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iPhone Keyboard Leads to Typso

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the see-get-it-i-was-being-funny dept.


jfruhlinger writes "One of the selling points of the iPhone was its revolutionary touch-screen full keyboard. But a study has shown that text messages sent from iPhones contain significantly more typso than messages from phones with other kinds of keyboards — and aren't entered any faster."

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Typso (5, Funny)

Echolima (1130147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349587)

Did you use the keyboard to poast tihs?

Re:Typso (-1, Redundant)

eviloverlordx (99809) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349611)


Re:Typso (5, Funny)

oyenstikker (536040) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349613)

You have no sense of humor. Your ./ privileges have been revoked. Please go post on YouTube.

Re:Typso (2, Funny)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349653)

dot slash? this entire thread is going to be a mess and every time it gets pointed out someone will claim it was a joke.

Re:Typso (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349683)


Is there no iSpellchecker on the iPhone?

Re:Typso (5, Funny)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349869)

Is there no iSpellchecker on the iPhone?

iThere iis, ibut iit iputs ian i"i" iin ifront iof ieach iword. iIt's ipretty uficking iannoying.

Re:Typso (1)

omeomi (675045) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350031)

Nicely done ;-) I wish I had mod points.

Re:Typso (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350127)

Plaese porff raed.

Obligatory link (5, Funny)

mrjb (547783) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349631)

Obligatory. []

Re:Obligatory link (5, Funny)

Alphager (957739) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349965)

I prefer []

I hate the l337 txt culture (5, Insightful)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349645)

hu kars so lng as u cn reed it?

Seriously, I've been seeing typing like this appear in blogs recently. Apparently, a certain cellphone-enabled generation is learning that this type of spelling is acceptable. It is not any one cellphone's fault, and it's not the interface's fault either. Guess who is responsible for teaching our children how to spell?

Re:I hate the l337 txt culture (4, Funny)

mrjb (547783) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349675)

George W. Bush?

Re:I hate the l337 txt culture (5, Interesting)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349703)

Sadly, it happened long before text on cell phones was common.

It seemed to start growing quickly out of AOL customers starting circa '94-'95, and sadly hasn't slowed down.

Re:I hate the l337 txt culture (5, Funny)

smallfries (601545) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349887)

Those of us on the right side of the pond would say it happened when our former colonies broke away and has been getting worse ever since. Depends on how you colour it I guess

Re:I hate the l337 txt culture (4, Insightful)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349971)

There's a difference between accent/dialect and being a lazy bastard.

-or and -our have quite different pronunciations, and the way we pronounce color over here, sounds nothing like colour. It has nothing to do with being lazy. This difference is more like cockney (sp?) vs. standard British English.

Re:I hate the l337 txt culture (3, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350087)

BUT, it must be noted that this does show that language changes. Color is currently an accepted (and indeed, the normal) spelling of that work in the US, but once upon a time, it would have been a blatantly wrong misspelling. Enough people used it though, and it was integrated.

Seriously, I'd wager that within 150 years elite will be an archaic spelling of the more common and perfectly correct spelling: leet.

Re:I hate the l337 txt culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21350053)

I find it amazing that British types think that Americans are the only ones who ruin the English language. You guys have some pretty bad slang. Poor English is not exclusive to the US. Other former colonies belonging to the English also have poor English.

In your example, color and colour are close enough that you at least know what they are. Now try asking for fuel for your automobile or a toilet over there. We also don't call dessert a spotted dick. Doesn't that sound yummy.

It also does not stop the British people from watching American television shows. We frequently share shows.

Finally, it's a fricking ocean. It's not a pond. Ponds are little. Get it?

Re:I hate the l337 txt culture (1)

wattrlz (1162603) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350173)

Oh, that's british humour. Jolly good laugh we have over that bit of understatement there, got it?

Re:I hate the l337 txt culture (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350177)

I will say that in the mid 90's on IRC and AIM, I used to let typos slip because it was a conversational form of speaking, and slowing it down to correct typos broke the flow of conversation.

Some programs that alerted you when the other side was typing made this less imperitive.

I do try to keep things on track in emails and even /. posts and text messages to a point. This post though is an example of what can happen when focussing on speed and not correctness (usually I would at least correct "imperitive" and "focussing".

In the mid 90's when I was less of a typer, speller, and (less) intelligent things would have been even worse.

