Wednesday, January 27, 2010

iPad Language Capabilities

Apple released the tech specs for its new iPad on January 27, and they indicate its language capabilities are somewhat less that those of the iPhone and iPod Touch:

Language support for English, French, German, Japanese, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Russian

Keyboard support for English (US), English (UK), French (France, Canada), German, Japanese (QWERTY), Dutch, Flemish, Spanish, Italian, Simplified Chinese (Handwriting and Pinyin), Russian

Dictionary support for English (US), English (UK), French, French (Canadian), French (Swiss), German, Japanese, Dutch, Flemish, Spanish, Italian, Simplified Chinese (Handwriting, Pinyin), Russian

Whether the web browser and other apps might correctly display additional languages is unknown at this time. A test page for various scripts can be found here.

2/12 This page indicates iPad has browser support for Arabic display.

3/12 The Apple iPad Accessibility page say "VoiceOver speaks 21 languages and works with all of the applications built into iPad." This conforms with what is provided with some models of the iPhone and iPod Touch (and much superior to OS X, which is English only unless you buy 3rd-party voices). The list of languages is probably that found on this page.

The first iPads are supposed to be available April 3.

13 comments:

Magnus Lewan said...

Is this the first time they change the language priorities? No Scandinavian languages, but Russian, which is fairly new in the Mac world. Well, I guess it makes sense from a business perspective, and the Scandinavian languages will probably come with some update fairly soon.

Tom Gewecke said...

I'm puzzled myself why they could not equal the iPhone's capabilities, since the OS seems so similar otherwise.

Joe said...

I'm surprised to only see Simplified Chinese, and no Traditional Chinese.

Paul D. said...

I sure hope they add a cell-phone-style kana input method for Japanese like the iPhone and iPod Touch have. That's all I ever use.

Magnus Lewan said...

Joe, they have done SC before TC in the past. I think Pages got SC before it got TC. It is probably just a matter of time.

For the Scandinavian languages (or Swedish in particular) Macworld Sweden are confused. They asked Apple Sweden, who declined to comment for the time being.

Joe said...

Good point, Magnus. I'm relieved.

leafy said...

The SC in Pages is just the display localization, input methods are built into the OS itself. I guess this SC in iPad refers to the input methods available (Pingyin and friends).

Tom Gewecke said...

leafy -- When Apple says the iPad has "language support" for SC, it means the OS is localized in SC.

Alcorac Alonso said...

Since I can write polytonic Greek now in Pages (iWork), I wonder if I will be still be able to do so in a iPad. They show it as a great tool for wordprocessing (for instance, doing library work). But I am not sure now that if you work with Unicode fonts and different keyboards it will be so.

Thanks for a fantastic blog!

Tom Gewecke said...

Alcorac Alonso -- The tech specs say there is no keyboard for Greek at all in the iPad. So you will not be able to type that, polytonic or otherwise, in any app. I also do not think the user will be able to add his own keyboards, unless perhaps there is one in the Apple app store.

Rohit Aggarwal, रोहित said...

Hindi (unicode) partially works. Some of the text is not shown correctly on iPad and iPhone.

Tom Gewecke said...

Rohit -- I think you are far too generous with "partially". There are no conjuncts and no reordering of vowels when necessary. I prefer to say these devices do not yet support Indic scripts at all.

Tom Gewecke said...

PS This article is outdated, see the new ones:

http://m10lmac.blogspot.com/2010/04/ipad-language-capabilities-update.html

http://m10lmac.blogspot.com/2010/05/viewing-hindi-tamil-bengali-websites.html