SMS issue may throw me off the phone :(

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Ubuntu, May 15, 2007.

  1. Ubuntu macrumors 68000


    Jul 3, 2005
    I really like the iPhone, but I text a lot, and I can't imagine it working too well with that phone, can you? There'd be no feedback. I'm glad that Apple is being our saviour with the whole "These other phones have buttons that can't change" dilemma but they can provide tactile feedback for texting, which is handy. I think the SMS issue is a bigger one that the buttons being unchangeable.

    Is anyone else concerned?
  2. joshysquashy macrumors 6502a

    May 13, 2005
    i am also concerned, i text way more than ring and am worried that this will be more awkward. hopefully with practice it will become second nature, only time will tell. no doubt it will come up time and time again as a niggle.

    even despite things like this, there is some primeval instinct in me that says i want it, i need it, i MUST have it!!! its a worrying sort of feeling!

    i would kill for one, literally (well maybe not, but i will spend way more than i should on it)!
  3. neven macrumors 6502a

    Oct 10, 2006
    Portland, OR
    I think tactile feedback is very important, but I think we'll learn to live without it. The important thing to consider is what all you'll gain with the iPhone vs. what you'll lose.

    I personally can't stand typing anything on my RAZR. I've tried using a BlackBerry, and the keys felt small and awkward. I have no idea how iPhone will feel, but no current handheld typing device has impressed me, so if iPhone is equally clumsy or a little more clumsy, I think I'll live with it since it will compensate by offering so much more in terms of features, ease of use, and the way it will fit into my digital workflow.

    Here's an analogy: I could stop, play, and adjust volume on my Walkman without looking down easier than I can today on my iPod. It had giant, dedicated buttons that were easily recognized by touch. Does it mean I want to go back to my Walkman, or even that iPods should have the same type of buttons on them? Hell no.
  4. buymeaniphone macrumors 6502


    Feb 8, 2007
    San Antonio, Texas
    Good point neven! I think everyone is getting a little too worried about the touchscreen typing. I personally feel a little awkward typing on my Treo since I have larger hands. The beauty of the iPhone is that its specially designed for use with your fingers. I think it will take time to get used to, but just wait and see, a few months from now people will be saying how much nicer it is to type on a touch screen with auto correction than it is on tiny tic tac sized buttons. Who knows, maybe it'll be possible to type with the phone in landscape mode which will make the buttons bigger and easier to hit.
  5. bartelby macrumors Core

    Jun 16, 2004
  6. mpw Guest

    Jun 18, 2004
    Have you tried a Nokia 9300i? I send 500+ texts a month from mine probably close to 100 today alone, it's great to type on.

    I wouldn't recommend you get one now though as the much, much better specced E90 will be out soon that does everything you could possible want, more than the iPhone, but obviously the syncing is the iPhone's killer app.
  7. mugwump macrumors regular

    Jan 10, 2004
  8. r6girl Administrator/Editor


    Staff Member

    Sep 6, 2003
    i'm a little worried too - my current and last 2 phones all had full keyboards (treo 680, SE p990i, and blackberry 8700c). but, i'm sure i'll adapt (come hell or high water and i *will* like it :D ). my current treo doesn't give the greatest tactile feedback as it is (i sometimes press a key twice because i can't feel that the button was depressed sufficiently). but i find that when i pay attention to the output on the screen more, i don't do that anymore. i'm thinking that learned behavior will transfer over when i use the iphone.
  9. mpw Guest

    Jun 18, 2004
    treo 680, keyboard = check
    Blackberry, keyboard = check
    SE p990i, keyboard = LOL. Seriously you call that a keyboard?!
  10. Jayrod macrumors regular

    Jul 18, 2006
    My friend has a pockt pc/cellphone. It is all touchscreen (no buttons). I messed around on his phone a bit to get a feel of what an all touch screen phone would be like, and texting was not a problem at all. It was a little tough to do one-handed, but other than that, no complaints. I expect the iPhone to be even more responsive with its patented multi-touch technology.
  11. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    People like to think a physical keyboard is better because that's what we use all day on computers. But we use BIG keyboards, big enough to TOUCH type without looking. (And that's good because unlike a handheld device, computer keyboards are often too far from the screen to see well while you work.)