Re:I hate the l337 txt culture (5, Interesting)

letxa2000 (215841) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349749)

Apparently you missed the part of the study that says that messages sent from iPhones have more errors than messages sent from other phones. So while there may be more tolerance for bad spelling in our society, that has nothing to do with the observation that iPhones lead to more typos.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that you're going to have more errors with an interface with no tactile response. The Atari 400 was a decent computer back in the early 80's but was generally scoffed at because of its mesh-type keyboard that offered very little tactile response and made touch typing very difficult. The iPhone is the same, but worse, because there is no tactile response.

I have a hard time believing I ever would get a phone that has no tactile buttons. I have a Treo and while I can dial phone numbers by tapping the screen and can use a virtual keyboard that would require me typing on the touchscreen, I almost always use the tactile keys instead. With the iPhone, that wouldn't be an option.

Re:I hate the l337 txt culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21349831)

idk my bff jill?

Re:I hate the l337 txt culture (1)

PJ1216 (1063738) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349843)

There's a difference between typos and misspelling things though. i think the study is pointing out that more unintentional typos are appearing in texts.

Re:I hate the l337 txt culture (2, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349955)

Good point.

But it's also important to note two things:

1. The iPhone hasn't been around that long, it will take time for users to become acclimated
2. The iPhone may be used by a lot of people that care less about typos in their texts.

So before one can say this study shows that the UI for the iPhone is flawed, it's important to normalize the results for both 1 and 2.

Try the study again in 2 years, among people who have been texting on their phone of choice for >2 years who represent similar cross-sections of the texting population at large. Then perhaps we can come to useful conclusions.

Re:I hate the l337 txt culture (1)

urcreepyneighbor (1171755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349871)

What's even sadder is when an adult [] does it.

Re:I hate the l337 txt culture (2, Informative)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349883)

Another reason why people use l337 when typing messages is because they can fit more words in to their text. Some contracts only allow you send a certain number of messages, 1 message is about 180 characters.

See you later (13 letters)
CU L8R (5 letters)

Re:I hate the l337 txt culture (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350035)

See you later (13 letters)
CU L8R (5 letters)
As opposed to "CU B4"?

"CU" makes more sense.

Re:I hate the l337 txt culture (2, Funny)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350233)


CU Next Tuesday :)

Correlations and causations (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349987)

Indeed, it's not necessarily the interface's fault. Jumping to conclusions about cause and reaction is far too common, and the article here does that too. It could very well be the reverse causality: the worst txters are more likely to pick an iPhone. Or other correlations that weren't picked up in the small unscientific study.

Like demographics. I propose that the study could have been based on university students, and those with an iPhone were more likely to be admitted due to their parents paying, while those using other cell phones were more likely admitted due to merits. Thus the latter group would likely show higher skills overall, which includes writing skills.

Re:I hate the l337 txt culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21350011)

It's strange though, I've started using the predictive typing when using the phone keyboard, and it's surprisingly effective, I only rarely have to drop out to type things manually. But since all the cute abbreviations aren't in the dictionary, I'd think it would be harder to type that way than to use real words.

Re:I hate the l337 txt culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21350079)

I'm starting to see some of it in emails at work. I refuse to answer those emails.

This proves what i've suspected all along.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21349647)

The real name for the product was going to be the HiPeon

But does it include that the spell checker fixes? (5, Interesting)

orta (786013) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349657)

I was quite slow with my iPhone keyboard till I started to be more trusting of what the spell checker will fix automatically, there's no mention of anything like this in the article.

Re:But does it include that the spell checker fixe (2, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349741)

I am wondering about that as well. on the ipod touch i tested at bestbuy I was able to easily spell into safari on the first try. The auto correct spelling was very easy to learn.

I wonder if they are dealing with the iPhone knockoffs that are running windows mobile?

Re:But does it include that the spell checker fixe (2, Interesting)

kextyn (961845) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349977)

I own a Windows Mobile device with a slide out keyboard as well as an on-screen keyboard. I never have any problems with that because the slide out keyboard offers a tactile response and the on-screen keyboard makes use of a stylus which helps with accuracy. I have used iPhones on several occasions and I always spend about 3x as much time typing in stuff than I would on my phone. You can't use a stylus to improve accuracy, the buttons are too small for large fingers, and the autocorrect feature can be quite annoying.

