Windows 10 update just stole one of the iPhone’s top features

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1
(Image credit: Future)

One of the biggest hurdles smartphones had to overcome was typing on a touchscreen. But various clever software hacks like smart predictive texting and swiping eventually made BlackBerry-style physical keyboards obsolete.

However, touchscreen typing on the best 2-in-1 laptops and tablets is still no substitute for a dedicated full-size keyboard for long messages, and that leaves Windows 10 devices in a tricky spot. With that in mind, it seems Microsoft is bringing one of the best touchscreen typing innovations from the iPhone to Windows 10.

As spotted by Tech Radar, In the latest preview of Windows 10 (build 20206), Microsoft is letting touchscreen typists fine tune their text editing by holding down the virtual space bar and then moving their finger around. “All you need to do is place a finger on the space bar and slide your finger left, right, up, or down,” the Microsoft writes in the release notes. “As your finger moves, so will the cursor – one character or line at a time.”

It’s one of those things that’s actually quite hard to visualize until you try it yourself, or at least see it in action. Fortunately, Bleeping Computer, which first reported the news, has a video of how it works on iPhone for the unfamiliar. 

First introduced in iOS 12, this feature has proven a popular way of making previously tricky adjustments to text on both iPhone and iPad, and it looks like it’ll be a welcome addition here. This is what it looks like on Windows 10’s own virtual keyboard: 

Windows 10's new touchscreen keyboard

(Image credit: Microsoft)

While welcome, cursor movement via the space bar isn't as critical when you have a Windows 10 device with a larger display. Butt there’s no denying this is handy for quick notes and small changes.

Plus, in the longer term this keyboard change will become a lot more significant when Windows 10 X —  Microsoft’s version of the software tailored for foldable PCs and dual-screen laptops — arrives. Last we heard, Windows 10x had been delayed to 2021 for single-screen devices and possibly 2022 for dual-screen ones like the upcoming Surface Neo.

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.

  • Feefer
    "Iphones feature" was on Android first
  • varase
    Feefer said:
    "Iphones feature" was on Android first
    Android has a keyboard trackpad feature?