    But a tiny handheld keyboard is right in your line of sight, less than an inch from the screen, and too small for your desktop touch-typing habits to apply anyway.

    So I'd say it comes down to preference--not a magic "rule" that physical keys are always better. Some will prefer one, some will prefer the other--and both take some time to get used to and be efficient with. Maybe the time to get used to the touchscreen is a little longer before you're efficient--I can't say.

    Tactile feedback IS nice, but an iPhone has its own very clear visual feedback (popup letter images) and probably an audible feedback option too. And it does have some tactile feedback: you CAN feel when you touch the screen. It's not as though you won't know whether you touched the virtual key or not. (Even physical keys don't always have a clear tactile click to tell you when you make the contact--some have a soft squishy feel.)

    So, leaving aside personal preference (which nobody can judge until the iPhone is out there), and assuming we're comparing SMALL devices (in other words, the keys are tiny), I'll weigh the pros of physical vs. iPhone keys:

    Pros of physical keys:

    1. Many people like the familiar (though not computer-like) feel. Small keys vary a lot, sometimes arranged in awkward curves, and some have a very POOR feel, but at least it's a feel!

    Pros of iPhone multitouch keys:

    1. With tiny physical keys, they really ARE as small as they look: you must be careful not to hit the other keys located less than a finger-width away from the letter you want. But with virtual keys on an iPhone, you're MEANT to touch the keys around the one you want. The iPhone recognizes the key in the center of your press, ignoring the other contacts. In other words, each key on the iPhone is functionally much larger--and more effectively spaced away from its neighbors--than it appears! And therefore much easier to quickly hit the key you want and ONLY the key you want. You can get out of the habit of worrying about nearby keys.

    2. iPhone's aggressive on-the-fly spell-check with easy auto-correction.

    3. The iPhone keyboard can adapt (functionally and visibly) to different contexts. For instance, when entering a URL there's a big ".com" shortcut button.

    4. Virtual keys can be used in both portrait and landscape orientations without bulky, fragile hinges and pivots. Apple has not announced whether they will implement landscape typing, but they could. (Resulting in bigger keys and a wider typing area--and only when you choose: your choice of two keyboard sizes vs. two sceen sizes at will.)

    5. Physical keys force the device's screen to be MUCH smaller, all the time, and/or the device itself to be MUCH larger! That's a high price to pay. The iPhone is thinner and lighter than most "smart" phones, and yet fits a much larger, higher-res screen (and much larger storage).

    6. Virtual keys can be more clearly labeled and less confusing. Because they don't have to display multiple functions per key at all times. iPhone's punctuation labels appear when needed, for instance, leaving clean alphabet labels the rest of the time.

    7. iPhone's scrolling is better, and allows you to move the insertion point with a touch instead of multiple button presses. These tasks are often part of typing. Some physical-keyboard devices do also have a touchscreen, but even those devices tend to use old-fashioned scrollbars (which shrink the screen view even more) instead of iPhone's intuitive 3-mode scrolling: drag to scroll precisely, flick to scroll fast, tap a letter on the right to jump through long lists. (And iPhone's scroll interface takes zero screen space--yet still has visible scrollbars that appear WHILE scrolling, just to show you where you are.)

    8. Virtual keys don't get dirty, jammed, or become unreliable like physical keys. They don't break off, and they don't catch on your pocket or carry case.

    9. Virtual keys are extremely easy to see in dark settings!

    So... is the "nice feel" of a tiny physical keyboard worth giving up those benefits? For some people, yes. That's a personal call. But other people--even "business people" (like myself) will PREFER to type on an iPhone.

    Also note that the iPhone removes one DISadvantage of touchscreens: errors from stray touches due to holding the device. One benefit of Apple's multitouch technology is that it intelligently ignores those extra touches.
  12. Lixivial macrumors 6502a


    Jan 13, 2005
    Between cats, dogs and wanderlust.
    My phone has three to four letters on each key. Tapping the key to get the right letter is so obnoxious that it really outweighs any benefit tactile feedback provides. I know that not all phones are like this anymore, but it really sucks when I accidentally hit the key too many times and skip the letter I'm going after. It also still requires a lot of attention, even with memorization of the key taps.