Re:But does it include that the spell checker fixe (1)

timster (32400) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349771)

Yeah, this article was surprisingly useless in that way. Since it doesn't discuss the auto-correction we're left to wonder (and argue) about what the findings even mean.

It's too bad that we couldn't get a more useful article about this interesting topic.

Re:But does it include that the spell checker fixe (2, Insightful)

Jupix (916634) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349775)

Not every iPhone user writes in a language supported by the spell checker.

Re:But does it include that the spell checker fixe (1)

online46 (1133363) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349981)

I use my iPhone for texting many times every day. The level of automation in the spell checker can lead to some interesting words being put in the message if you don't watch what's happening when you make an error. If you have an iPhone, spend some time watching what the spell checker is doing and how to tell the phone to use or discard what the spell checker is recommending. The keyboard has many slick features especially after the firmware upgrade. I can wholeheartedly recommend the iPhone for text messaging and I find the keyboard easy to use.

Re:But does it include that the spell checker fixe (5, Informative)

toleraen (831634) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350017)

From the study []

If the iPhone corrective text feature made an improper correction, this was still counted as a single error even if multiple letters were changed.
Sounds like they were using it.

Maybe just difficult to delete? (1)

Panitz (1102427) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349661)

I don't have an iPHone so I don't know. But maybe the backspace is in a awkward place so people can't be bothered to change mistakes?

Re:Maybe just difficult to delete? (1)

Gryle (933382) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349829)

Oh dear God. People can't be bothered to fix mistakes simply because it's inconvenient? Are you seriously trying to put that forth as a valid argument?

Firmware upgrade idea. (4, Funny)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349879)

Maybe they can include this feature on the next firmware upgrade: When the phone hears you utter an expletive, it will delete the last word for you. Not only can we continue to propagate bad cellphone etiquette, but also enhance it with people regularly cursing at their phones in public places while texting.


No it deonst! (-1, Redundant)

Silverlancer (786390) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349663)

The iPhneo keybaord doesn't hvae any such isseu.

Re:No it deonst! (1)

LostCauz (121686) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350205)

Having letters out of order is your problem, not the phone's.

not suprising (5, Insightful)

Yold (473518) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349677)

my only gripe about the iPhone is a lack of hardware keyboard. Seriously, once you have a normal thumb keyboard, you won't want to go back to tapping the screen. Especially for business emails, keystroke accuracy is essential. Misspellings make you look like a moron.

Re:not suprising (2, Insightful)

psych-major (767984) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349851)

This would imply that the iPhone can even attach to an exchange server like every other smart phone on the planet, but it can' typos on work emails are essentially a non-issue...See Apple thinks of everything...;) When I compare my co-workers iPhone to my Treo (an older 650 at that) his lacks in every way except the web browser...but at least he didn't pay 5 times as much as I did, oh wait...

Re:not suprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21349963)

Man, you're on crack.

Get an iPhone. Mine hooks up perfectly fine to our Exchange system... Maybe its an l2p noob type thing or maybe you're just an idiot. Who knows?

Re:not suprising (3, Insightful)

teh kurisu (701097) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349853)

I've tried the qwerty keyboards on a Nokia E61 and an iPod Touch. The iPod Touch keyboard is far superior, in my opinion. The E61 keys are lined up in a grid and not like a real qwerty keyboard, they're smaller and closer together and they have to be pushed quite hard for them to register (in comparison, the iPod Touch only requires the lightest touch). It's also difficult to see at a glance which key is which, because it's cluttered up with symbols and numbers (as you can't switch keyboards like you can on the iPod Touch).

For business emails, I'd expect the sender to proof-read before hitting send, no matter what type of keyboard they used.

Re:not suprising (1)

TheLostSamurai (1051736) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349895)

I disagree. I was required to carry around a BlackBerry for over a year at a previous job. While the hardware keyboard was pretty accurate and fairly fast, I think the software keyboard on my iPhone is just as accurate (thanks to the automatic error correction) but I find that I can actually type much faster on it. The main reason for this is that I don't have to "press" the keys as much as I have to just touch them. I actually find that most of the time I don't even feel as though I am touching the screen, which makes my fingers move much faster. No tactile feedback, but the visual cue of the enlarging characters as I type seems to work very well.

