IDG News verifies my feelings about the iPhone virtual keyboard:

iPhone users make mistakes more often when texting compared to users of phones with hard keys, a new study found.

User Centric tested how many mistakes mobile phone texters make, comparing the results of iPhone users with customers who have phones with full keyboards and those with numeric keyboards. User Centric, a Chicago usability consulting company, studied 20 users in each group.

The study, while based on an extremely small sample size, makes for interesting reading.

iPhone users made 5.6 errors per message, while keyboard users made 2.1 mistakes per message and numeric phone typers made 2.4 mistakes.

Surprisingly, the study found that iPhone texters don't improve with experience.

That's not surprising if you know anything about user interfaces, actually. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Virtual keyboards aren't as good as real keyboards. And this issue is exacerbated by the fact that Apple's oft-touted iPhone "rotating screen" feature doesn't actually work when the keyboard is enabled in almost all iPhone applications: You are literally forced to use the keyboard in hard-to-hold portrait mode in text-heavy apps like SMS and Mail. That shows a lot of immaturity in the product.

Anyway. This is a funnier, Doonsebury-esque headline about the same topic: Sorryy. I’m Tyipng on my iPhonw

Good stuff.