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Hands on: Phorm takes the awkwardness out of thumb-typing on an iPad mini

Susie Ochs | April 24, 2015
The Phorm case, from Tactus, adds a tactile layer to the software keyboard when you're holding your iPad mini in portrait mode and engage the switch on the back--supposedly being able to "feel" the keys will make it easier to type.

Tactus is taking orders for the Phorm now. The iPad mini case comes in slate gray (gray and black) or sky gray (gray and white) for $99, and ships this summer. Next up is a version for iPhone 6 Plus. And Tactus doesn't plan to stop there. The company even has a prototype Android tablet with the technology built right in — it's lighter than a similarly sized tablet since the Phorm's membrane replaces the topmost glass layer over the screen. Better yet, the technology is tied into the OS, so there's no switch to flip — the bumps come up automatically whenever the keyboard comes on screen, and fade away again when the keyboard goes away.

If you do a lot of thumb-typing on an iPad mini, Phorm's guides could speed you up and provide a satisfying tactile experience. It's definitely a niche product, but I'm glad my initial skepticism was proved wrong.


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