An iOS discovery

(I’m posting this here in the hope that it comes in handy to folks once Scrivener for iOS is out in the wild …)

There is only one keyboard for iOS devices that doesn’t rely on bluetooth – the old Apple Keyboard Dock. Cons: it’s heavy and bulky (the stand doesn’t fold flat and it weighs 600 grams). Pros: it’s the full size of an Apple laptop keyboard, matches the iOS keyboard layout, and is solid.

It was designed for the iPad 1, worked (but didn’t fit too well) with the iPad 2, and the dock connector/stand gap was too small for an iPad 3 to fit on it. Hasta la vista, as they say.

However I just discovered it works with the iPhone 5 …

If you have the Apple lightning to 30-pin adapter, you can stick the adapter on the 30-pin connector of the keyboard and balance an iPhone 5 atop it reasonably securely. Plug the keyboard dock into a power supply and the phone charges; type on the keyboard and it works fine!

The thickness of the iPhone 3/3GS and iPhone 4/4S cases meant they wouldn’t fit on the dock. The iPhone 5 is thinner. It’s still a tight fit – the stand behind the dock connector forces it forward about a millimetre compared to the iPad 1 – but it’s workable.

I am now waiting to see if the same trick works with the iPad Mini. I expect it will; the iPad Mini is 7.2mm thick, while the iPhone 5 is 7.6mm thick. It’d be good to have a robust, solid keyboard suitable for extended typing that could travel in a checked bag and that doesn’t owe me anything.

(Not tested with iPad Mini yet because I ordered a wifi/3G one and it hasn’t shipped yet.)

((EDIT)) This ended up in the wrong place due in part to my internet connection glitching during the compose/submit phase. If the mods could put it somewhere appropriate, please …?

Hey Charlie,

Reading this reminded me that I had one of these keybaords, so I dug it out and am typing on it right now.

Not much to add except that I do have one of those doc keyboards, and as far as feel, there’s nothing like it. I can probably type faster and with less fatigue than on any other keyboard, including my blue tooth for my Mac desktop.

Couple of tips. If you have a bluetooth keyboard as well, make sure you power it off or disconnect before using the doc keyboard or each key you hit may repeat until another key is hit.

Also, you have to be A-OK with portrait mode, which is probably the reason I don’t use it much. I’m a landscape person and normally use my ZAGG/mate keyboard so I can lay my iPad down. Although I can’t seem to connect to my iPhone 4s to it, though that may be my own lack and not the keyboard’s.

Anyway, since they aren’t all that useful any more and they are extremely sturdy, I would think one could find this keyboard online cheap.