Concept Video Suggests Means to Vastly Improve Text Editing in iOS

Friday May 4, 2012 9:29 AM PDT by Eric Slivka
iDownloadBlog points to a new YouTube concept video showing one user's idea of how Apple could vastly improve the text editing functionality on the iPad and other iOS devices.


While the current method of text selection involves tapping and dragging around the screen to select cursor position and highlight text, Daniel Hooper suggests that Apple could make use of gestures in the keyboard area of the screen to easily move the cursor in text fields. Simply holding down the keyboard's shift key while gesturing would easily select sections of text for editing.


The suggestion is of course not an official product of Apple's software designers, and so Hooper has also provided instructions on how to use Apple's bug reporting system to suggest the feature to the company's engineers. Apple maintains a policy discouraging users from submitting unsolicited ideas, but notes that it retains the full rights associated with ideas that are submitted to the company.

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Posted: 33 months ago
As usual, some people seem to really want this feature, and some people really don't.

There's a nice compromise: be able to turn the feature on or off in the Keyboard settings.


Boom. Everyone wins.
Rating: 11 Votes
Posted: 33 months ago
Apple absolutely HAVE to integrate this into iOS. Editing text in messages/emails is painfully slow, awkward and cumbersome at present.
Rating: 6 Votes
Posted: 33 months ago

This would break the keyboard for many non-English languages.

Really hoping Apple won't implement this. Sorry.


I don’t know why you’re being voted down for this. You’re absolutely right. As a German, I make use of the swiping up gesture on certain lettres to get a special character. This would likely sometimes interfere with the idea to swipe up if you want to go up with the curser.
Rating: 4 Votes
Posted: 33 months ago
That is seriously awesome, kudos to the people that developed that. I hope Apple take a look at the video, I'd love to see that in iOS 6 ;)
Rating: 3 Votes
Posted: 33 months ago

But it isn't a swiping up gesture, is it? It's a hold-for-one-second-then-swipe-up-and-slightly-to-the-right gesture (which btw was way better before iOS4 when it automatically preselected the most likely character (e.g. in German äöüß) from the list).


You don't swipe up, you hold the key for a fraction longer and than the special characters appear. I don't think this system would interfere with it.


Yes, you can hold keys, but on the iPad you can also swipe up. Just try it on the question mark or the comma key.

Keyboards in non-english languages let you do this with letters that have diacritics on top of them. (Umlauts etc...)
Rating: 3 Votes
Posted: 33 months ago
The problem that many of you are describing is easily solved. In fact, the solution is already shown in the video.

As far as I'm aware, no international keyboard at the moment uses a two finger swipe to select any special characters (correct me if I'm wrong). In the video, one finger swipe moves the cursor slowly, two finger swipe moves the cursor quickly.

The solution is simple: only implement the two finger swipe to move the cursor!

It's not intuitive that two fingers should swipe quicker than one finger… the speed of cursor movement should be dependent on the speed of the swipe only, not on the number of fingers being used.

(Queue the "that's what she said" jokes…)

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It may be faster to move the cursor by swiping, but what I want is more precision with cursor positioning. It's not clear to me from the video exactly how I would stop the cursor at the exact position I want it.


The cursor moves as you swipe. When you stop swiping, the cursor stops moving… how is that not letting you control the exact position you want?
Rating: 3 Votes
Posted: 33 months ago
I'd *love* this, but, just to play devil's advocate a bit:

1) This would likely interfere with the existing tap/hold function of the keyboard (most keys will offer other characters if you tap and hold on them). Not everyone (especially most of Apple's iPad demographic) is as quick about things, so they could easily trigger the foreign character picker accidentally. It's definitely not "Apple-ish" for the "other characters" selector to pop up on a key while you were trying to select text.

2) The two-finger gesture wouldn't really work non-iPad iOS devices, because most (IMO) users just type with their thumbs. It could just be an extra gesture on the iPad, though.

That's all I've got. Now make this happen please apple kthx.
Rating: 2 Votes
Posted: 33 months ago
I'd very much like to see this - would greatly reduce the need for a physical keyboard.
Rating: 2 Votes
Posted: 33 months ago

As a German, I make use of the swiping up gesture on certain lettres to get a special character. This would likely sometimes interfere with the idea to swipe up if you want to go up with the curser.

But it isn't a swiping up gesture, is it? It's a hold-for-one-second-then-swipe-up-and-slightly-to-the-right gesture (which btw was way better before iOS4 when it automatically preselected the most likely character (e.g. in German äöüß) from the list). This in itself is pretty much broken for languages like German where these characters are really common (and other languages I suspect). At least on the iPad there should be enough space for a standard German (or French or Turkish etc.) keyboard.
As far as this concept is concerned, I'd love to see something like this implemented and I don't see how it could break non-English keyboards at all.
Rating: 2 Votes
Posted: 33 months ago

But, it could be implemented without upward swipes, surely? I use upward swipe for things like quote characters. But, sideways to move cursor, shift sideways to select would be a good start, then maybe a dedicated area of keyboard not used for character shortcuts for up and down?


The gesture system is more than sophisticated enough to add this this system without effecting the additional character support.

I think it would be a great addition. I saw it and though it just seemed so natural. Steve did say touch screens were something the user had to be trained in to
Rating: 2 Votes

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