Musings on designing experiences & (re)engineering complexity

Apr 2020

Why Keyboards Remain

I figured it out… sort of (thoughts while reading MacStories Apple Magic Keyboard First Impressions)

The “why keyboard is needed for the iPad to be a computer” discussion hits a nerve. On the surface, it seems like a “but the software isn’t designed for touch” argument… but that’s not it, it’s control.

Specifically, a lack of knowing how to control one’s own hands and fingers (appendages). Many, having not been in such a “need to learn” state since being a kid learning fine motor skills, software leaps such as multitouch, gestural, and spatial interfaces show how little folks have actually learned how to use their bodies.

So no… devs can’t push ahead and make better iPad software unless it needs a mouse and keyboard. Why? Because it paints them under the same brush… they have underdeveloped their own bodies. Kids don’t “learn” how to use touchscreens because they are magical, they know them because it’s normal behavior. They learn them becuse they are not restricted to any concepts of “what may be” until it isnt.

We (adults, digital immigrants, etc.) haven’t moved past being kids with controlling environments… and for some, the interface on which the iPad/iPhone is based is a loud, subconscious reminder of that.