Re:not suprising (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349945)

If it's an important business e-mail, you should be proofreading it anyway. No interface is immune to typos, and even with a spell-check, you can still get the wrong word. Like "it's" and "its", "their" and "there", or "whole" and "hole".

If you don't proofread important documents and communications, then you're going to look like a moron. The input device doesn't matter.

Re:not suprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21350071)

I disagree completely. I've sworn off e-mail usage on all other mobile devices. They are lacking in just about every way, from HTML emails *properly* rendered to tiny text to just plain crappy interfaces.

Additionally, I've found myself actually typing a valid response to business colleagues rather than e-mailing them back saying "I'll get to this when I get back to my computer." E-mail and even texting on most other phones is painful to say the least.

But to quote what somebody else wrote, "I'd expect somebody sending business e-mails to at least proof read it before they send it."

However, I'll let it pass because you probably can't afford an iPhone or perhaps you like going through your asshole to get to your elbow--hey everyone is different and some people are into fists in buttholes.

Keyboard (1)

simpl3x (238301) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350113)

I totally agree. I came from a Blackberry 8800 to the Phone of i, and miss the keyboard. I'm not much of a text-er, so it isn't that bad. A decent browser was more of a necessity. At first I totally missed the Gmail widgets, but now they essentially exist on the iPhone.

One of these days, we'll see more models if Apple wants to expand market share. But, I totally agree with a cautious approach to such a large market -- get a model out suited to the iPod demographic, and see what comes next.

I am really surprised that somebody has not made a keyboard for the thing!

Re:not suprising (1)

njfuzzy (734116) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350123)

I had a Treo 650. Now I have an iPhone. You're right about one thing... I will never go back.

This keeps coming up. Apple made a conscious decision to use an all touch-screen face, and the reasons are pretty obvious. A physical keyboard takes away from screen space and/or thickness. I wouldn't give up either, especially the screen size, to be able to type 10% faster. This device is primarily a phone, an iPod, a widget dashboard (maps, calculator, other mini-apps), an email reader, and a web browser. I just don't type on it that much, and when I do (quick emails, texts, filling in online forms, logins, etc.) the keyboard works great for me.

Unrelated story... The other day, I tripped on a curb while answering my phone. I went down pretty hard, and instinct kicking in led to most of my weight hitting the concrete via my iPhone. Yes, I landed from a solid fall, with most of my weight on my hand, in which I was holding my iPhone. The glass screen broke my fall. It's fine, with just a few dings to the chrome rim. Try that with any other phone. I'm happy with how I spent my $600.

Proofread (1)

ennerseed (463366) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350141)

Not proofreading makes you look like a moron. Everybody messes up typing no matter what.

What a crappy joke (0, Troll)

OctoberSky (888619) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349699)

Typso? Are you kidding me? That's too easy.

Dumb. (-1, Offtopic)

Palshife (60519) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349737)


Really? (4, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349755)

The little article I saw about this said they measured people for a month with three keyboards: QWERTY (i.e. blackberry), numeric (i.e. RAZR), and iPhone. They said the iPhone people typed faster, but had more errors.

I wonder if this was fair. The people they found had no experience with the iPhone I'm guessing. But had they used the other two before? Or were these people who never did any kind of text messaging before on the other kinds of phones, or had they used them just a little? That could make a difference.

Does anyone know? This article doesn't seem to mention this either.

I don't own an iPhone, I've only touched one a handful of times.

Re:Really? (5, Informative)

Fluffy Bunnies (1055208) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349863)

Surprisingly, the study found that iPhone texters don't improve with experience. The researchers also asked users in the other groups to send text messages using the iPhone. These novice iPhone users made mistakes at the same rate as people who have owned iPhones for at least one month, the study found.
Emphasis mine.

no tactile feedback? (5, Insightful)

Vadim Grinshpun (31) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349763)

Could it be because you can't "feel" the keys? I don't have an iPhone (though I did get to play with one a few times), but the main thing I didn't like about it is that you (1) have to look at the keyboard/keypad to use it (and can't feel your way through it), and (2) at least to me as a newbie, it was not always clear exactly which part of the fingertip is touching the screen, and thus how to place the finger. I'm guessing that the latter is a matter of experience, but the former seems like a real hurdle, since you can't really touch-type. And if you want better accuracy, you do want to touch-type, methinks.

