Read below the cut for some notes on the subject of writing with an iPad — word processors, keyboards, and stands.
Attention conservation notice: this entry is only of interest to iPad owners who intend to use the thing for keyboard work.
* Pages does indeed appear to lack a word count — the document inspector's completely missing wrt. the Mac desktop version.
* It's possible to grab a .doc file from an email attachment, open it in Pages, edit it, and re-email it back to yourself as a .doc file. So, iTunes-independent workflow is possible, albeit in an utterly brain-dead manner (relying on an IMAP server for file storage).
* It's possible to open a file saved on Dropbox in Pages, but not to return it to Dropbox from Pages.
* The above is all moot, anyway, because Dataviz submitted an iPad-compatible version of Documents to Go to the App store on the 26th; it ought to show up any day now. (DTG has word count and works seamlessly with Dropbox.)
* Omni group have pre-announced OmniOutliner for iPad. I'm really looking forward to this, provided it supports cloud-based syncing and OPML import/export as well as RTF/doc.
* I mean to try for i: for iPad soon. (Syntax colourizing text editor.) I'll update this entry when I've done so.
The built-in on-screen keyboards are surprisingly good, but have their limits. In portrait orientation, the keyboard is only big enough for two-finger typing. In landscape orientation, the bigger keyboard is good for full-speed touch typing, but the lack of any kind of sensory feedback means I have to keep my eyes on it; this is somewhat fatiguing. As other reviewers have remarked, the built-in keyboards are fine for making brief notes or quick email responses. But if you've got a bundle of text to enter, you'll need something more.
The Stowaway ultra-slim folding keyboard doesn't work 100% with the iPad. Testing with Notes and Pages, the arrow keys work but full word-oriented cursor movement using modifiers isn't supported. This is annoying — if it worked, it'd be my key must-have peripheral.
The (bigger and more fragile) Stowaway W-fold bluetooth keyboard does works somewhat better with the iPad. Control-arrow key combinations do start of line/end of line/top of document/bottom of document, while Alt-arrow does previous word/next word/previous line/next line. The "insert" key triggers the home button (return to springboard or start search). The combination "let's support PalmOS and Windows Mobile" keycaps are a tad confusing; more exploration is required.
The Apple wireless keyboard works well with the iPad. Compared to the dock keyboard, the only missing functionality is the lack of "home"/"power" keys (the wireless board gives you escape/eject instead). If we could have a key remapping app for the iPad, that'd do nicely. NB: to switch the wireless keyboard off for travel, hold down the power-on button for three or more seconds (until the LED goes out). Otherwise you will stuff it in your bag and wonder why the iPad keeps waking up.
Of the four keyboards I've tested, the dock connector keyboard is far and away the best for typing long texts with the iPad in portrait orientation. The Stowaway's lack of arrow key support is a big drawback. The Think Outside W-folder is slightly heavier than the Stowaway, but offers the best overall compromise between portability and utility. (Cons: it's floppy, so it requires a desk or similar surface, and noisy enough to annoy the neighbours.) The Apple wireless keyboard is the most solid and best supported of the bluetooth keyboards, but the bulkiest.
Weight: Stowaway, 190g. Think Outside, 300g. Apple wireless: 325g. Apple keyboard dock: 600g.
Batteries: Stowaway, 2 x AAA. Think Outside, 1 x AAA. Apple wireless: 4 x AA. (Note that it has a much longer life than the other two.) Keyboard dock: n/a (powered by the iPad).
I'll be interested in seeing a Clamcase (when they arrive) but I'm a little skeptical. One of the reasons I find I like the iPad for text composition: not only the lack of GUI clutter, but the fact that it gets away from the landscape orientation that has become ubiquitous with laptops (optimized for film-consumption — bloody useless for text composition) and gives me back a portrait screen. From that angle, the Clamcase looks like a step backwards.
For serious typing, some sort of stand is mandatory. Preferably adjustable, so that you can angle the screen to avoid reflections.
The Think Outside and Stowaway keyboards come with folding stands, but these are sized to support a PDA or smartphone — the iPad is very precarious when balanced on them. Not recommended. However Bookchair book stands work well with the iPad. They can be angle-adjusted, fold flat for travel, and they're cheapish (£4.99-9.99 depending on whether you want the regular or deluxe wooden model). I borrowed a wooden small bookchair; it's okay as an iPad support, and weighs 190g. I'm waiting for a regular model (hopefully lightweight plastic) to arrive.
One thought: by the time you add the weight of a stand and a bluetooth keyboard you're creeping into keyboard dock territory, weight-wise. (510g for Apple wireless plus bookchair against 600g for keyboard dock). Given that desktop keyboards weigh 500-1000g, this is understandable, if annoying. I just unplugged and weighed by full-width slimline Apple USB keyboard: it's 576 grams, and it's one of the lighter desktop keyboards I've used — the old IBM M Series weighed multiple kilos!
I'm finding I'm okay with the Apple case. I like nice leather cases for smartphones and iPods, but I'm not remotely convinced by any of the first-gen models, especially given the tight fit with the keyboard dock (which means you've got to remove the case before you can dock it). My only thought is that if I end up using the keyboard dock as a travel keyboard, it'd be nice to have a book-style case that I can get the iPad out of quickly and easily. As it is, the Apple case clings on like grim death — it's not a slip on/slip off proposition!
No conclusion yet: I'm waiting for the cheap bookchair before I make my mind up. If it's solid and lighter than the wooden one, well — I can stick the iPad on it without taking off the case, and type on the Apple wireless keyboard, while saving 100-140 grams relative to the keyboard dock.
But really, if I'm travelling somewhere and anticipate lots of writing, the keyboard dock will go in my carry-on and I'll end up looking for a replacement book case that I can extract the iPad from easily. The keyboard dock is very solid, it doesn't need batteries, and you can legally use it in flight (no wireless). If the pad-stand folded flat for travel and had a bit more room to accomodate a case, it'd be a winner despite the weight.