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New iPhone app allows landscape-mode e-mail

updated 09:55 am EDT, Wed October 8, 2008

TouchType for iPhone/iPod

An independent app has been released that attempts to a address an underlying problem with iPhones and iPod touches. In regular use of an Apple handheld, the built-in Mail client does not have the option of switching to a landscape-mode keyboard, despite its presence when using Safari. TouchType is a separate e-mail client whose sole purpose is to allow typing in landscape, thereby making the keys larger, and increasing the spaces between them for the sake of accuracy.

Once an e-mail is completed, TouchType does not send it out directly, but rather fills out appropriate information and sends it through Mail as usual. The program is available through the App Store for $1.

[Image courtesy of TechCrunch]

by MacNN Staff



  1. jimothy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Surprised at approval

    Won't this lead to "customer confusion?"

  1. dagamer34

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This will be taken down soon for "duplicating functionality". Get it while you can, folks!

  1. pnorman

    Joined: Dec 1969


    just bought it

    (okay, i may need a 12-step program for AppStore addiction! well, maybe 24-step cos I'm dumb as a box of dirt)

    Anyway! Typing with TouchType's bigger landscape keyboard is very good; using my thumbs I easily wrote an email twice as fast as when I use my index finger in portrait mode.

    It works pretty well with iPhone's built-in Mail program too. It also works if you have multiple email accounts; it even works when replying to emails in the default mail program (though it requires jumping out of mail and running TouchType; but thats not TouchType's fault); the instructions are very simple and straight-forward.

    Note: you can access TouchType's instructions by tapping the 'i' button in the app's title bar while in portrait mode - for some reason the 'i' button is not available in landscape mode.

    The only problem I experienced: the predictive text balloon is obscured by the keyboard when TouchType is in landscape mode. (I've come to depend on that feature. Gosh I wish Leopard's had it!)

    There is a workaround, however: drag the text screen up with your finger to make some space underneath the line of text you're typing so you can see the balloons; thats not a solution since it requires the user to take more steps.

    The automatic wrapping of text to the next line as you type consistently obscures the balloon. I tried changing the default size of my iPhone's Mail app but saw no improvement - I don't think Mail's text-size preference even applies to TouchType. Note, however, that the predictive text balloon is NOT obscured when TouchType is used in portrait mode.

    Perhaps the developer will release an update which will somehow resolve the issue. I'm going to send him an email to thank him for such a great app - I'll mention the balloon thingy.

    Maybe Apple will provide this functionality in future versions of the iPhone OS. Its been over a year and they haven't added it yet so clearly its not a high priority - even if its actually on their features-to-add list.

    The features/benefits of TouchType version 1.0, the promise of future updates (to resolve bugs/add features) and the very reasonable cost ($1) make me very happy with the app.

    Maybe one of the 24-step program's steps will cause me to regret yet another impulse purchase... but somebody has to actually get me into the program first. Good luck with that!

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Many new releases do this

    TouchType is not the only app that has this functionality. I think Apple must have made an internal decision to let landscape mail composing apps through, because there are actually a whole slew of them that have been released over the past day or so: Compose, TouchType, Sideways, and Lettera all allow for composing emails in landscape.

  1. thedude

    Joined: Dec 1969


    not sure this helps

    I don't know why people think that typing with thumbs is faster than typing with a single index finger. I have found that no matter how much I practice with my thumbs the index finger is still much fast. Especially since the letters are typed on the lift and not on the press. I can type on this keyboard two or three times faster than I can with a phone with a full qwerty physical keyboard because of how the phone registers touch.


  1. xerxes2008

    Joined: Dec 1969



    There are FOUR apps that let you do this .. this one might not be the best. Here's a full list at MacRumors:

  1. fibasile

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Hi, I'm the developer of Lettera. Unfortunately it was not included in the "fab four" even if it allows to compose emails in landscape mode plus it has the ability to send directly PDF versions of your email as attachment.
    Personally I developed the app because I needed bigger keys for my not-so-small fingers :)
    I think Apple did keep all similar apps to be released together, as Lettera too was submitted the first time on August 25. You can take a look at it at

  1. Marko

    Joined: Dec 1969


    other apps

    Thanks xerxes2008 for the link - i found another $.99 app (wide email) that does the same thing AND saves drafts. it's an excellent way to keep short notes to myself.

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