Re:no tactile feedback? (1)

Manfesto (865869) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350095)

"(2) at least to me as a newbie, it was not always clear exactly which part of the fingertip is touching the screen, and thus how to place the finger."

This isn't really a worry - the iPhone does two things to aid this.

1) It widens the area around certain letters depending on the letter you just typed i.e. if you hit "o" it will make the strike area wider around letters like "r" or "f" (to spell "or" and "of") since it is more likely you'll hit those letters than letters like "t" or "g."
2) It autocorrects your spelling based on letters surrounding the ones you've actually typed i.e. you want to type "hello" but end up typing "hrlko" or something like that. The iPhone corrects it automatically when you hit the space bar.

It is something a newbie wouldn't really be able to pick up on having only played with an iPhone a few times, but after consistently using an iPhone after a few days, it becomes somewhat second nature.

I'd like to know the experience levels of the people mentioned in the article - though it is anecdotal, I can say that I am faster and far more accurate with my iPhone than with the 9numbers == 26lettersAndPunctuation system of my old phone, and am right on par with my speed and accuracy when using my friend's Treo. In their small sample, if they just pulled people off of the street who have never used iPhones, then I'm sure they haven't yet learned to "trust" the iPhone's autocorrect (man, that sounds creepy) and will of course make mistakes.

If their sample did contain longtime iPhone users, then I hope we can all collectively learn a lesson about how important proofreading is :)

Re:no tactile feedback? (1)

Manfesto (865869) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350161)

With regards to proofreading, here are my criticisms of my own post: 1) I should've used e.g. instead of i.e. ("for example" not "that is") 2) Variable names can't start with numbers 3) Emoticons make you look like a jackass

Re:no tactile feedback? (1)

djasbestos (1035410) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350107)

That was my thought on the matter. I can (slower than normal) text blind with relative accuracy simply because of the tactile input of the key divisions, however slight. Even when I am looking at the thing (Samsung "Darth Phone"...if you've seen one, you know what it is), I'm faster because of that extra sensory (but not extrasensory) input.

I'm also a lot faster on T9 or even just ABC on a standard phone keypad than on my work Blackjack with its full, hamster-sized keyboard (which I hate).

And additionally, some of us are a bit ham-fisted, so touch screens only work when you've a stylus like on a pocket PC.

Feedback? (1)

simpl3x (238301) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350183)

I was speaking to somebody yesterday who had incredibly poor hearing, until he had an operation, and the doctors stated that he had essentially been reading lips without knowing it...

We compensate for our senses in lots of ways, and some people can actually hammer out messages without even looking at their keyboard, but the iPhone requires you to look at it. I can enter text reasonably well on the iPhone, but still slower than a Blackberry.

It will be interesting to see how the haptic screen technology will change this.

What is considered a typo? (2, Insightful)

BMonger (68213) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349767)

I often type words incorrectly on my iPhone but it corrects them most of the time. On occasion it replaces them with an incorrect word especially if you're not typing a "real word" (oh becomes on). Is "hai 2 u! ttyl omg" considered a typo? It should be... :)

Also I believe the iPhone learns how you type as you use it more and will even start correcting to incorrect words if you force them often enough. Were these people using clean install iPhones? If so that would contribute to it. If the people who were trying them out that were accustomed to the normal phones were using the same iPhones it would be using the other persons mistakes to make corrections which would lead to possibly more mistakes.

In all honesty though... just look at your message before you send it?

Re:What is considered a typo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21349845)

Agreed. Look at your message before sending. I've found the iPhone to be quite fast and easy to type with. My business mobile phone is simply a relic now. I wasted a lot of time typing on that thing...

Re:What is considered a typo? (1)

jasonhamilton (673330) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349979)

when it pops up with an auto correct recommendation, and you dismiss it three times, it will not try that correction again.

I keep getting the feeling that apple's marketing people did the spelling corrections though. It likes to fix my CaSe of iphone, and if I type "apps" for applications, it changes it to "Apple"

Overengineering? (0)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349779)

I know that it cannot happen to Apple usability gods, but still... If entering text is worse then on "normal" cell phone, entering numbers must be worse by far.

interesting ... (1)

sl0ppy (454532) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349781)

so a lot of people must be turning off the automatic spell checking?

i know that i have much fewer typos when using my iphone, unfortunately it also means that many of my words and acronyms are replaced by some other unrelated word.

my words look ok, but my sentences don't make any sensual.

