The iPad Keyboard Dock's "special" keys aren't really so special

Discussion in 'iPad' started by NitroBum, Jul 20, 2010.

  1. NitroBum

    NitroBum Active Member

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    http://store.apple.com/us/configure/MB294LL/A?mco=MTcyMTgwOTM

    So, you have an iPad or you want to get one, and you're looking for a physical keyboard to keep yourself from going insane typing on a piece of glass. Lucky for you, Apple offers two beautiful alternatives; the iPad Keyboard Dock and the Apple Wireless Keyboard.

    There are many pros and cons to each accessory that have been discussed many times before, so I'll leave those alone for now. However, one of Apple's biggest selling points of the Keyboard Dock is its inclusion of iPad specific special function keys. But are these keys really "special" enough to make the difference?

    Well, let's take a look at what the Dock offers that you won't get with the Wireless Keyboard.

    The home screen button
    It's located where the Esc key is on regular keyboards. Now I just want you to imagine having your new iPad standing tall in portrait mode attached to the top of your shiny new keyboard dock. Now imagine for me where your keyboard's home button is. At the top left corner of the keyboard right? Now try to visualize the home button on your iPad. Oh right, it's right in the middle, at the top of the keyboard. Not really much of a reach I guess.

    See, where this key would really be useful is when you can't actually reach the iPad, or it's just more convenient to use the keyboard. For example, almost any time you'd be using the Wireless Keyboard.

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    If you could only get this home button feature using the bluetooth alternative. (hint: check the end of this post

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    )

    Spotlight search
    It's located directly to the right of the keyboard's home button key, in the space normally occupied by F1. Definitely convenient, but nothing that couldn't be replicated by 1 to 3 home button clicks.

    If only you could do those 1 to 3 clicks using your bluetooth keyboard. (seriously, read the end of this post. it's not actually a secret. go ahead)

    Display brightness
    Keyboard Dock has it where F2 and F3 normally are. Wireless Keyboard has it at F1 and F2. Nothing really too exclusive here.

    Picture frame mode
    You guessed it. Located on a key that should read F4. (Phantom?) Nice feature if you need a picture frame RIGHT NOW. Or you could just hit the home button and touch the little flower icon to the right of "slide to unlock" if you're a little more patient.
    Sorry, no bottom of the post hints for this one.

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    Onscreen keyboard
    Keyboard Dock has a key with a little picture of a keyboard at F5. Wireless Keyboard has an eject key all the way on the top right. Both do the same thing. You'll hardly ever use it either way.

    Screen lock
    This one's all the way in the top right corner on the Keyboard Dock. It locks the screen. It's not on the Wireless Keyboard.
    Let's see what we can do about it not being on the Wireless Keyboard.

    Mysterious paragraph at the end of the post
    The secret is in the volume buttons. And Activator of course. With the proper settings, you can use the volume buttons on your keyboard to imitate a click of the home button or the lock button. (Or anything else you want, but these are really going to be useful for you)
    You can hit Volume Down-Up to close your current app, Volume Up-Down to lock your screen, and then hit any key (yes, the mysterious "any" key) to unlock your iPad, bypassing the lock screen. Suddenly, using two keys that were already there, you've got the two that you've been missing!

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    So, with a little jailbreak magic, the only key you're left without is the slideshow key; not much of a loss. Go ahead and choose whichever keyboard you want.

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    By the way, this entire post was written using an iPad and an Apple Wireless Keyboard while laying in bed. Try doing that with your Keyboard Dock!
  2. Ari.

    Ari. Active Member

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    wait, how do you allow the blank key to be used?

    Also, you may want to add holding lock screen button turns ipad off

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  3. NitroBum

    NitroBum Active Member

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    The blank key? What do you mean?

    And that's good to know about the power off function. It is another thing that you can set to work with Activator, possibly with the volume display tap. With that though, I think I'm out of Activator options using the keyboard.
  4. Ari.

    Ari. Active Member

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    I thought you said you could add a function to the blank key, I must have read wrong :/
  5. NitroBum

    NitroBum Active Member

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    No, I didn't say that, nor have I seen anything about it, but if you can do that it would be pretty awesome!

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