Why You Should Support External Keyboards in iOS Applications

“I feel that 3rd party hardware support in apps is hurting the iPad just as much as the mobile OS.”

As a daily user of the iPad Pro, I use an external keyboard at least 90% of the time.

It might be the Smart Cover, or the Logitech cover, or it might be a BlueTooth keyboard.

The reason is simple, I am far more productive with actual keys than an on-screen keyboard. Not to mention easy access to special keys like volume or fast app switching.

For the iPad to continue to make it’s way in to a more professional environment and challenge the laptop there are many things it needs. But it especially needs support from 3rd party developers beyond the screen.

This is where I ask developers to remember that apps like productivity and writing in particular need to support external keyboards. Some apps either have no support or limited support.

“It is down to us, third party developers to keep the platform moving forward”

An easy example, having to touch the screen to change the cursor position in a document because the arrow keys do not work. I have an app that has this problem, but I will refrain from embarrassing them.

I feel that 3rd party hardware support in apps is hurting the iPad just as much as the mobile OS. Until Apple finally gives us a decent desktop mode for the iPad, it is down to us, third party developers to keep the platform moving forward by doing all we can to make our apps feel ‘desktop like’.

So please, remember that there are serious iPad users out there trying to get a days work done beyond a laptop or desktop. Show them some love and make your apps work with external keyboards. Surely you want to be better than your competition?

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