How Gestures on My iPad Are Turning Typing into An Accessory

When it comes to software upates, unless there’s something drastic being fixed, or something compelling being added, I normally don’t care much. With my iPad, the update to iOS5 was supposed to add something compelling (gestures to navigate the interface). What I didn’t realize is that 1st gen iPads weren’t getting that. Bummer. A software patch update later and my 1st gen iPad gets these gestures. And with that, I am quickly finding out that typing is becoming an accessory to the experience of using this iPad.

Typing as an accessory? Uh… the on-screen keyboard is still there.

Ok, so it is still there. And in many situations, its acutally just fine for in input and small composition moments. I actually have noticed with my use that the only times that I’m turning the iPad to the landscape direction is when I have something to type (or a nasty app like the NFL app makes you go landscape only). And this isn’t a bad thing, when I want to get down and type something – for example this post – I get so finger-weary typing on the glass that eventually my Bluetooth keyboard rears its head and becomes the melody towards the screen.

That’s just it though. Look at the picture I’ve got attached to this post. Its a screenshot of my "desktop." You see a row of icons and a big picture – that’s it. I’ve put everything that’s on my device into folders, grouped by task, and don’t really visit that page much. I do just about all of my application interactions by (a) tapping on the home button to wake the device, (b) using gestures or the double-tap-home to switch applications. I don’t even see this screen unless I need an app that’s not already present in that recent apps tray.

That’s started to transform subtle but profound things about how I use this iPad. For example, if its not a pinch, swipe, sweeping motion kind of behavior, then I don’t feel as if I am actually using it. Weird right?

So, this weird thing happened not even 24hrs into that new desktop and some internal fits about the gestures, I didn’t want to type. I didn’t want to pick up my wireless keyboard, nor did I want to see an on-screen one. I wanted a means of getting text into Evernote just as I was thinking about it, and then take my image (or whatever else) assets and plug it into the screen and then just automate the posting of this – which is what I’d usually do, but its almost all from a type-it-in paradigm.

Then, I smiled. Siri.

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