With iOS7 looming, there are rumblings of the keyboard being let loose to third parties. A quick look at XCode 5DevPreview shows the new flat design applied to the iPhone keyboard, but not for the iPad. Yet.
And its only a cosmetic makeover, the fundamental shortcomings are still there.

I've seen interesting departures from the QWERTY paradigm. And I've seen comments on blogs and forums about how the regular keyboard doesn't perform. But in my estimation they overlook some functional flaws. What are some of them?

1. Keystrokes should never have been arranged in three levels. Top Level, and one underneath. Maximum.
2. While I'm entering data in 'sub ground' level, entering a space should not hustle me back to the first level.
3. A forward Delete key. Need I say More?
4. Repositioning the cursor needs better control than a Press And Hold Lupe.

Lets take an iPad poitrait keyboard and apply it to landscape orienation, what can we do with the rest of the space?
If it was considered useable enough for that limited width, why waste the very same equivalent useable space out for landscape?

At left I've found room for a TAB key. At right there's bags of room for a numeric keyboard. Pictured is the Right Shift Key being
pressed, so with the same hand the Delete Key becomes a Forward Delete in an almost one-touch operation.

Still room for 2 user-definable keys, 3 if you disagree with the = in the numpad area. The space bar target zone has been
thickened to overcome those pesky bottom line characters entering your textnall thebtime text all the time.

And the whole whole thing occupies substantially less vertical dimension of the text area, even with said thickening.
I'm also eyeing off the real estate around the right hand #+= button, do we really need it on both sides?


 

What can we do with the second level now that numbers have been taken care of in the first?

There's a surprising amount of repetition between the second and third level, and you can see from my musical bias there's more space available than glyphs to fill them. What you see above is the result of repopulating what's left. I've collected the grouping of the brackets and all the currency symbols in one place. Shift operate some cursor arrows as Page Up, Down, Home & End. Indeed Shift-Bracket would be nice to provide a closing bracket or brace ahead of the cursor.

I was tempted to split the spacebar into two for a space that auto-returned to top level, the other staying for more.
But it could equally be handled by Shift-Space in the calling screen and a shading difference signalling the state. Speaking of Shift, two user-defined symbols I'm forever having to copy from the
character viewer are the degrees and the diameter symbol. The degrees is shown in the unshifted state by the arrows.

The suggestion in many places is that a swipe to select an alternative character is preferable to a Shift operation. Whatever.
Now we could decrease the space between the keys a little and it would all condense sufficiently for poitrait orientation. I haven't applied those transforms exactly but I've done a quick roughie if you want to send it to an iPad near you and look for yourself if it's within reach.

 

..so the point is?

Now I'm just a total amateur in the game. I know I'll probably get roundly laughed at for my suggestions, but if a klutz like me can solve these why can't experienced development engineers?

I'm only at the start of my development journey, at time of writing I'm waiting for my first app approval. Now I'm being somewhat coy, I have 40+ years history in Architecture, Perspective presentation, Modelling and Animation
not to mention Film and Video, Graphic Art, Structural and Civil Design. Oh and Industrial design.

But in the face of those clever people within the Infinite Loop, what would I know?


 

October 2015 Edit: It will be interesting to see how the soon to be released iPad Pro treats this. If they don't I'm may have to do it myself now that 3rd parties are allowed in.