Android phones have long supported keyboards and mice, and you could even use physical keyboards with iPhone and iPad models. But iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 finally provide official mouse support. This means you can use a wireless or wired mouse and keyboard with your iPhone or iPad. A futuristic peripheral that combines both may be even better.
Tap is a portable keyboard / mouse combination that seems to fit perfectly smartphones and tablets. It's not as neck-distorting as face-tracking inputs, does not use bulky bulbs to create augmented reality interfaces, and does not require desktop laser projectors. Instead, apply Tap on your proximal phalanx, with a ring for each finger, equipped with accelerometers that capture the required data from your digits. This data is then sent via Bluetooth to the connected device.
To type, save typing and sequence input instead of interacting with a holographic keyboard on a flat surface. Each of the vowels is a single tap of another finger, while other letters, special characters and keyboard functions are two or three fingers together or a double tap. There is some learning curve, but some users could enter over 50 words per minute (70 is the record).
For the mouse, an optical chip is integrated into the thumb ring, which contains a laser and an image sensor. If your thumb touches a flat surface, it is in optical mouse mode. When you move it, the cursor moves on the screen. To perform mouse clicks, drag and drop, or scroll, tap your other fingers on the table with your thumb and hand.
This is true for the older Tap Strap unit. The new version, Tap Strap 2, released on October 8, 2019, adds an "AirMouse" feature. This means you can use air gestures to perform mouse movements with simple, natural hang gestures. There are three modes available for the new AirMouse feature:
- Mouse Mode : Lets you control, click, and scroll a cursor like a standard mouse.
- Multimedia mode : You can play, pause, adjust the volume, and move to the next or previous track.
- Smart TV Mode : You can navigate menus, select items, and search for content.
The updated Tap Strap 2 also offers more support for iPhone and iPad models. This means you can perform horizontal horizontal swipes, access the app switcher, launch the splash screen, and much more. Basically, you do not have to touch your iOS device much or not at all – with the Tap Strap 2 this is possible. The new version also features a new thumb ring slider, longer battery life, improved mouse optics, and a selfie gesture that lets you capture photos without touching your phone or tablet.
The RRP for Tap Strap 2 is slightly high at $ 199, but you can get it from Amazon with free shipping. The same applies to the cover in the Tap Store. The first-generation Tap Strap 2 is still available if you think you do not need AirMouse. On the arrival of Tap Strap 2 a discount of 25% to 149 USD is granted. Free shipping is also available on Amazon and the Tap Store.
Whatever version you choose, you do not have to use it on your iPhone or iPad. It works on Android devices, Mac and Windows computers, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV stick, Microsoft HoloLens, Oculus Go or Quest, Smart TVs, and any other device that accepts Bluetooth input for computers and mice. So it can be part of your daily routine, from device to device.
Both taps are suitable for left-handed and right-handed people. They are available in two different sizes and include a hard shell sleeve to protect and load the Tap Rings. If you travel a lot, it's more portable than a separate keyboard and mouse, and you can always bring a portable charger with you to refresh your faucet, phone, tablet or whatever.
I tested the tap strap of the first generation myself, and there is definitely a learning curve, but if you stick with it, Tap could be your new favorite gadget. As long as you can remember all the touches and hand positions that are necessary for a smooth process, you are golden. There are times when it seems to do its own thing, no matter how you type or move, but things only get better when Tap releases software updates. When you get the Tap Strap 2, the air movements are much easier to use. At Amazon: Tap Strap 2 (139.30 USD, usually 199 USD)
Tap Strap 1 ($ 99, usually $ 149)
In the Tap Store: Tap Strap 2 ($ 139.30, usually $ 199)
Tap Strap 1 ($ 99, usually $ 149)