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Old Apr 30, 2012, 12:33 PM   #1
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Apple "Discussed" Putting a Hardware Keyboard on the iPhone




According to former Apple executive Tony Fadell -- these days remaking the thermostat -- Apple's designers had extensive discussions about including a hardware keyboard on the iPhone, but ultimately decided against it. Fadell discussed the iPhone design process in a sit-down interview on Josh Topolsky's On The Verge show.
Quote:
I wanted to try [a touchscreen keyboard]... I wanted it to work. It made sense that you wanted a full screen, you didn't want a keyboard.
Fadell also mentions the other designs for the iPhone, including the iPod + Phone concept using the iPod click wheel as a controller, but noted that the team ultimately discarded that concept because the control scheme was too restricting.




Apple's designers make many prototypes that never hit the light of day. We didn't know it at the time, but the iPod with click-wheel dial that Steve Jobs jokingly showed at the original iPhone announcement wasn't too far off from something Apple had actually created.

In his biography, we learned that Jobs had set up two competing teams to find the best iPhone design. One based its designs off the existing iPod, while the other designed a brand new touchscreen system that ultimately became the iPhone.

Article Link: Apple "Discussed" Putting a Hardware Keyboard on the iPhone
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Old Apr 30, 2012, 12:40 PM   #2
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Apple like any other company discuss a lot of bad ideas. The difference between Apple and the rest though is Apple don't let the bad ideas (mostly) become part of the final product.
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Old Apr 30, 2012, 12:44 PM   #3
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I know there are still a lot of people who hate the iPhone's current keyboard, but I love it. It could have been a mess, but the size is just right. It's really the software that makes it useable, though. I'm amazed at how fast I can type with it, and I usually never have to worry about making mistakes; the software accurately corrects it for me.
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Old Apr 30, 2012, 12:50 PM   #4
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I love how this has become such a huge news story around the web, especially since it has been years since the first iPhone.

Considering the time period when the first iPhone is released, Apple would have been crazy not to consider hardware keyboards considering RIM's dominant position at the time, which was pretty much built on their keyboard.
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Old Apr 30, 2012, 12:54 PM   #5
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I bet Apple "Discussed" producing a phone before the keyboard thing.
When you make this a news remember to cite me as the source.
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Old Apr 30, 2012, 12:57 PM   #6
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Ok. So what. You can "discuss" anything.

A lot of lousy ideas don't make it into the final product.
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Old Apr 30, 2012, 12:43 PM   #7
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I wanted to try [a touchscreen keyboard]... I wanted it to work. It made sense that you wanted a full screen, you didn't want a keyboard.
And sometimes I wish I had full screen without the keyboard taking up half of it. It's the biggest draw back that on such a small screen so much is taken up by a keyboard.
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Old Apr 30, 2012, 12:48 PM   #8
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A hardware keyboard is obviously better. It doesn’t reduce the visible screen, and has a pleasant familiarity if you’re used to tiny physical keyboards. (Personally I wasn’t—I was used to BIG keyboards—so I didn’t care. No tiny keyboard, physical or not, was going to fit my habits.)

It’s also worse—it can’t adapt to the context (different languages, entering an email address, big numpad for numbers, Emoji, etc.). It can’t be used in both portrait and landscape. It can’t be upgraded. You can’t swipe your finger smoothly across it (a great solution for accents and special characters, for instance). It needs more force to type. Buttons can jam up, wear out, and get crud in the cracks. It has mechanical complexity (hinges, sliders) to break, and it’s less drop-proof. And it makes your phone bigger and heavier.

Luckily there ARE options for hardware keyboards on iPhone—but not as many as I’d have expected. I kind of like the non-attached ones: you can easily leave them at home, and they don’t force you to use a certain case just to attach the keyboard.
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Old Apr 30, 2012, 01:11 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by nagromme View Post
A hardware keyboard is obviously better. It doesn’t reduce the visible screen,...
It's only "obviously better" to you.

And physical keyboards don't reduce the visible screen because the screen is made tiny to MAKE ROOM for the keyboard! Or, in the case of slider keyboards, the phone is compromised by the additional thickness, added weight, and less room for other features (e.g. a decent battery).

Only in bizarro world is a physical keyboard "obviously better"
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Old Apr 30, 2012, 05:54 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by scoobydoo99 View Post
It's only "obviously better" to you.

[...]

Only in bizarro world is a physical keyboard "obviously better"
I guess you missed the part where he said a physical keyboard is also worse, thereby showing that his use of "obviously better" was a literary device for comparing and contrasting, and not an actual opinion...
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Old May 1, 2012, 12:37 AM   #11
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Well this is an unusually idea to say the least. I am not sure this is something that I would want to see on my device personally.
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Old May 1, 2012, 05:10 PM   #12
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I guess you missed the part where he said a physical keyboard is also worse, thereby showing that his use of "obviously better" was a literary device for comparing and contrasting, and not an actual opinion...
Nope, didn't miss it at all. If there was intent to utilize a literary device, it wasn't successful;

1. His characterizations of the "better" and "worse" attributes did not rise to a level of exaggeration that would qualify as hyperbole.
2. If the former statement was meant as verbal irony, the latter statement, by contradicting it, subverted the irony.
3. If he intended satire, again the contradictory nature of the statements would undermine any satirical effect.

If you know of another literary device that the structure of the argument follows, please enlighten.

