Does anyone still want an iPhone with a hardware keyboard?
When iPhone first launched there were a lot of calls for an "iPhone Pro" or "iPhone Slider" with a physical keyboard. Some believed that iPhone would never be a serious messaging, getting-things-done device without that tactile, hardware feeling. Others believed the keyboard was a crutch -- something long time smartphone users had grown accustomed to but not something new users, users who upgraded from feature phones, would even consider.
Since then competitors have counter-programmed iPhone with a physical keyboard. While still at Apple, Jon Rubinstein is rumored to have argued with Steve Jobs for the keyboard. Now as CEO of Palm, they're using keyboards as their differentiator. RIM's CEO, Mike Lazaridis infamously said neither her nor any of his friends could type on glass -- right before introducing the BlackBerry Storm. Yet RIM's BlackBerry Bold 9700 and now BlackBerry Torch 9800 are designed for those who want the physical keyboard. Likewise, the first really successful Android smartphone in the US was the sliding Motorola Droid, though its keyboard hardly received rave reviews. Still, after the slab form factor Droid Incredible and Droid X, Verizon and Motorola are set to introduce the next-generation slider, Droid 2.
Yet talk of an iPhone with a physical keyboard has all but disappeared. (I've gone so far as to, only semi-facetiously, declare the age of the hardware keyboard to be over). Have people come to the realization Apple will simply never, not ever, produce an iPhone with a slider or front facing keyboard and, if they really want one, moved on to another device? Has Apple's outstanding virtual keyboard combined with other features been enough to change minds and hearts? Is there a split between what new, mainstream users want and what long time, power users demand? All of the above?
Bottom line, does anyone still want an iPhone with a hardware keyboard?
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Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.
It's one of the most successful phones ever made. Don't fix what's not broken.
As soon as the iPhone goes to Verizon, everyone is literally going to have one. Seriously.
If anything, bigger screen is the bigger want. ;)
Also, a candy bar QWERTY a la the Treo or non-Torch Blackberrys are the way to go. I also believe the "usability" of sliders aren't as good as soft QWERTY or candy bar QWERTY.
But yeah, I think it would be great if Apple shipped 4" iPhones and iPod touches. Makes the keyboard a little bit easier to hit plus bigger screen for all your apps. That's all good.
I also want Red Bull to send me one fo their RB6's, a supercharged M3 for daily use, and Jada Pinkett.
All likely and within reason...
An iDevice with a physical keyboard defeats the entire idea of multi-touch, doesn't it?
So, no, I don't think I'll ever be able to use a hardware keyboard.
It sure would be an ugly phone, but I would certainly use the physical keyboard.
But let's be realistic here, Apple will NEVER ever bring a keyboard to the iPhone.
I completeley agree. The keyboard is what I miss most about from my Blackberry.
I could type 100 times faster without any errors on a physical keyboard.
But the iphone isn't a business phone or a "get things done" phone. It's more of a fun and entertaining phone.
Get on an airplane and look at all the people in business class (the businessmen, not the rich people). They all have Blackberries, not iphones. Blackberry/physical keyboards are much quicker and better to get things done without all the BS. Its very boring, but it gets right to the point.
I also miss the flashing red light when I have a new message.
How about an iBerry :)
Best of both worlds.
I want the ThinkOutside/iGo Slim Bluetooth Keyboard back on the market, and updated with iOS-compatible shortcut keys.
Mine is awesome ... but old and getting a bit beat up! No replacements available!!
This (used to be $40...): http://www.amazon.com/Stowaway-Ultra-Slim-Bluetooth-Keyboard-Handhelds/d...
I don't think Apple will ever develop a hardware keyboard or include compatibility with one on their iPhone or Touch platforms. They are more of the mindset that the UI is everything. I don't have any problem with that design philosophy, but I do miss having a hardware keyboard.
Ps if your keyboard is too small for your liking , just turn your phone sideways !
It only took me about 2 days to get really comfortable with the keyboard, and it took me about 2 weeks to get "nice" with the keyboard. Today, after having used the virtual keyboard for more than 2 years, I would never dream of giving it up. I can type --on average-- about 15-20 wpm faster on the iPhone's keyboard (and that's test programs, I type a lot faster than that when typing from my head, naturally).
