Phorm uses microfluids to raise a segments of a screen protector kept on with a frame and protective case to apply “physical” keys that appear and disappear at the swipe of switch. The goal is to improve typing speed and accuracy when typing with the iPad without requiring a keyboard you have to charge or pair with your tablet.
We haven’t had the opportunity for any hands-on time with the Phorm, but it certainly looks to be a unique solution to an issue many iPad users face.
We especially like the fact that the bubble-like buttons only appear when you turn them on via a sliding panel on the back of the case.
“Microfluidic technology activates optically-clear buttons with just a simple slider bar on the back of the case. The buttons rise above the screen and guide your fingers to the optimal touch zone on your device’s keyboard, improving accuracy, confidence, satisfaction, and the overall typing experience.”
The video below demonstrates how the new keyboard case works.
One thing that might be a drawback for some users is the Phorm’s keyboard is only designed to work in portrait mode, not landscape. Also, it is only designed for Apple’s default virtual keyboard, and isn’t guaranteed to work with any of the custom virtual keyboards that have proliferated since iOS 8. However,Tactus does say that Phorm has been tested with the iOS, Swiftkey, Swype and Fleksy keyboards, so users of those keyboards should be fine.
The initial release of the Phorm case will only work with the iPad mini, and not the larger iPad/iPad Air tablets. The company does allow you to be put on a waiting list for an upcoming iPhone 6 Plus version. Users can also vote on the Tactus website for other versions they’d like to see.
You can get more information about, and pre-order the iPad mini version of the Phorm at GetPhorm.com. While the case will retail at $149 wehn it is released, you can pre-order it today for $99. Tactus plans to begin shipping the Phorm this summer.