in iPad

Last year I spent a lot of time studying and writing up assignments for a teaching qualification I was undertaking. This was one of those projects where I really benefited from using the iPad thanks to its simplicity and useful apps for writing and collecting research notes from downloaded PDFs.

At this time I was using my iPad Air and a Logitech keyboard case and took up a strange habit that I hadn’t planned on doing. I typed with my iPad in portrait.

Why type on an iPad in portrait ?

Up to that point I had more often than not typed in landscape. After all, that provides more space for each key when you have a software keyboard and most hardware keyboards assume that you want to have your iPad in landscape view to mimic a more traditional laptop view. That is exactly what I had thought, but with switching between reading research in PDFs which necessitated reading in portrait mode and typing, I found that I ended up leaving my iPad in portrait mode when typing for extended periods.

The advantages of Typing on an iPad in Portrait

I soon felt like this was a more natural way to type on the iPad as I could see the exact layout that I would get in the final product. It also brings the iPad closer to my eye level which is valuable considering the low position that an ipad adopts in landscape, leading to issues of bad posture.

As I already mentioned, when you are switching between a PDF or other document that you really need or ought to read in portrait position, then you don’t want to have to keep rotating your iPad, keeping it in portrait can make a lot of sense here.

Finally, typing in portrait is useful for when you are on the move in a small space such as a busy train or bus and wish to thumb type. In portrait, you can get a firm enough grip on the iPad and still type. Well at least on the 10.5 iPad Pro, I can’t testify if this is true on the larger 12,9 iPad Pro.

It is even more true on the iPad mini as I had to do so on my wife’s this weekend and was blown away by how comfortable it was to type in this way. I can easily see why Federico started his iPad journey with a mini.

The SmartKeyboard KILLED my portrait typing

However, all that ended when I picked up my iPad Pro and Smart Keyboard cover. That’s because the Smart Keyboard cover is only designed to be used in landscape orientation.

I understand this decision, after all my first keyboard case was also designed with this way as the primary consideration, but also supported other options. It is also possible to use a Bluetooth keyboard while the Smart Keyboard cover is on and so have the iPad in portrait while you type on it…but in reality, that just isn’t what I choose to do. After all, the keyboard case is there, why would I choose to get another keyboard out?

Do you like typing in portrait as well?

I’m willing to bet the vast majority of iPad Pro users won’t care. Landscape typing is the way that the vast majority of people use their iPads, which is why the decision was made for the smart connector and keyboard to work in such a way. But for me, I’d like that flexibility back.

I’d like a keyboard case that could switch round and be used in portrait as well and yet still have the smart connector. I know it’s a tough ask, but maybe something could come along.

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    • Not yet, the best thing I’ve found so far is the new compass pro from Twelve South, which has multiple angles, but there’s no keyboard with that.

  1. Hi Chris: I have just read your article and wonder whether you have found your ideal keyboard that allows you to type in either landscape or portrait modes. I have recently bought the iPad mini 5 and is searching for such keyboard. Also I find that reading ebooks in portrait mode is more enjoyable.