one of the best improvement to the onscreen keyboard for the iPad is that it’s now movable and also thumb friendly.
The standard keyboard still exists, and you can easily switch between the new layout and the old. The special enabling key for this is the button on the bottom right of the keyboard. This used to be for hiding the keyboard. Now, in addition to hide, if you tap on the key and drag it upwards, the keyboard will transform to the split mode. This has 2 big benefits, both sides of the keyboard are now thumb friendly. I can comfortably hold the iPad and type away with both thumbs. And this is true for both portrait and landscape orientation for the iPad.
Second benefit, is that you can move the keyboard any location vertically!!
To get back the original keyboard layout, just drag the keyboard back to the bottom of the screen.
This works for both the original iPad and iPad 2.