Um, look at the screen? (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349789)

Seriously, its weird there are people who watch their fingers typing on a keyboard, but the damn text is RIGHT ABOVE your fingers on the iPhone.

If you fat finger something, back up and fix it. Its not the phones fault, its the end user's fault.

I find I can be really freakin' sloppy typing on it and the only times it really screws something up is if I miss the space bar and run two words together.

If anything, the biggest problem is you can type significantly ahead of the word corrections with it, and may have a word come up wrong when you are 2-3 words ahead.

I suspect part of the problem is people using abbreviations it isn't expecting.

Re:Um, look at the screen? (1)

lothar97 (768215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349999)

I was ready to buy an iPhone with my holiday bonus until I actually tried one out. I'm 6'5" and have really large hands/fingers. It is impossible for me to type on the iPhone, I often could not even press the first correct letter with my fat fingers. I don't want to rely upon a spell checker learning from my errors, I like to spell words correctly myself. I could type well when I turned the iPhone on its side (the keyboard on the screen is bigger in that mode), but as near as I could tell that only happens while using Safari (e.g. the KB stays on the bottom, then right, when turned on its side in email/text mode).

I'll stick with my BlackBerry for now, at least I can feel keys under my fingers.

Reality distortion field at full power (5, Insightful)

WebCowboy (196209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350185)

If you fat finger something, back up and fix it. Its not the phones fault, its the end user's fault.

SteveJ's reality distortion field is still going strong. I don't think I've come across any product defect or design flaw in an Apple product that hasn't had at least one Apple apologist step up and blame the customer. I remember early colour Powerbooks (the 1st-gen PowerPC ones) that had a lot of problems with power cord connectors and battery charging and though most users complained and Apple even admitted fault and issued a recall, there were a number of Apple fans who derided users for misusing or abusing their precious Powerbooks. Later there were white MacBooks that started to discolour after a few weeks of regular use. It couldn't be that snow-white was an impractical choice for a laptop enclosure, or that the plastic or protective coatings were not of high quality--it was the fault of users with their sweaty grubby hands (never mind that the cheap and not-so-cheerful Dells went far longer before showing wear or discolouring).

Right from the days of the ZX81 and Atari 400 until today, it has been proven time and again that flat, non-tactile keyboard surfaces are inferior to keyboards/keypads with raised keys and tactile feedback when it comes to any sort of serious typing. This study regarding the iPhone's on-screen touch-keyboard is not the least bit surprising. Certainly it is no more surprising than an iEnthusiast complaining that users must evolve to accommodate their beloved Apple products.

If you use your mobile for a lot of text messaging the iPhone is an inferior product and you should get a Blackberry instead. That doesn't mean the iPhone isn't pretty or cool or useful for other things, but it is what it is. It isn't stupid user's fault for iPhone typos, it is the design of the iPhone itself. It isn't meant to be a "text message machine"--it merely offers something "good enough" to do the occasional text message when you need to.

Target Market (2, Funny)

keithpreston (865880) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349807)

Could it be that the IPhone is an attractive product to people that can't spell?

Re:Target Market (1)

pshumate (1004477) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349973)

Oh, that's a lode of hoarse-siht. I've had my aye on an iPohne for awile now, and I sepll just fyne.

why not in apple section? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21349811)

this is apple news.

bluetooth keyboard (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349815)

Someone told me that you can actually hook a bluetooth keyboard up to the iPhone, can anyone verify this?

Re:bluetooth keyboard (1)

brett880 (970445) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349915)

That would be quite inconvenient for 99% of people texting 99% of the time.

no you cant (1)

CdBee (742846) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350081)

typed on a sony ericsson ;-)

Quick 'n' Dirty Analysis (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349825)

Let me guess: As a truly classic geek toy for geek boys, more IPhones are owned by males than females. Males generally suck at typing, especially on small keyboards. Ergo, more typos on an IPhone, and no faster text entry, even though the "keyboard" is a little larger than a cell phone key pad. Q.E.D.

User-Base and Laziness? (4, Insightful)

lamarguy91 (1101967) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349867)

Before everyone points at the iPhone, has anyone stopped to take the user-base into consideration? The iPhone user-base isn't the same as bunch of professionals typing e-mails on their desktops or business users tapping away on their Blackberries.