    And as a few others have stated; auto-correction on the iPhone looks to be quite good. My phone is so retarded when it comes to auto-correction, and I like to write out my words rather than use TXT SPK.

    So, from my perspective, the iPhone should, at the very least, be on par with other high end/smart phones out there. And that's all I ask, really.
  13. mpw Guest

    Jun 18, 2004
    Obviously this depends on the keypad, you seem to be using the worst case scenario for the 'physical' keypad while talking-up imo the iPhone. I'll compare it to the Nokia 9300i that I use daily, though the Nokia is of course something like a 3year old design so you'd expect the Apple to wipe the floor with it, the Nokia is soon to be replaced by the E90 which will be a contemporary of the iPhone, so I'll compare with that where specs are known.

    Well the keys on the 9300i are plenty big enough for my large thumbs so this is a non issue really. 0/0

    Well I haven't (and nor have you I assume) used this so I don't know how well it'll work, also it's hardly a keypad feature is it? The iPhone is yet to be released, I'm sure that the next generation of smartphones will have similar features as processors improve with SE/Nokia/LG etc. some may already have spellcheck?? 0/0

    This is an advantage for a touchscreen. 1/0

    Well isn't that kinda the same as your last point? As for bulky fragile hinges, obviously a hinge has more bulk than no hinge, but fragility is a question of good design and build quality, my Nokia has had some very rough treatment, including being dropped in a bath and it's fine. I wonder how well the iPhone exposed screen is going to handle 'abuse'?? 1/0

    Which is good for playing movies and viewing pictures but of course for the same reason it means that when you do want to type something that 'extra' screen estate is taken up by the on-screen softkeys. Resolution I'd expect competitors to surpass with contemporary products. 1/0

    Again this is pretty much the same point you made in '3'. 1/0

    I'm yet to try this out, but it does sound like it's gonna be cool. 2/0

    I've owned, and abused, many phones and never once had keys break off or catch on pocket etc. the '5' on an old SE got jammed after a couple of years though. But I think that screen is gonna be more fragile than most keypads and it will get dirty, and this will effect it's reliability I'd expect.

    as are back lit keypads, of course a screen-based keyboard is going to be harder to read in daylight the a keypad. 2/1

    er....keypad lock? Which do I trust more my tactile feel 'Did I just press a key?' or the iPhone's 'intelligence' 'Nar, he didn't mean that.' ??

    So, at the end of that the single advantage of a touchscreen over a physical
    keypad is the flexibility to change the layout contextually.....just like my 2year old Palm TX.

    I think the iPhone will be a success, but I don't think it's the revolutionary product that some are touting.
  14. r6girl Administrator/Editor


    Staff Member

    Sep 6, 2003
    hmmm, 35 keys and each letter of the alphabet with its own key in a qwerty layout? yeah, i call that keyboard. what do you call it? :D

    it may be small, but i found it useable (girl = small fingers). i really liked having the numeric keypad on the flip as well. up until i got it and used it regularly, it seemed like the perfect phone...

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  15. furious macrumors 65816


    Aug 7, 2006
  16. dcv macrumors G3

    May 24, 2005
    I loves me some Sony Ericsson but I found that P990i ridiculously large and the keys too fiddly. I've got the M600i; the rocker keys (2 letters per key) take some getting used to initially but typing is pretty good after a while. I can't wait to see the iPhone but not sure how typing on it will compare to a qwerty keyboard. Will probably end up buying the P1i when it's released.
  17. szsiddiq macrumors 6502


    Dec 21, 2005
    it be nice if they used some sort of vibrating feedback, similar to the Wii onscreen keyboard. Each letter or type of button could have a slightly different feedback so that the user would eventually learn and know if they hit the wrong button.
  18. JMax1 macrumors 6502


    Oct 17, 2006
    Harlem, NY
    I do a lot of texting without looking at the phone, i can imagine it tough without the tactile feeling. however, when I do it while driving, it's very unsafe. I don't think I'd do that without looking while driving with an iPhone, so in essence it would increase my safety while driving.

