This’ll be short, but I think that if voice recognition gets advanced enough, the iPad could actually spell the death of typing.
The qwerty-esque keyboard for an iPad will be better than typing on an iPhone, but for kids and non-touch typists it still may take too long. Touch-typing, which was taught in my High School as its own course, may fall by the wayside if something faster could come along.
All you need is one small feature.
If Apple REALLY wants to change the landscape, they’ll include a one-handed typing option for the iPad, not mandatory, but an option. Imagine the brand loyalty you’d get if you patented an input interface that the next generation would learn as well as Qwerty. The subtle key placement differences of Mac and PCs that already exist cause some folks who hate change to become angry and confused.
I could also see the idea of texting splitting off from typing, and the qwerty keyboard becoming less and less in use on the iPad.
Again, you’d give older folks the ability to switch to qwerty if they want, but a lot of kids would never turn back. After all, qwerty was meant to slow down typing speed. I’ve been doing it for 20 years now, but that doesn’t mean my kid will.
There are more radical options than that, of course. For example, what if on every page, if you double-tap a text box with your finger, it gets vocal input from you and puts the words in the box.
Simple, but effective.
This wouldn’t be possible for everyone of course, but the main reason I think it’s not in wider use yet is that people haven’t been given a better option than typing.
You’d still have the option to have one, but it would be a specialized item, like a TTY machine.
The next stage could be a computer with which you can have a conversation, no screen necessary. However, if the iPad does well, it will quite possibly demonstrate that humans like their visual and tactile stimulation enough that audio-only options won’t catch on.
So, reading won’t die as quickly. There is some historical precedent for language that can be read but not written.
Either way, the fact that we’re clinging on to this old style of text input, based on a legacy of technology that has long since passed, is something to consider.
If the iPad’s not a flop (and I really doubt it’s going to flop) the marginalization and/or death of Qwerty typing within a couple of generations isn’t that far-fetched.