Apple’s most recent iOS upgrade is, for the most part, an absolutely ridiculous failure. I can’t ever turn the alarm off; I can’t swipe to enter my unlock code; my emails now look like a pile of index cards that have been trapped in a tornado and then left in the middle of cow pasture. They’re even toying with changing the peach emoji that has become the universal symbol for “ass.” Is there anything that makes updating your phone worthwhile? Well, yes: the keyboard sounds.
The boring clickety-clack of the iPhone keyboard has been upgraded from one-note typewriter-esque jabs to a beautiful symphony of sound. It’s like having listened to “Chopsticks” every day for ten years, and then, suddenly, hearing Beethoven’s Ninth (or Fifth, or whatever).
Considering how absolutely nightmarish the new iOS has otherwise been for me, the new keyboard sounds are a calming dream while you’re typing out a text or pecking out an email from the road. They’re like the babbling brook that can be found in the waiting room of every day spa or the water feature in the backyard of every HGTV home renovation. They’re like the light tapping of a wooden wind chime outside of your window at an all-inclusive, clothing-optional sex resort in Napa Valley.
I’m not the only one who is absolutely in love with them.
When getting reactions from people, the words “cozy” and “soothing” keep coming up, which is a great feeling to have when staring into a lifeless black box that somehow contains both a sentient helper slave and an entire universe of facts that will prove you wrong at a cocktail party in no time flat.
The difference seems to be that the letters, the space bar, the delete key (oh, the guttural cluck of the delete key!) aren’t all making the same blunt sound, but voice themselves at different pitches. Under close examination, maybe, you’d be able to figure out which key makes which noise — but when your fingers are dancing across the keyboard like a ballerina on bath salts, why would you bother? The result is a comforting rumble that tells you that, no matter what might happen to your phone once you stop typing, during that brief respite, everything is as peachy as a post-yoga-class glow.
Of course, there are people who disagree with this. There are those lunatics who think that the keyboard now sounds like “chewing sounds,” the “aliens from Signs,” or the sound in Minecraft of people picking things up. I hate to say it, but these people are just wrong. We live in a world where the band Phish still has devoted followers who wend around the globe for their concerts. We can’t get everyone onboard with even the most basic agreement of aural decency.
Then there are the people who complain about those who leave the keyboard sounds on their phones in general, advocating that they should be “taken out back and shot.” I will agree that listening to the clacking of someone else’s keyboard is about as exciting as hearing about someone else’s hangover. The keyboard noises are not for public consumption (unless you have your headphones on like an adult human who knows how to navigate the world).
The keyboard is for those private moments where you are lost in the now-unfamiliar landscape of your mobile device, rudderless and without a compass, and looking for any spark of delight from such an awful place. That is when the clacking chorus comes on and soothes you, like your grandmother’s hand running through your hair. After all, that is just about the only thing keeping most of us from taking our iPhone, throwing it in the nearest Dumpster, and setting it on fire.