    With the maxOS on it, perhaps there could be some development of voice recognition for texting? Or perhaps it would be easier to just call the person at that point...
  19. bartelby macrumors Core

    Jun 16, 2004
    You know it's unsafe and you continue to do it?:rolleyes:
  20. r6girl Administrator/Editor


    Staff Member

    Sep 6, 2003
    those are nice. i would have gotten the m600 if it had a camera - that was the deal breaker for me. i really use my phone's camera a lot - to take pictures of books i want to buy in the future or of funny stuff i want to show my husband or friends (like a can of "spotted dick" i saw in the grocery store a couple of weeks ago - ewwwww!).

    i'd be tempted to get the p1i if, a) the iphone did not exist, b) if it would sync with my mac, and c) if i knew it would not be a repeat of the bad experience i had with the p990i.

    the p990 is a bit clunky. it was the thickness that was worse - it never really fit in my jeans pockets all that well and never really felt good in the hand. the p1i looks like the perfect size though, so i'm guessing it will be more pleasant to carry and use...
  21. whooleytoo macrumors 603


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    Yeah, my boss txts while driving too. Not recommended. Here, they're clamping down on people using phones while driving, even frowning on people with hands-free kits (which I think is overkill, personally). Anyone caught txting could be in lots more trouble.

    Text input really is the Achilles heel of portable computing devices, whoever masters it will make a fortune. I was genuinely hoping Apple would try something a little more adventurous. I recall one PDA-class device in the '90s which had (I think) a 5 button text entry system so you could type one-handed without even looking at the device. Obviously, the input scheme would have to be learnt (as with touch-typing), but the benefits would be great.
  22. JMax1 macrumors 6502


    Oct 17, 2006
    Harlem, NY
    I know I know!!!!

  23. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    Actually, an iPhone won't be hard to read in daylight any more than an iPod is. Try it :) An iPod has a reflective screen able to receive BOTH front and back-lighting. Not like a laptop that only works with backlighting and turns black in daylight. (I hope your Nokia is the same way, or else seeing the keys well but not the sceen would be little comfort.) [2/0]

    And your reasoning for suggesting that a bigger screen is not better seems a little off. [3/0] :)

    But as I say, it comes down to preference, and some keyboards are better than others. You really like your Nokia 9300i, and that's a perfectly good choice. For my needs and goals, a 9300i--or the new E90--would be far inferior. Not only is the screen smaller, but weight is greater, and about twice as thick as an iPhone. The newer Nokia is actually bigger than the old one--good for screen, bad for weight. Good for some consumers--bad for me :) And it lacks the iPhone's #1 feature: Apple usability. "Good enough" isn't good enough for me when it comes down to ease-of-use of a device I'll be using constantly.
  24. mpw Guest

    Jun 18, 2004
    You're rightin that it all comes down to personal preference, but I was countering your original post where you said you were putting that aside.

    Until I see an iPhone in daylight I'll reserve judgement on it's screen legibility. Yes my Nokia is usable in daylight, where my Palm TX isn't, but you were touting ease of use in the dark as a feature specific of a touchscreen, which it isn't.

    My point about the bigger screen comes down to what it's being used for. Yes if you're viewing movies a bigger screen is best, but if you're sending a text or email or just entering text to a document that 3.5"screen is halved in size to accomodate the text input and becomes smaller than the 2.6" screen on a phone with a fixed qwerty keypad like the SE P1i (which is smaller and lighter than the iPhone btw). So, no, in a thread specifically talking about the text inputting features of phones I don't think my reasoning was that off.
  25. Cooknn macrumors 68020


    Aug 23, 2003
    Fort Myers, FL
    My BlackBerry Pearl has two letters and a number or symbol on each key and uses SureType to guess what you are typing as you go. Because of this I get a slimmer (width) phone with bigger keys. The iPhone is so wide... The lack of tactile feedback wouldn't bother me so much as the size of the virtual keys. I type addresses into my Garmin GPS almost every day with no issues. It would be cool to see an option for an iPhone keyboard layout like the (slim) BlackBerry with something like SureType to guide you along as you type. Then we could have bigger keys and a slimmer iPhone form factor.

    this message was written on my BlackBerry :)

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