I bet if the same type of study was done with Sidekick users, we'd see a higher error rate as well.

I'm not saying that the phone interface doesn't have anything to do with it. I would never buy one as it doesn't have a keyboard. I simply think the user-base needs to be taken into consideration.

FTA: "iPhone owners also left an average of 2.6 errors/completed message created on the iPhone compared to an average of 0.8 errors/completed message left by hard-key QWERTY phone owners on their own phone."

So is user-laziness a factor here as well? It says that the user "left" errors in the message. I make errors in typing all the time, but I usually correct them. Why not conduct a study to see what the error-rate is without letting the users make corrections. That would be the best way to see just how accurate initial text input was.

Re:User-Base and Laziness? (1)

fatlaces (848825) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350217)

you are so right. apple users are just mentally handicapped. and i've become such a no good lazy person since i got into os x. crap, i don't even feel like capitalizing.

all hail the mental acuity of cubicle serfs/suits (professionals as you say) with thumb skills.

pooh on apple for not having exchange integration so i can communicate with the mules at the office.

Huh? (off-topic) (0, Offtopic)

satoshi1 (794000) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349905)

What's with the dont*mebro tags as of late? While I find them hilarious, I am confused as to their origin.

Re:Huh? (off-topic) (0, Offtopic)

SashaMan (263632) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350013)

"Don't taze me bro" is the new slashdot meme. It was originally uttered by that guy that was tazered at a John Kerry forum at a university. Looking down the story history, "dontwavemebro" was a pun used for the story dealing with microwaves being used to remotely disable cars.

Re:Huh? (off-topic) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21350019)

don't tase me bro.

If only there was a way to make money off a meme, that guy would be rich!

Re:Huh? (off-topic) (0, Offtopic)

W2k (540424) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350051)

The original phrase is "Don't tase me, bro!". Google it or see a helpful summary here [] (not my blog).

Early reviews noted this already (1)

unconfused1 (173222) | more than 6 years ago | (#21349959)

This is old news.

Early reviews of the iPhone noted that the touchscreen keyboard did take a while to get used to, but once you worked just as well as hardware thumb-hunt-and-peck keyboards on phones. Most of the typos were due strictly to getting used to it.

Either way there has been no practical claim by a reviewer to the iPhone's keyboard being faster, as this article seems to suggest.

corepirate nazi hypenosys leaves one infactdead (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21349975)

they appear to still be walking & talking (lying), but in reality they've traded their blackened souls for just a bit more greed/fear/ego based resource to continue their life0cidal path of harming more&more of the creators' innocents. the big flash is (literally) at hand.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators, providing more than enough of everything (using an unlimited supply of newclear power), without any of the self serving motives (see also: greed/fear/ego) that many of us succumb to, since/until forever. see you there?

Bigger display, not better keyboard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21349993)

It's not that the keyboard is revolutionary because it allows you to type faster, it has nothing to do with typing. What's revolutionary is the fact that Apple has taken back all the real estate that used to be exclusively allocated to the keyboard, and can now use that area to enlarge the display. It's all about having a LARGER DISPLAY. That's what makes the iPhone special. If text messaging is your priority then the iPhone may not be your ideal phone.

Sexy technology Business Sense (2, Funny)

ZipprHead (106133) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350001)

Yeah, but my IPhone has gotten me laid, can you say that about your blackberry?

Re:Sexy technology Business Sense (5, Funny)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350139)

Yeah, but my IPhone has gotten me laid, can you say that about your blackberry?

I'm sure that blackberries can also be used to place calls to escort services.

Touchscreen Real keys (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350021)

This really isn't surprising. No tactile feedback and fat fingers on "imaginary" keys = lots of typos. You have no way of feeling or hearing if you accidentally mashed a couple keys. On a keyboard you've got touch and sound to tell you when you've hit a key. My friend doesn't own an iPhone but she owns a phone whose keys are touch-sensitive (no pressing, just touch the key). There's no tactile or audible feedback and she constantly has trouble with typos on it. It's basically the same thing. No feedback = poor typing accuracy.

