The iPad's virtual keyboard is surprisingly good for typing, but the large size can make reaching all keys difficult—especially if you're trying to hold the iPad at the same time. In those instances, activate the Split Keyboard function in iOS 5.
With the keyboard visible, tap and hold the keyboard button in the lower left. Choose Split, and the keys break into two smaller halves at the sides of the screen for quicker thumb-typing.
To make things even quicker, there are six hidden keys at the ends of the rows of letters. On the right half of the keyboard, you can produce a T, G, or V by hitting the empty space to the left of the Y, H, or B buttons. Similarly, the left half of the keyboard offers hidden Y, H, and B keys.
In addition to the extra keys, you can also undock the keyboard and move it where you like onscreen. To do so, tap and hold the Keyboard button, and choose Undock. Then, you can use the button to drag the keyboard to a new vertical position onscreen. Undocking works with the regular full-size keyboard as well, but it's particularly useful with the smaller split keyboard.
There are also hidden characters and shortcuts lurking just below the surface of many of the keys. When you're typing in certain fields tapping and holding the .com button will pop up options for .net, .org, .us, and .edu.
There are also shortcuts to many accented and special characters below their corresponding keys. The E key, for example, holds seven additional variants.