Lately, I've been particularly keen on the idea of an iPad keyboard. I recently traveled with a Bluetooth one, and having physical keys made all the difference when it came to writing on the go. The only problem was that toting a separate accessory wasn't exactly convenient — especially when it was a large plank-like object. (I can already hear the comments: "Why not just get a netbook?" Well, I already have a tablet. Why would I choose to get yet another device, if I can just make use of what I've got?)
I started looking around at all the options out there — and there are a ton now — but there was one that really stood out from the rest: The TouchFire iPad Keyboard, available via Kickstarter. Now this is a creative solution. The keyboard is basically a silicon overlay fashioned with keys that register on the capacitive screen. In layman's terms, the overlay goes on over the top of your screen wherever your iPad soft keyboard pops, so you can blissfully touch type an email, note or the first chapter of your novel.
TouchFire basically turns your touch-sensitive capacitive keyboard into a pressure-sensitive physical keyboard. What's fabulous about that is the fact that you can actually rest your fingers on it without hitting errant keys. (Woo!)
I have to hand it to creators Steve Isaac and Brad Melmon — there's some smart thinking behind this product. The overlay is transparent, so if you ever need to see the full screen, the keyboard won't block it. And it stays in place with magnets (on the iPad 2), so you don't need to put any adhesive on your tablet. The TouchFire also rolls away or stows away neatly onto your Smart Cover, so that slim, pretty tablet can stay that way, with no extra bulk.
It's not hard to see how they managed to raise $100k+ on Kickstarter. The project will be fully funded in 10 days, so if you're interested in signing up, you can hit the page here. The minimum pledge to get a keyboard is $45. If it works as well as it looks in the video, I'd say it's money well-spent.
Sadly, I couldn't get my hands on this product (it's in production), but I've been hard at work, snagging every other innovative iPad keyboard solution I could find. Considering the iPad is a hot ticket item this holiday season, I figured why not share the knowledge via a product round-up? So stay tuned to the Buffalo for that, coming soon!