The Advantages of a Virtual Keyboard
With software update 2.2 it is now possible to turn auto-correction on or off. I think this has been the second most often requested feature right behind cut and paste, which was by far the most often requested one. You can find the auto-correction switch in the settings application under General > Keyboard > Auto-Correction.
Another feature which might be useful to you is the “.” shortcut. If switched on, you can tap the space bar twice to enter a period followed by a space character. The switch can be found in Settings > General > Keyboard > “.” Shortcut.
Have you noticed the little globe key to the left of the space bar in the keyboard screen shots? You can choose from different international keyboards in the settings application under General > Keyboard > International Keyboards. For example, when you need to write emails in different languages this is a convenient method to switch between different keyboards and languages. Just press the globe to switch to the next configured language. This will not only change the keyboard layout, but also the auto-correction dictionary. When you have pressed the globe, the language you have switched to is displayed on the space bar for about one second. For me, switching between different keyboards comes in handy when I want to write emails to my Spanish speaking friends.
One feature I wasn’t aware of before I read about it this week is the capability to hit the shift key twice to switch to caps-lock mode. You also need to enable this feature in the settings application under General > Keyboard > Enable Caps Lock. You might want to use this feature if you need to yell at your COLLEAGUES, when writing them an email.
If you need to enter special letters like German umlaute (ü, ö, ä) or the Spanish letter eñe (ñ) just tap the underlying key and hold it for a short period. You will notice that a contextual menu appears where you can choose the special letter from. This also works when entering email addresses or URLs, as depicted in the screen shot.
Last but not least, here is one of my favourite keyboard tricks. You can enter characters by swiping on the keyboard. This is helpful when you need to enter passwords which are often a combination of letters, digits and special characters. For example, you can enter a digit by tapping on the 123 key and then swiping to the number key you want to enter. When you have entered the number just release the key and you will notice that the keyboard switches back to the mode for entering characters again.
Now, try these tricks with a device which has a real physical keyboard.