Apple reportedly testing iPad keyboard akin to Microsoft's Touch Cover

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Apple may be working on a new keyboard accessory for the iPad, one that would mimic the functionality of Microsoft's Touch Cover for its own Surface tablets, according to a new rumor.

Surface


The rumors comes from Jamie Ryan, a former employee of Apple's Developer Relations team, whose post was highlighted by Gizmodo on Monday. Ryan cited "a couple of people at Apple" who apparently indicated that the company is testing a case for the full-size 9.7-inch iPad that would mimic Microsoft's Touch Cover.

"It's not clear whether the process is far enough along to make this Tuesday's event, but they did say a few different styles had been in testing for awhile," he wrote. "This would certainly allow Apple to differentiate the larger iPad from its little brother and market it as the more 'pro' of the 2."

Apple currently sells a standard multipurpose Bluetooth wireless keyboard that connects to the iPad. The company originally sold a keyboard-dock combo for the first-generation iPad, but has not released a new version of that accessory in years.

Microsoft's Touch Cover serves as both a cover for the Surface display, as well as a connected keyboard. Like Apple's Smart Cover for iPad, the accessory attaches to the Surface magnetically.

belkin


On Tuesday Microsoft will release its own Touch Cover 2 alongside the new Surface 2 tablet. The accessory -- which is essentially a flat, thin cloth that can be typed on -- has more than 1,100 sensors which Microsoft says will improve accuracy on the second-generation device. The company also offers a more traditional thin keyboard with press-able keys.

The same day that the new Surface tablets and Touch Cover 2 will launch, Apple is set to hold an event in San Francisco where it is expected to launch its own new iPads: A redesigned fifth-generation model, and a new second-generation iPad mini with Retina display. Prior to Ryan's post, there was no indication that Apple may be planning to unveil a new keyboard accessory for its full-size iPad.

Such a move wouldn't be a shock, however, as keyboard accessories for the iPad, such as Logitech's Keyboard Folios or Belkin's Ultimate Keyboard Case, have proven popular. Apple also recently released a multitude of accessories for the iPhone 5s and 5c, including official cases and docks. That's a change from last year, when Apple did not offer an official case or dock for the iPhone 5.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 116
    Is that all Apple can do these days is to copy other companies?

    /s
  • Reply 2 of 116
    I could really go for some nice French Toast this morning. You know, the fancy kind with the really thick bread and the light powdered sugar on top. And maple syrup. The real stuff, not that Aunt Jemimah junk. Oh, and speaking of things that aren't going to happen...
  • Reply 3 of 116
    WSJ is probably more accurate than this...
    If they have a mac book why have a keyboard for an iPad??
    cheaper yes but it runs iOS.
  • Reply 4 of 116

    SO let me get this straight. Apple made something similar, for the iPad, BEFORE Micosoft ever even had a surface, and now somehow it's being insinuated that they are following Microsofts lead? Sounds to me like Microsoft made a keyboard akin to that of the original iPad.

  • Reply 5 of 116
    bnz v3 wrote: »
    SO let me get this straight. Apple made something similar, for the iPad, BEFORE Micosoft ever even had a surface, and now somehow it's being insinuated that they are following Microsofts lead? Sounds to me like Microsoft made a keyboard akin to that of the original iPad.

    You really can believe everything you read!
  • Reply 6 of 116
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post





    You really can believe everything you read!

     It's not about believing it will actually happen. It's about people/writers talking this BS about Apple is coping X, therefore Apple has no more original ideas. It's about spreading a false image.

  • Reply 7 of 116
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider

    testing

     

    Durhey. Of course they are. They won’t release it, but they’ll test it.

  • Reply 8 of 116
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by island hermit View Post



    Is that all Apple can do these days is to copy other companies?



    /s

     

    apple didn't invent any technology or even any presentation of technology… it improved upon the current offerings, and/or made hard decisions ('de improved'… ala the 1 button mouse, removing all the expansion slots in laptops, not allowing flash or java on the iPhone, removing the mouse from 'tablets', etc.) that in the end, removed the enertia that was holding an entire industry back (is anyone lamenting the loss of flash on iOS?  is Android selling because of Flash, or the ability to integrate a mouse?, are laptops failing to sell for the lack of PCI slots or lack of 8 memory slots?)

     

    I do think in the convergence of MacBook Air and iPad, you'll see an integrated (as only Apple Can), cover/keyboard/mouse(?)/secretsauce that makes it uniquely apple.  This year… likely not (never say never), but it will happen.

     

    MS needed to 'support everything'  (keyboard, mouse, stylus) as that's their DNA… Apple can pick winners, and I do think a cover that has a great keyboard for those that can type Qwerty (or Dvorak) will flock to for higher speed content creation.

  • Reply 9 of 116
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,302member

    The difference here is that Microsoft had to sell a keyboard with their product to make it even close to usable. This is because of the form factor of Windows (typically landscape orientation) coupled with the aspect ratio of the screen. The keyboard would take up 2/3 of the screen. That and traditional Windows programs still require a mouse. Sure you could touch the screen, but using a keyboard and mouse would make the tablet a computer, which Windows was designed for.

