iPad + Bluetooth keyboard aggravations – feature requests for the Apple team

Yet another flight to India (we have a new team in Bangalore), yet another chance to try the iPad/Keyboard solution I’ve written about.  So far, it’s working out great!

This is quickly going from hypothesis to prototype to full-blown implementation, but there are some rough edges that Apple could help smoothen out.

Navigation aggravation

Most of these annoyances relate to navigating the iPad via the bluetooth keyboard. The Cmd-key doesn’t really exist on the iPad, and so don’t most of the shortcuts related to that key. Specifically, if the following keystrokes existed in the Mail app, I’d be a happy panda:

  • Cmd-r to Reply
  • Cmd-shift-d to Send message
  • Cmd-n to Compose new message

Similarly, arrow navigation on list views would be excellent. Currently, if you have Mail up in landscape mode, you can’t navigate through emails via the keyboard, you have to touch the screen in order to do that. There’s knarliness here to be sure, in that the concept of focus on a specific control doesn’t exist on an iPad – so it wouldn’t be obvious if the arrow presses should move the mail text on the right down, or navigate through the list. Still, a solution to this would be really nice.

A dialog about dialogs

On modal dialogs, the ‘Enter’ key doesn’t select the default button, and the ‘Esc’ key doesn’t dismiss it. This means you can’t dismiss dialogs that pop-up, say, when a mail being composed can’t go out, since an internet connection doesn’t exist.

That dialog in particular – a ball of wax all in itself. Mail on iPad should follow the same convention as Mail.app on the Mac – if an email is sent when an internet connection doesn’t exist, complain; but if the network settings haven’t change, don’t complain for every subsequent email sent. On an iPad, a warning message shows up each time, which is annoying when you’re in flow composing quick emails – like the 53 I wrote during this flight.

Can Haz Cmd-Tab?

Finally, and here the purists will really froth, it would be really great to be able to just Cmd-Tab to switch to the previous running app. I’m not asking for a full-blown switcher, just the ability to switch to the previous app. Given the one-app-at-a-time design of iPads, the use-case of switching back and forth to copy-n-paste stuff, or to check on something quickly, is surprisingly common.

I’d also like a pony. That will be all!

Amit

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