Graffiti (1)

Liquid Len (739188) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350025)

Personnaly, I find Graffiti, on Palms, awful. I can't imagine it being worse than that...

meh (1)

iphayd (170761) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350065)

They admit to an extremely small group of subjects. What that means is it's the iPhone owners in the office. While I don't discount their results as a possibility, it may just be _those_ few users, and not the majority. I suspect that further testing should be done.

(If anyone wants to fund an additional subject, I'd be happy to become one for the price of the phone and six months of coverage.)

It's not supposed to be optimized for typing. (5, Insightful)

Odonian (730378) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350083)

The 'revolutionary' thing about the iPhone touch keyboard is not that it's a better keyboard than a real tactile one. In fact, it's worse than a real keyboard in terms of accuracy and speed, even with the spell correcting and magnifying keys and click sound etc. The real value of the iPhone keyboard is that it does not take up real estate on your phone, which leaves room for a big screen for other things; pictures, movies, maps, etc. without making the phone a huge unwieldy monster.

In spite of it's shortcomings, it is still more than sufficient for typing search keywords, web urls, quick messages and replies, but if you are a mobile email addict and actually send lots of email, you are probably better off with a blackberry.

Re:It's not supposed to be optimized for typing. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21350237)

Yeah Bob, I'm going to have to go ahead and disagree with you here. If by "real" keyboard you are referring to a full size PC keyboard, then yes, the iPhone's keyboard is worse. However, if you actually GET an iPhone and compare it to any other mobile device, you'll see the error of your ways. Strike that, I doubt you could figure out how to turn it on much less afford one... Well, anyhow, I type 4 to 5 times faster and exponentially more accurate on my iPhone than on my previous Blackberry, Treo or Sidekick. I'm not the only one either... Maybe it takes an IQ higher than ones shoe size to use it properly?

Dvorak! (1)

mwilliamson (672411) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350085)

Perhaps the far superior, far more efficient Dvorak layout would help. I've been using it for 12 years now ;-) QWERTY just plain sucks.

Methodology and market (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350099)

First, consider the methodology of this study. The sample size was 20 people, per device type. Who knows what the error bars on that look like? Next, nowhere do they list what they define as an error. Do common SMS abbreviations count against a user?

Another thing to consider is the target market of the iPhone. The main appeal of the iPhone is that it makes tasks easy for users, thus opening up the smartphone market to people who have never tried using advanced phone features before. The majority of the people buying iPhones previously owned a regular cell phone, not a smartphone. That means they did not have a keyboard at all and a large percentage probably never sent any SMS messages because the learning curve for figuring our how to type letters on a number pad was too high. This means, even assuming the study is accurate, the causality is by no means certain.

Voice recognition (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350109)

To avoid having to teach a lot of people how to type, they could implement some kind of voice recognition device.

Then, as the message reached his target, the apparatus could reproduce that message with an automated text reader.

If they implement both services in such a way that they are fast and reliable enough, people would be able to actually have something similar to a voice conversation over long distances.

Suspect (1)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350125)

I use SMS heavily on my iPhone. (I also routinely post to Slashdot on it.) There is no question that it is harder/slower to compose prose accurately on it than on full qwerty. On the other hand T9 made me want to heave my old phone out of a moving car.

Anyway, the SMSs I send have fewer mistakes than half the email I receive. Most of the SMSs I receive are barely more than gibberish. I'd be very interested to know where they found their sample of iPhone users. I find their results suspect based on my experience.


Yup (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350181)

It's way too easy to miss by a key and hit the one next to it. You can't rest your fingers on the screen because it's so sensitive, as well. Your best bet for typing on the thing seems to be "hunt and peck" with your index finger. That method of input is rather painful -- I would actually prefer to use palm graffiti, and I couldn't STAND that input method.

The upshot of all that is avoid the iphone for long documents. If you can connect a bluetooth keyboard to it, that would help a lot. Must look into that...

Practice... (1)

krazytekn0 (1069802) | more than 6 years ago | (#21350207)

First of I didn't RTFA, but does this study take into account that almost everyone with an iPhone is a new user and possibly hasn't acquired the same muscle memory that they have for regular cell phone keypads yet? If not then I would say you have to take two people who haven't used any kind of mobile phone keypad to type text and put them through a testing process. You would have to do this at least several thousand times with different people for an accurate measure of the different technologies. This is almost the same thing as saying that windows is more user friendly than linux or mac os x, it's not, windows is more windows-user friendly.
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