You can't really appreciate the iPhone's keyboard until --after using it for a few weeks-- you try using a physical keyboard on another phone. It feels very weird typing on plastic keys after tapping on glass. The biggest factor is gravity. Typing on plastic keys is sloooow (compared to tapping on glass). The best analogy to use is a drummer who tried using a drum that can't be tapped on the surface, but has to be pushed down (like a button) when trying to create a sound. A drum like that would definitely make playing the drums no fun. This is the same with the iPhone. It's like a got my own symphony going everytime I type a text message or email. I'm sorry, but for me, the auto-correct trumps tactile feedback. I usually don't even look at the keyboard when typing, that's how good the auto-correct is. 95% of the time, you just have to type in the immediate vicinity of the key your trying to touch, and the auto-correct does the rest. Not to mention the convenience of auto-cap, auto-contractions, etc. Yes, sometimes it's not perfect, but MOST times it is. The 'double-tap-on-space' for a period is so convenient and natural that I'm always subconsciously doing it on my MacBook Pro.
Have an excellent virtual keyboard is better than having an excellent physical keyboard --as long as you give it a little trust and time. If Apple announced 2 versions of the next iPhone --one regular and one with a physical keyboard-- I would without a doubt get the regular one; the one without the physical keyboard. However, I think we all know that Apple would NEVER do that.
These were just a few of the reasons why I love the iPhone's keyboard. There are still many more reasons. The point I've been trying to make is that the iPhone's keyboard makes typing fun. One of the reasons people love the iPhone is because it's very powerful (smart), but at the same time is simple to use. Therefore, the iPhone's keyboard is one of the many things that makes the iPhone the iPhone. If Apple decided to release the original iPhone with a physical keyboard, I think things would have been a lot different (in a bad way). However, they didn't, and that's why Apple is Apple, Microsoft is Microsoft, and HTC is HTC.
Typed out very efficiently on my iPhone 4 virtual keyboard
You get used to it, especially after 3 years using an iPhone...
Accessory manufacturers can make lots of things - take the backside off and screw on a keyboard, gamepad, a battery pack, a case, a wall mount attachment, a loud flat speaker, notification or flashy LEDs, and more.
Leave the front of iPhone 4 ALONE. Software keyboard pretty darn good.
Note, the actual light-up part of screen only takes up 3/4 of the iPhone height.
So now flip the phone over, insert second screen, but place it higher, just shy of the top to accommodate camera/flash. Below, add discreet, even flush hard keyboard, slightly rounded glass button keyboard. Maybe keys even light up with LCD screen behind them too.
Anyway, with this dual screen version, normal input on front works like current, including landscape software keyboard like usual, but if you wish, flip that iPhone 5 over, the back screen alights, and hard-keyboard-type your little thumbprints smooth.
I'd buy that phone in a heartbeat.
I think that the reason that other phone manufacturers are offering more physical keyboards is that they can't get the soft keyboard to work as well as the iphone's does.
A soft keyboard: Does not have any buttons to break (sooo frustrating to not be able to type an "r", as happened on my Treo 750, or any other letter for that matter). Is multinational; for those who speak more than one language (or for those who like fun emoji ) there is no way a hardware keyboard can compete with this. Does not numb your thumbs and fingers. Allows for large screen real estate and small phone bulk. Can be used in landscape or portrait mode...on the same device. Can be replaced by a number pad or a spinner, depending on the field where you are entering the information. Can be updated to include even more features with only a software upgrade. A physical keyboard: Is what a lot of people are used to. Has a more tactile sensation. Can have shortcuts programmed to the buttons. These are not plusses to me. Get over it. If you need a physical keyboard, Buy a different phone!
A smartphone keyboard really has to be treated as part of the design, not an afterthought.
It's pretty sad that the 'ancient' discontinued T-Mobile Sidekick (barely more than a featurephone as it was) has yet to be topped as far as phone keyboard ergonomics go.
(the d-pad speaker was a nice touch too)
My gosh No No Nooo!right why go backward with all the mechanical problems results? I using my Mac wireless one when I'm indoor and outdoor the touch keys are pretty good, fast, and reliable to type.
Most of the other phones still using kb 'cos their touch are disgusting :)
Yeah if you need to type while driving..that's other story, here in faraway Italy, is prohibited!!!