Whether your tablet of choice is an iPad mini or a Galaxy Tab, we’ve all had that moment when we’ve gone to type an email or quick social media status, and been stymied by the size of a tablet. Tablets are too big for the thumbs-only typing that smartphones encourage, but without the physical feedback of a keyboard, even the best typist has trouble keeping her fingers on the right keys.
Tech has offered a variety of solutions for iPad mini typists, from blue tooth keyboards to apps like Swype, which allow the user to type by moving one finger over the keyboard. They’re better than nothing, but a company called Tactus has created a solution that’s revolutionary.
The Verge reported on Tactus in February; the company had originally considered creating a tablet which would use nearly invisible channels to create tactile key guides on command. What they ended up shipping is the Phorm, an all-in-one case, screen protector, and keyboard for the iPad mini. To activate the key guides, the user moves a slide on the back of the case; to remove them, move the slide again.
Apple Insider offered some specs on the weight and size of the iPad mini case.
“It weighs roughly 180 grams (6.3oz) and fits the mini snugly, contributing only 3mm to the overall thickness of the device (2mm on the back and 1mm on the front). For those keeping score, that’s roughly half the weight and and only a quarter the thickness of other protective cases that include a built-in keyboard component.”
Both Apple Insider and Mac Rumors point out that the small fluid filled “buttons” on the screen of the Phorm are not designed to serve as keys themselves; rather, they are present to help guide the user’s fingers to the right keys by giving some feedback as to where on the keyboard their thumbs are.
Nathan Ingraham at the Verge noted some of the limitations of the new iPad mini case. The device only works while the iPad mini is in portrait mode, for example, and is still intended to be used while thumb typing. It’s interesting as well that the company decided to push this accessory for the iPad mini first, especially given the rumors, reported by Inquisitr, that the iPad mini line may be discontinued in favor of the iPhone 6 Plus. Apple Insider did report that Tactus plans to release a version for the iPhone 6 Plus around the same time that the iPad mini version becomes available (probably this summer), and is developing a version that would work with the iPad Air.
The Phorm for iPad mini will retail at $149, but during their pre-sale period, the company is discounting the price to just $99.
Would you be interested in a case that adds physical button guides to an iPad mini, or your favorite tablet?
[Image from MacRumors]