 3G mobiles I've got lying around here (two Sharps and a Toshiba), that method of entry is impossible - it's not even an option.

I guess my point is, the new kana entry system (which mimics the numeric keypad arrangement of every mobile phone sold here) will be familiar and quick for most (if not all) native Japanese to use. It is a vast improvement over the current romaji-kanji conversion system.
 

mmulin

macrumors 6502
Jun 22, 2006
404
0
another from japan comment

Someone will probably make a Japanese dictionary for the iPhone, but it sure would be a lot easier if they didn't have to write their own kanji input method from scratch.

still believe this iteration of the iPhone software for Japanese input is far from perfect. Japanese people type just as fast on a standard qwerty keyboard or kana keyboard as western people do on a qwerty. Not sure why this has to be so damn complicated on the iphone. It would be great however to have a Kanji HW recognition tool like the chinese get. Great for us learners.

As someone mentioned before, the demonstrated input method is the standard method for japanese mobile phones sold. This is nothing new to any phone user here. Unless, the mobile sports a full size keyboard being a smart phone. In this case you get the input method as used on PCs or right now featured on the iPod touch.

Nowadays the Chinese use "simplified" Chinese. But older people still know their traditional Chinese, so I'd doubt the handwriting recognition doesn't include traditional Chinese characters (AKA Japanese kanji).

Traditional Chinese is still used in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao, as well as in most chinese enclaves around SEA.

Recognition of characters is done by your cellphone's camera in Japan, you just take a picture and it recognizes the character!

Yes, there are a few models able to utilise the camera. But it is cumbersome and drawing it yourself usually goes easier.

Handwriting recognition is useless unless you know the correct stroke order! It's also really slow for entry of characters compared with typing in the English characters (as I said earlier).

For good writing style you would have learned the correct stroke order. I agree though, it is a somewhat slow method. Nevertheless, modern electronic dictionaries, as often used, already have a pretty good, OCR like, recognition system, which forgives mistakes in the stroke order and presents you with alternatives for each input. Also, handwriting recognition is still quite popular and workable on PDA style devices, sans multitouch. You should check it out. Seeing that mentioned devices are no match for the computing prowess of the iPhone, I believe, a good handwriting recognition is a definitely a good asset. Just imagine us foreigner, who don't have level 1, or the increasingly becoming kanji-illiterate japanese youth, to look up a Kanji without using above dictionaries.

This is exactly why I love the iPhone, unifying all my electronic luggage in on device.
 

CaptainHaddock

macrumors 6502
Jul 6, 2004
382
0
Nagoya, Japan
The default entry method on most (all?) phones in Japan is entry by kana, not romaji. Walk into a Bic Camera, pick up any phone, start to compose an email, and see what character appears when you press the "2" key. I guarantee you it won't be an "a" - instead, you'll see a "か"...

Agreed. I've never seen someone enter Japanese with romaji instead of kana even once. I've never even seen a phone that can do it; mine can't.

And while I hate to argue with someone who says he's lived in Japan and passed the JLPT-1, I don't know any Japanese people who text in English; even I don't like texting in English, it's way more cumbersome than texting in Japanese with kana input.

I agree that no Japanese person is likely to use handwriting input, except perhaps on a rare occasion using a rare or archaic kanji. (Some proper names aren't in cellphone dictionaries, for example.) It is silly to have the feature working for Chinese and not Japanese, though, and a gaijin like me would appreciate it when looking up the odd character in an online dictionary. It would be like allowing Latin handwriting for English but not French.
 

punkybadhip

Guest
May 23, 2008
41
0
So wait. I thought Japanese input also would allow for handwriting recognition like Chinese? I don't see any mention of that here, is that not the case? It was a big feature for me, as I'm learning Japanese and being able to draw a symbol I don't recognize to find it's meaning and pronunciation would be nearly priceless.

jW

I question if you are really learning Japanese. Once you know the basic kana, learning Japanese kanji is easy, and such a feature on the iphone for Japanese users would pointless. It is quicker and easier to type kana than trying to HW everything! If you have a poor teacher, and haven't figured out how to learn new kanji, then thats your problem! Such a feature (to learn new kanji on the iphone) is even more asinine! Get a dictionary!
 

kaician

macrumors member
Mar 8, 2008
30
0
I question if you are really learning Japanese. Once you know the basic kana, learning Japanese kanji is easy, and such a feature on the iphone for Japanese users would pointless. It is quicker and easier to type kana than trying to HW everything! If you have a poor teacher, and haven't figured out how to learn new kanji, then thats your problem! Such a feature (to learn new kanji on the iphone) is even more asinine! Get a dictionary!

I laughed when i read this. say you're walking along and see a sign written in kanji with a word you don't know. If it doesn't have the kana written out for it, how are you going to use the "kana" you know to look it up?

I have the HWpen or whatever chinese input installed on my jailbroken touch now, as well as iDic and a japanese dictionary. I used to use my Hermes as a dictionary that way because of chracter recognition, but now the ipod/iphone does it in more style. It's also really nice for getting better at handwriting kanji, since you have to remember it well to be able to write it out.

Problem with it now is that it is the chinese input system. When you put it into traditional mode to pop out japanese characters, 1- it pops out lots of characters you don't need. 2- it doesn't let you write ANY kana (hira-, kata-) which renders it useless for anything more than looking up words in the dictionary (which funny enough is it's prime purpose for writing japanese...)

Anyways, japanese handwriting recognition serves a purpose. looking up things, writing notes by hand when you feel in the mood (happens) , and think of the programs you could make for the iphone with that recognition. I know you guys here in japan know how popular the kanji training soft for the DS is over here. think about if that was on the iphone, and people could whip that out anytime and do it with their fingers... That might even help sell iphones.... It helps sell DSs (really:eek: )
 

punkybadhip

Guest
May 23, 2008
41
0
I laughed when i read this. say you're walking along and see a sign written in kanji with a word you don't know. If it doesn't have the kana written out for it, how are you going to use the "kana" you know to look it up?

The same way everyone else does perhaps, including native Japanese? The quickest, and easiest method, that also serves the purpose of learning the correct stroke order! :rolleyes:

Like I said, I doubt you are learning Japanese. As when you start learning more than the basic 100 kanji, you learn how to identify new kanji.
 

kaician

macrumors member
Mar 8, 2008
30
0
The same way everyone else does perhaps, including native Japanese? The quickest, and easiest method, that also serves the purpose of learning the correct stroke order! :rolleyes:

Like I said, I doubt you are learning Japanese. As when you start learning more than the basic 100 kanji, you learn how to identify new kanji.

JLPT level 1 here as well. i can tell you from experience, there is nearly nothing faster than writing out a kanji you don't know and having it pop up for you. this is possible if you DO know correct stroke order. If you can look at a kanji and be able to write it out, it beats looking at it, counting the strokes, and THEN picking it from a list of kanji with the same number of strokes. Especially when you're looking for a compound of 2, or god-forbid, 3 kanji....
 
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