So you have lashed out and purchased your lovely new iPad, and it’s love, so naturally you’re seek ways to make it truly yours. You want to instil upon the device an expression of your own unique personality – a kind of consumerist bonding ritual, perhaps.
There are a plethora of accessories on the market, from covers in an almost infinite array of colours and designs to an overwhelming choice of stickers, faux crystals and the like. Since the boom of mobile technology, designers are presenting us with an ever-expanding choice of accoutrements – their inventiveness escalating by the day.
Check out this très novel device – it mods your 21st century tablet into a mechanical typewriter of yesteryear.
While there is an undeniable charm to the retro design, would this kitsch apparatus add value to your iPad in terms of functionality as a text input device?
Sorry hipsters – quaint, but no banana.
No doubt the initial novelty of imagining oneself to be a 17th century author would lose its shine quite quickly – perhaps in the time it takes to upload an enigmatic picture of you with it, treated with just the right retro filter. The device would then gather dust on the shelf along with the Box Brownie and other charming objet d’art.
You see, the world has made giant leaps since the typewriter in terms of technological advancement – the mechanical has become digital, facilitating a logarithmic increase in functionality.
If you know your history, the letters of the typewriter are in that seemingly random order because typists of the day became too fast and the printing mechanisms became stuck. The mechanical problem was solved by separating the most frequently used letters as much as possible. That’s right – it was a move to slow typists down.
The fact is, the conception of the QWERTY keyboard was not motivated by the need for optimal usability, but by the need to solve a mechanical problem.
Funny thing is, although keyboards are no longer mechanical, we have inherited the QWERTY keyboard from this device manufactured in seventeenth century. The continuing unthinking adoption of the QWERTY system is the technological equivalent to an aberrant gene, and successive generations are inflicted with it.
We are being lavished with more devices and apps than we can eat, yet we can only await the evolution of text input technology with giddy anticipation.