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Type to your iPhone with Type2Phone and your Mac keyboard


As a general rule, I avoid reviewing apps from friends. You send me a pitch, I pass it along to the team. But when Matthias Ringwald, Bluetooth developer extraordinaire told me about Type2Phone, I really wanted to try it out myself. For $4.99, this Mac app transforms your computer into a wireless Bluetooth keyboard.

If you're not exactly following why anyone would care about that, let me explain why this utility fills a huge hole in the iOS experience, particularly for developers.

Nearly all recent devices now support external Bluetooth keyboards for text entry. You navigate to Settings, enable Bluetooth, select a device and pair to it. You can then type using a physical keyboard rather than the onscreen touch one. This greatly speeds up text entry.

What Type2Phone does, by emulating a BT keyboard, is let you perform the same announcement and pairing tasks, but from your OS X desktop. That means, if you're testing software on your device (or you just want to type to your device with your computer nearby for any other reason), you can pair and go in just a few seconds, without having to drag out a hardware keyboard.

The application remembers the pairing details for you, and you can select each device from a pop-up menu.

For devs, that's insanely useful. You can instantly type into text fields, into text views, or into any object that implements a UITextInput protocol. Type2Phone means you can do your text entry from your normal keyboard, along side your normal development tasks. It evaporates a messy annoying detail of development.

Personally, I'd prefer if the app offered a way to switch off its scrolling text preview (you see it at the top of this post) -- I type fast enough that the scrolling letters make me a bit dizzy -- but aside from that, this app did its job exactly as promised.

You can grab Type2Go from the Mac App Store.

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