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Apple working on iPhone with slide-out keyboard?

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Monday, February 14, 2011
News Categories: iPhone

A new report suggests Apple is developing multiple iPhone prototypes, one of which sports a slide out keyboard. Taiwan-based Apple.pro reports that Apple is working on three iPhone prototypes, two of which are mentioned in the report. The first features a side-mounted slide-out keyboard; few other details were provided. The second is said to be very similar to the iPhone 4, but with performance and battery life improvements, similar to the jump from the iPhone 3G to iPhone 3GS. The latter is also said to have an upgraded camera; the report claims that both eight and twelve megapixel sensors have been considered, but the eight megapixel sensor is preferred due to storage concerns. The next-generation iPad is also mentioned, albeit briefly, and is said to be thinner while featuring a built-in camera.

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Comments

1

A slide-out keyboard. Really?

As much as I love it, I don’t think it’ll happen. It’ll become way more bulkier with one.

Upgraded camera is kinda obvious though.

Posted by Josh C. on February 14, 2011 at 5:17 PM (PDT)

2

alright correct me if im wrong but when the iphone first came out, wasn’t one of the key principals to eliminate a hard keyboard?  the ability to change the layout once the product was sold was, in my opinion, one of the key design features apple was quite proud of.  if apple is to place a hard keyboard to a new model, they are simply being hypocrites to what they originally pioneered.

Posted by Maddy M. on February 14, 2011 at 7:42 PM (PDT)

3

A slide-out keyboard?  No Way!  The focus should be on a stronger glass implementation and edge to edge touch-screen field.  A slide-out keyboard would remove the magic of the iPhone device itself.

However, I prefer a 8MP camera with image stabilizer for the video port,  wireless sync to iTunes,  a little bit of faster processor and increase the space to 64GB.  Thinner would be nice.  I love the glass but my iPhone broke twice (once yesterday), so a stronger glass would be great, maybe touch panel on the back.

Posted by dennis on February 14, 2011 at 7:54 PM (PDT)

4

Screw that and these people who cry about virtual keyboards, wake up, its 2011!

Posted by Marshall on February 14, 2011 at 8:02 PM (PDT)

5

“they are simply being hypocrites to what they originally pioneered”

Heh, you should know by now that no matter what Apple says, it’s pure marketing speak. They will flat out lie (they billed the 3G shuffle as the first iPod that talks to you even though it was using the voice over technology they developed for the 4G nano from the previous year). They will spin obvious shortcomings as a positive (e.g. the screenless 1G shuffle, nothing but web apps on the original iPhone). They will claim a missing feature as a positive on one product at the same time all their other products have it (e.g. the Apple TV 2 lets you avoid all that odious syncing… that every other iOS device is built around :D). And, yes, they will happily reverse themselves without so much as blinking.

Also, for the record they hardly pioneered the screen based keyboard. You need to spend more time watching what Apple and others do and not what they say, because they are only sometimes coincidentally related wink

If this rumor pans out, just consider it what Apple has always done: watch what others do in the market and make their own version. One of the more high tech areas for iPhone accessories has been cases with integrated hardware keyboards at a hefty premium. The market exists, it fetches a good price, Apple just figures they ought to be one collecting that price.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on February 15, 2011 at 5:53 AM (PDT)

6

Slide out keyboard? I feel like Apple is beyond a slide out keybaord! What is this a droid? I cant seem to get any information out of the link posted in the above blog, and am intrested where this rumor has come from. I think, if it is true, the keyboard will do well with new consumors who have been avoiding the touch screen era, but might not be attractive to young and new Apple fans approaching the market.

Posted by Cristina on February 15, 2011 at 7:34 AM (PDT)

7

“they are simply being hypocrites to what they originally pioneered”

This is simply preposterous. Just because a company pioneers something does not mean that every item they produce has to use that same technology. Did Toyota drop every other car because the Prius took hybrid mainstream? No. They used the technology in a few other models, but they keep on making traditional gas vehicles. (I use Toyota because they had such great success with the Prius. I have no idea if they would be considered the pioneers).

I do not really see why anyone would be up-in-arms over this. Apple will market the touchscreen iPhone as the flagship and make the “slider” something that is available to those that long for the physical keyboard days. I would not be surprised to see this new iPhone be less feature rich. Maybe it will give up one of the cameras. Who knows really?

I actually see this as a potential plus for Apple. One of the reasons Android is making such marketshare jumps is that it is offered on a plethora of devices. You can get an Android phone that fits your specific needs. Apple can get into more hands by branching out with varied models.

They have been very successful offering (basically) one model at a time. This is not backtracking due to poor sales. This is backtracking to gain users that want a slightly different hardware solution.

Posted by Mitch on February 15, 2011 at 8:03 AM (PDT)

8

Whatever happened to Haptics technology? Apple would have a winner if they applied that to a touchscreen (only) iPhone.

Posted by Farnsworth on February 15, 2011 at 8:35 AM (PDT)

9

“They have been very successful offering (basically) one model at a time. This is not backtracking due to poor sales. This is backtracking to gain users that want a slightly different hardware solution.”

Yes and no. Sales are good, but it’s no secret that Android based phones already outnumber iPhones and Android based smartphones will outnumber iPhones any day now. Some of this faster expansion can be laid at Apple’s previous exclusivity with AT&T, which should level the playing field somewhat over the next couple of years, but much of it is also, as you note, due to the availability of so many hardware variations with Android.

Like Ford’s Model T, the iPhone is a good product and it’s done very well, but the smartphone marketplace is among the most competitive in the world, and if Apple doesn’t react to the fact that hardware keyboards are still preferred by a great many users they’re automatically losing that potential slice of customers to make some statement that only matters to the sorts of Apple fanatics pulling their hair in this comments section.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on February 15, 2011 at 8:55 AM (PDT)

10

Maybe they meant its a keyboard that supports sliding like the fitaly keyboard made for the old Palmpilots and Windows mobile devices.  Being able to tap an on-screen key and sliding away from it in different directions for capitalization and different accents is something I really miss being able to do.

Posted by Doug on February 15, 2011 at 3:54 PM (PDT)

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