     

    The iPad can be easily used in any orientation including portrait. The difference is that the apps are made to be portrait. The whole OS seems to work better in that orientation. So no, you don't need a keyboard unless you're, you know, doing a lot of typing.

     

    I think if Apple came out with a keyboard, it would be them admitting defeat of some sort.  The iPad ought to stand on it's on (no pun intended) as the only thing you need to use it.

     

    The other issue with a keyboard cover is that it completely changes the form factor of the device. Now you have to use it on a table or some sort of flat surface. The iPad was originally designed to break that mindset and even Steve Jobs demoed it while sitting on a couch on-stage. That's the whole point. The Surface isn't a true tablet in the sense that you need a flat surface to use it effectively, whereas the iPad can be used in a standing position, sitting on a couch, etc. There in lies it's transformative power.

     

    A keyboard cover would probably sell very well, but I think it would damage Apple's image and vision for the iPad more than it would be worth.

  • Reply 10 of 116

    I could have sworn I remember reading something here on AI around the time the first original Surface came out with its keypad cover that Apple actually had just been awarded a patent on something very similar by the USPTO....

  • Reply 11 of 116
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by diz_geek View Post

     

    I could have sworn I remember reading something here on AI around the time the first original Surface came out with its keypad cover that Apple actually had just been awarded a patent on something very similar by the USPTO....


     

    http://www.fastcompany.com/1844485/has-apple-filed-patent-microsofts-surface-smart-cover

  • Reply 12 of 116
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by diz_geek View Post

     

    I could have sworn I remember reading something here on AI around the time the first original Surface came out with its keypad cover that Apple actually had just been awarded a patent on something very similar by the USPTO....


     

     

    Obvious. 

    If you look at Apple patent, that is.

  • Reply 13 of 116
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,586member
    Is that all Apple can do these days is to copy other companies?

    /s

    The difference being Apple's cover (if this is true) actually has a market out there for them. :D
  • Reply 14 of 116
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheOtherGeoff View Post

     

     

    apple didn't invent any technology or even any presentation of technology… it improved upon the current offerings, and/or made hard decisions ('de improved'… ala the 1 button mouse, removing all the expansion slots in laptops, not allowing flash or java on the iPhone, removing the mouse from 'tablets', etc.) that in the end, removed the enertia that was holding an entire industry back (is anyone lamenting the loss of flash on iOS?  is Android selling because of Flash, or the ability to integrate a mouse?, are laptops failing to sell for the lack of PCI slots or lack of 8 memory slots?)

     

    I do think in the convergence of MacBook Air and iPad, you'll see an integrated (as only Apple Can), cover/keyboard/mouse(?)/secretsauce that makes it uniquely apple.  This year… likely not (never say never), but it will happen.

     

    MS needed to 'support everything'  (keyboard, mouse, stylus) as that's their DNA… Apple can pick winners, and I do think a cover that has a great keyboard for those that can type Qwerty (or Dvorak) will flock to for higher speed content creation.


     

    The foldable cover will become the iPad/Air. 

  • Reply 15 of 116
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by BNZ V3 View Post

     

     It's not about believing it will actually happen. It's about people/writers talking this BS about Apple is coping X, therefore Apple has no more original ideas. It's about spreading a false image.


    People STILL treat Apple paying Xerox to tour their labs and "loosely" being inspired by what they did, to Microsoft as a developer copying the IDE of Apple and nearly mirroring the interface (they switched the sides of where actions  take place, like they switched the drive numbers when copying CP/M).

     

    I agree that certain things that are obvious should not be part of copyrights, but the entire PROCESS for how someone interacts with your device which requires real research is copied; like Samsung and Microsoft have done on numerous occasions --well, that's kind of infringing.

     

    The press of course, sees no distinctions to anything other than; "what will get the most eyeballs and clicks."

  • Reply 16 of 116
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,054member

    I wouldn't want one personally, but I have friends who would. One of them is a writer, he doesn't need a fancy desktop of notebook. 

     

    An iPad with a really good smartcover/keyboard integrated would be perfect for him.

  • Reply 17 of 116
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Someone's blog is getting a lot of hits today. Well played, sir. And I see the old 'buy on the rumor, sell on the news' is happening again as Apple's stock is up over 2% so far today.
  • Reply 18 of 116
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Correct, diz_geek. As Rogifan posted at MacRumors, here's a link to Apple's 2011 patent (one of several?) on this:

    http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2012/08/apple-invents-mind-boggling-next-generation-smart-cover-with-multi-touch-flexible-display-solar-panels-built-in-keyboard.html

    That said, I think Apple will leave this kind of useful-but-slightly-awkward option to third parties like Logitech (who also beat Microsoft to market with the idea).
  • Reply 19 of 116
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     

     

    Durhey. Of course they are. They won’t release it, but they’ll test it.


     

    Can you prove that? 

  • Reply 20 of 116
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,400member
    The accessory -- which is essentially a flat, thin cloth that can be typed on -- has more than 1,100 sensors which Microsoft says will improve accuracy on the second-generation device.

    So the first gen was totally senseless?
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