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Typo bounces back with iPad keyboard that fails to impress

Typo for iPad AirTypo for iPad Air
The Typo for iPad Air keyboard with an iPad Air 2.Photograph by Jason Cipriani

The Ryan Seacrest-backed tech company, Typo Innovations, recently settled with smartphone maker BlackBerry for infringing on the company’s design patents.

The BlackBerry settlement barred Typo from selling any keyboards for mobile devices with a screen size under 7.9 inches. As such, all references of the iPhone case (which doubled as a Bluetooth keyboard) and looked as well as felt exactly like a BlackBerry keyboard have been removed from the company’s website.

The only product you’ll find on the site nowadays is the company’s new iPad Air keyboard accessory, and a pre-order page for the iPad Mini counterpart.

The $189 accessory consists of two parts: a detachable keyboard and a protective case for the iPad that doubles as a stand.

A friction hinge, similar to that found on Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3, is located on the back of the case providing flexibility in viewing angles ranging from 10 to 90 degrees. The keyboard itself is a mere 5.5 millimeters thick, and offers battery life of up to one year, according to Typo.

With this keyboard, Typo attempts to resolve a key annoyance currently experienced by those who use a Bluetooth keyboard with the iPad: the absence of auto-correct. Apple disables its auto-correct software when a physical keyboard is attached to the iPad, leaving users prone to typos (pun not intended).

In an effort to improve the typing experience, Typo incorporated auto-correct into its iPad keyboard, albeit in a limited form. It’s a feature that sets it apart from other competing keyboards. For example, double-pressing the space bar will insert a period, ending the sentence and capitalizing the next letter. Another auto-correct feature will properly punctuate commonly used contractions (“Im” to “I’m”).

During my time with the device, the auto-correct feature worked well enough, although I wished it was capable of more closely mimicking the native iOS auto-correct feature. It took some practice and constantly reminding myself the feature was there, but once I had adjusted to it, everything began to feel more natural.

However, the typing experience itself left me wanting more. I’ve used and reviewed dozens of iPad keyboards, each one requiring some adjustment period due to unique key layouts or travel (a term used to define how far down a key needs to be pressed before a character is entered). Yet I was never able to fully adjust to the Typo. Errant keypresses and missed spaces were far too common.

In order to achieve the full-size letter and number keys found on the keyboard, the punctuation keys were trimmed down in size and, in some instances, moved to another location on the keyboard altogether. My personal preference is to have the standard keyboard layout, forgoing full-size keys. Adjusting to slightly smaller key is far easier than trying to learn a new keyboard’s layout in my experience.

Ironically, I think the best feature of Typo is the hinge found on the back of the case. As noted earlier, the hinge allows for multiple viewing angles and is easy to manipulate. More importantly, it doesn’t allow for much wobbling or movement after being adjusted. A rare feat when it comes to most iPad stands.

If having a keyboard capable of correcting some, but not all, of your typing and full-size keys is of utmost priority, the Typo for iPad Air is worth checking out. Outside of those two features, there are better and less expensive options available, such as the $89 Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover.