Apple exploring self-resizing keys for iPhone keyboard

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
A patent application revealed on Thursday shows that Apple may be working on improving the accuracy of the touchscreen keyboards featured in its iDevices by allowing them to automatically adjust aspects such as key sizes to user typing behavior on the fly.

keys


U.S. Patent Application No. 13/213,173 describes a "Touch Correcting Keypad," largely similar to the current software keyboard found in iOS. The keypad found in the application, though, has a "Typo-Adaptable Keyboard" setting, allowing it to modify the shapes of and space between keys in order to compensate for user typing patterns. The application notes that the software keyboard could alter either the visual representation of the keys or the input regions the device recognizes.

Multiple drawings throughout the patent application demonstrate the concept in action. One shows the 'Shift' key increasing in size, along with reductions in size for the 'A' and Q' keys. Another shows the space between the 'A' and 'Q' keys increasing, and yet another shows the 'S' key reshaping itself considerably, while the 'W' key decreases. Figure 10 in the application shows the familiar QWERTY keyboard, but with its keys dramatically resized.

more keys


Were the patent to make its way into an actual iOS release, it could help to address some users' complaints about typing on Apple's increasingly popular mobile devices. The company made waves in introducing the original iPhone, which eschewed a physical keyboard in favor of a touchscreen-based QWERTY layout.

Apple compensated for the lack of keys by integrating predictive text input into its iOS software keyboard. But some still feel the lack of tactile feedback on touchscreens can still hamper the production of text-intensive content.

Apple is not alone in moving to improve the quality of its touchscreen keyboard. BlackBerry, in announcing its new Z10, went to great lengths to demonstrate its touchscreen keyboard's ability to accept text input as quickly and accurately as the company's famed physical QWERTY keyboards. Google also recently added a Swype-like text entry method to its standard Android keyboard.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    So in a txt msgng wrld. The vwls would b tny?
  • Reply 2 of 26
    As I understand it, this is already implemented. Just not visible. Oh we'll, looks a bit odd though, but I need to try it out to give it an honest opinion. Auto correct is a bit hit or miss, but then I'm not a regular user because I type bilingual quite often.
  • Reply 3 of 26


    PhilBoogie,


    Why not use the international settings to swap between multiple keyboards? It adds a "globe" key to the keyboard to switch, so it's really fast.  I'm a bilingual user too and I find it great.  Especially for automatically adding accents :)

  • Reply 4 of 26

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bluefish86 View Post


    PhilBoogie,


    Why not use the international settings to swap between multiple keyboards? It adds a "globe" key to the keyboard to switch, so it's really fast.  I'm a bilingual user too and I find it great.  Especially for automatically adding accents :)



    It works great indeed, but the question is "how does the autolearning adapt to multiple keyboards active" :D

  • Reply 5 of 26
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member
    It would be more useful to just give the user more control over the keyboard itself and to modify it's default behaviour.

    I find it hard to understand why after five years we still have no control even over simple stuff like first letter capitalisation of sentences, or the ability to pick a different arrangement of letters etc.
  • Reply 6 of 26


    Another example of Apple pushing the envelope! It's in their DNA to be 5-10 years ahead of the competition in every aspect of tech....yep, a few misses, and areas that certainly need improvement. But it's not from a lack of trying. :)

  • Reply 7 of 26
    kdarlingkdarling Posts: 1,640member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post



    As I understand it, this is already implemented. Just not visible. Oh we'll, looks a bit odd though, but I need to try it out to give it an honest opinion. Auto correct is a bit hit or miss, but then I'm not a regular user because I type bilingual quite often.


     


    I think you're right about it kind of already being in there (watching for expected touch areas).  As you said, that adjusted keyboard looks pretty strange.  


     


    Side note:  there was a self adjusting keyboard patent not long ago from Microsoft, for touch keyboards on large surfaces.  Basically, wherever you put your two hands down (with fingers in typing position) is where the default touch typing keys would show up.  So instead of trying to put your fingers each in the right position  over the keyboard for touch typing... the base keyboard moved around to fit your default finger positions!  To reset and readjust, you simply lifted your hands for a few seconds and then put them back down again. Not sure how well that worked in real life, though :)

  • Reply 8 of 26

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post



    As I understand it, this is already implemented. Just not visible. Oh we'll, looks a bit odd though, but I need to try it out to give it an honest opinion. 


     


    That was my understanding as well. That its built into the autocorrect mechanism. 


     


    I suppose this might be some kind of learning the user spin on the same notion. Like if I basically always hit the s instead of a and then go back and correct that, it learns and double checks when I hit the s to make sure I'm spelling a word and not nonsense that would be a word if the s was an a, and so on. Even to the point of making the a slightly bigger in its zone.

  • Reply 9 of 26
    I'd personally be happy with:

    1. Some sort of calibration ability that a user can perform

    2. A keyboard that doesn't constantly swap the placement of the underscore "_" key
  • Reply 10 of 26

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Goldenclaw View Post



    I'd personally be happy with:



    1. Some sort of calibration ability that a user can perform



    2. A keyboard that doesn't constantly swap the placement of the underscore "_" key


     


    It only does that swap when it knows there's a likelihood of needing it like in an email. Same with @ etc.


