Tactile Buttons

One of my major beefs with the iPhone has always been its lack of tactile buttons. I’m not much of a texter anyway, and I’ve always figured I was probably less of one because I find it awkward to type on buttons that give me no tactile feedback when pushed.

This week, I’ve learned to some degree to appreciate the lack of tactile buttons. The Kindle has little buttons that you have to press firmly until they click, and it really slows my typing down. I find myself wanting something between what the iPhone offers and what the Kindle offers, a much more subtle physical indicator of a button press than the Kindle offers but something, at any rate, besides a tiny audible click.

I’m reminded suddenly of a difference I noticed years and years ago between keyboards for the Mac and the PC. This would have been in a college computer lab way back in 1995. The PCs (which still ran Windows 3.something if I recall correctly) had these great big clunky keyboards with ponderous keys that you just about had to mash with your elbows to depress. But when you switched to a Mac for some reason or another, you had these soft delicate keys that didn’t plunge and click so much as ease downward to a soft, springy terminal point. It was harder on the Macs to know you were typing individual letters because you lacked the definitive audible and tactile click, but there was something nice about that more gentle tactile feedback.

I’m undecided at this point on whether I’m coming around to the iPhone way of doing things or whether I’d like some tiny feedback when I push buttons. I do know that I wish the Kindle required just a wee bit less finger strength, which would allow me to take notes at least twice as fast as at present.

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