Sources inform me that Apple has finally caught on, and will include the Dvorak Keyboard layout in the new version of their iOS, version 5, due out in the fall.
The latest version of iOS 4 only included software support for QWERTY, AZERTY, and QWERTZ layouts, though it would support Dvorak with an external keyboard. (see screenshot)
This is big news for me, as it’s now been nearly three years since I became a Dvorak typist. The switch was a challenge because in order to retrain my finger to know where to go, I had to switch not only at home, but at work. The only place I couldn’t switch was my iPhone. Truthfully, while I wanted to switch my typing 100%, this wasn’t a huge issue since thumb typing, in my opinion, is different from actual typing, and the benefits of Dvorak can’t really be achieved on such a small typing screen.
Of course, then the iPad came out. And the lack of Dvorak support in iOS was a huge disappointment, and was probably, in retrospect, the deal breaker for me. In truth, the iPad, when it was first launched, was not a big deal to me, and I didn’t really want one. However, with all the apps that are now available, I see the iPad as a potentially important tool that can greatly enhance my productivity. I own a MacBook Pro which sits on my desk, and goes virtually nowhere, despite it being designed for portability. So, I’ve been itching for an iPad for a while now, but the keyboard issue was… just that… an issue I couldn’t ignore.
But, that’s changed, and when the new operating is released, I see an iPad more clearly in my future. There are many of us who have made the switch in order to type faster while reducing strain on our hands and wrists, and there are many of us who have resisted iPhones and iPads because of that.
So, I look forward to the new iOS 5. It will be interesting switching to Dvorak for thumb typing, and it’ll be great to not have to deal with QWERTY for the iPad, or have to buy an external keyboard for it. The next question is, will there be a new iPad announced this year, and will it be an iPad 2 HD or an iPad 3?