     


    but sure why not let us choose to turn that feature off, along with the whole auto capitalization of first letters in sentences, fields. Leave all that on as the default sure, but let us kill it if we wish.


     


    and while I don't see the point to full user customizing on the keyboard I have thought it odd that there's no option for Dvorak so I would add that to the list of things. I believe it is still the dominant style in 'romanizing' several languages like Russian so why not give folks that choice even if qwerty remains the default.


     


    and the link seems fouled, anyone able to track down when this application was actually filed

  • Reply 11 of 26

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Goldenclaw View Post



    I'd personally be happy with:



    1. Some sort of calibration ability that a user can perform



    2. A keyboard that doesn't constantly swap the placement of the underscore "_" key


     


    It only does that swap when it knows there's a likelihood of needing it like in an email. Same with @ etc.


     


    but sure why not let us choose to turn that feature off, along with the whole auto capitalization of first letters in sentences, fields. Leave all that on as the default sure, but let us kill it if we wish.


     


    and while I don't see the point to full user customizing on the keyboard I have thought it odd that there's no option for Dvorak so I would add that to the list of things. I believe it is still the dominant style in 'romanizing' several languages like Russian so why not give folks that choice even if qwerty remains the default.


     


    As for the calibration idea, why not a little something. Perhaps in the setup screens. A mini tutorial wouldn't be bad either. 


     


    and the link seems fouled, anyone able to track down when this application was actually filed

  • Reply 12 of 26

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lightknight View Post


    It works great indeed, but the question is "how does the autolearning adapt to multiple keyboards active" :D



     


    My understanding, based solely on my own experience from actual use, is that it "learns" completely separately for each language.

  • Reply 13 of 26
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,858member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post



    As I understand it, this is already implemented. Just not visible. Oh we'll, looks a bit odd though, but I need to try it out to give it an honest opinion. Auto correct is a bit hit or miss, but then I'm not a regular user because I type bilingual quite often.


     


    It does... the "target" area is made a little bigger for keys the system thinks you may press next.

  • Reply 14 of 26
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,858member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post



    It would be more useful to just give the user more control over the keyboard itself and to modify it's default behaviour.



    I find it hard to understand why after five years we still have no control even over simple stuff like first letter capitalisation of sentences


     


    This has been around since the original iPhone.


     


    Settings -> General -> Keyboard -> Auto-Capitalization = Off


     


    There are a few keyboard/text features including an extremely useful "Shortcuts" feature.

  • Reply 15 of 26
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,858member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post


     


    It only does that swap when it knows there's a likelihood of needing it like in an email. Same with @ etc.


     


    but sure why not let us choose to turn that feature off, along with the whole auto capitalization of first letters in sentences, fields. Leave all that on as the default sure, but let us kill it if we wish.


     


    and while I don't see the point to full user customizing on the keyboard I have thought it odd that there's no option for Dvorak so I would add that to the list of things.



     


    Email keyboard: The system doesn't guess which keyboard is needed, it's up to the developer of the app to request specific keyboards.


     


    Auto-Capitalization: General -> Keyboard -> Auto-Capitalization


     


    Dvorak: Settings -> General -> Keyboard -> International Keyboards -> English -> Dvorak

  • Reply 16 of 26
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,357member


    The only keyboard issue I have on my iPad is in "Messages". The send button is too small. I rarely get it 1st time.

  • Reply 17 of 26
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,980member
    philboogie wrote: »
    As I understand it, this is already implemented. Just not visible. Oh we'll, looks a bit odd though, but I need to try it out to give it an honest opinion. Auto correct is a bit hit or miss, but then I'm not a regular user because I type bilingual quite often.

    I was thinking the same thing. They should work on fixing auto correct instead.
  • Reply 18 of 26


    Originally Posted by Evilution View Post

    The only keyboard issue I have on my iPad is in "Messages". The send button is too small. I rarely get it 1st time.


     


    My sole complaint with Messages is that it doesn't behave in iOS as it does in OS X. 


     


    Return in iOS starts a new line. Return in OS X sends the message.

  • Reply 19 of 26
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post


     


    This has been around since the original iPhone.


     


    Settings -> General -> Keyboard -> Auto-Capitalization = Off


     


    There are a few keyboard/text features including an extremely useful "Shortcuts" feature.



     


    You're right of course.  I wasn't very clear.  I meant more programmatically.  


     


    It makes sense for instance when you are writing to have the first letter of the sentence capitalised, but when you are doing lists, or entering email addresses and so forth it makes no sense at all.  It's also too awkward to leave the document and the program you are working on to open another program (settings app.), go through a couple of levels of dialogues to get to the section you want, turn it off then go back.  


     


    Basically, different rules for those sorts of things should apply depending on what type of writing you are doing.  For example, iOS reads and ellipsis as "three periods" and doesn't support ligatures at all.  So when you are writing and use an ellipsis, iOS takes that as the end of a sentence and auto-capticalises the next word which is a pain in the ass.  In another context however, the rule makes total sense.  

  • Reply 20 of 26
    Full screen keyboard would be nice.
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