The quickest way to type on the iPhone has always been to hold the device in two hands and type with both thumbs. It feels natural and it’s a technique I adopted when using devices such as the Compaq iPaq and Palm Treo.
Thumb typing appeals particularly to touch typists who find the iPhone keyboard impossibly small for ten-finger operation. Yet even non-typists find it easier to learn than full traditional methods. It is probably more accurate than the non-typists’ habitual hunt and peck system.
The iPad is another matter. Even in portrait mode the keyboard is too wide for effective thumb typing yet too small to mimic a full-size keyboard. In landscape mode it is better for touch typing but you must use a flat surface and, preferably, arrange a small incline such as that provided by a folded Smart Cover.
All these compromises are over when you discover a well-hidden feature of iO5 on the Pad: the split keyboard. Just place a couple of fingers on the virtual keyboard and move them apart as you would to zoom in on a photograph or web page. The keyboard instantly splits in two so that each half is within a thumb’s reached the edge, even in when typing in landscape.
The split layout then becomes the default until you change it back with a two-finger pinch. At first the arrangement feels a bit odd; but after a few minutes you are typing just as fast as on the iPhone.
Strangely, in the past I favoured the iPhone over the iPad for drafting text. This was simply because I couldn’t get on with the inability to type while holding the iPad in two hands. Now I can and it feels good. Give it a go.