In the absence of such, I must read it as written - that physical keyboards are "obviously better", but they are also "worse" as well. Which of course is self-contradictory if read literally. So really I can only comment on the assertion that physical keyboards are "obviously better," which seems to be a serious belief given the writer's expressed preference for a physical keyboard.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by WestonHarvey1 View Post
His opinion was perfectly reasonable. Your reaction to it is a little harsh!

I always thought the virtual keyboard was going to be a huge compromise, but I quickly preferred it. With the autocorrection in place, it competes well with any hardware keyboard and just feels less awkward.
I didn't mean to be harsh. "Obviously better" is a pretty bold statement - way beyond "better for me" or "better in some respects".
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Old May 3, 2012, 04:36 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by notjustjay View Post
I guess you missed the part where he said a physical keyboard is also worse, thereby showing that his use of "obviously better" was a literary device for comparing and contrasting, and not an actual opinion...
He meant it has advantages and disadvantages...

Steve
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Old Apr 30, 2012, 10:29 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by scoobydoo99 View Post
It's only "obviously better" to you.

And physical keyboards don't reduce the visible screen because the screen is made tiny to MAKE ROOM for the keyboard! Or, in the case of slider keyboards, the phone is compromised by the additional thickness, added weight, and less room for other features (e.g. a decent battery).

Only in bizarro world is a physical keyboard "obviously better"
His opinion was perfectly reasonable. Your reaction to it is a little harsh!

I always thought the virtual keyboard was going to be a huge compromise, but I quickly preferred it. With the autocorrection in place, it competes well with any hardware keyboard and just feels less awkward.
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Old May 1, 2012, 08:04 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by scoobydoo99 View Post
It's only "obviously better" to you.

And physical keyboards don't reduce the visible screen because the screen is made tiny to MAKE ROOM for the keyboard! Or, in the case of slider keyboards, the phone is compromised by the additional thickness, added weight, and less room for other features (e.g. a decent battery).

Only in bizarro world is a physical keyboard "obviously better"
Don't forget its the best on opposite day too.
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Old May 1, 2012, 11:14 AM   #16
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even RIM is releasing a bb w/o a keyboard

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...v=JEPYYo0-gfc#


rumours are that another version with a keyboard will come out after this one in the fall, but who knows..
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Old May 1, 2012, 01:56 PM   #17
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even RIM is releasing a bb w/o a keyboard

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...v=JEPYYo0-gfc#


rumours are that another version with a keyboard will come out after this one in the fall, but who knows..
well to be fair that is an alpha phone only. RIM has made that crystal clear. The OS is an Alpha and really only there for dev testing. Something RIM has made crystal clear.

That being said I expect RIM to make a touch screen only BB10 but I would be shocked if they went away from the hardware keyboard. RIM makes the gold standard in terms of hardware keyboard. That is the only thing I really miss about my 8900 is that keyboard was great for typing things out and blows any virtual keyboard away in terms of getting things done.

Make note talking about the keyboard and not the rest of the phone. The blackberry was by far the best messaging and email phone I have ever had but that is a fairly limited area for a phone.
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Old Apr 30, 2012, 07:09 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post
A hardware keyboard is obviously better. It doesn’t reduce the visible screen, and has a pleasant familiarity if you’re used to tiny physical keyboards.
I wouldn't say it's "obviously better". In fact, quite the opposite. And it does reduce available screen space, as was mentioned in the YouTube clip. Try and convince me that an iPod with a hardware click wheel allows for a larger screen than an iPod Touch?
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Old Apr 30, 2012, 08:22 PM   #19
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I wouldn't say it's "obviously better". In fact, quite the opposite. And it does reduce available screen space, as was mentioned in the YouTube clip. Try and convince me that an iPod with a hardware click wheel allows for a larger screen than an iPod Touch?
You are approaching it wrong. I am sure you are aware of the existence of slider keyboard. Well, I don't think anything else needs be said.
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Old Apr 30, 2012, 11:22 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by lordofthereef View Post
You are approaching it wrong. I am sure you are aware of the existence of slider keyboard. Well, I don't think anything else needs be said.
Nope. Either way you approach it, a physical keyboard will require some negative change to the physical size of the device. Either shrinking the screen size, or increasing the thickness.
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Old May 1, 2012, 06:23 AM   #21
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Nope. Either way you approach it, a physical keyboard will require some negative change to the physical size of the device. Either shrinking the screen size, or increasing the thickness.
Sure, but sometimes that's preferable to shrinking the screen size every time a person needs to use a keyboard.

An onscreen version also usually involves moving objects on the screen around to make sure they're viewable even with the keyboard taking up half the display. This can be disconcerting at times.

Besides letting the display be actually used to display infromation, physical keyboards also offer superior gaming controls and eyes-off typing.

All considerations have to be balanced for the most numerous user type... either someone who rarely enters data like most iPhone owners, or perhaps a field worker or salesperson who does a lot.
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Old May 1, 2012, 03:43 PM   #22
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Nope. Either way you approach it, a physical keyboard will require some negative change to the physical size of the device. Either shrinking the screen size, or increasing the thickness.
You specifically spoke of screen size, hence my response.

Your original comment I responded to:
Quote:
Try and convince me that an iPod with a hardware click wheel allows for a larger screen than an iPod Touch?
Remove click wheel, make device slightly thicker, add slide-out keyboard. I made no claim of not making the device thicker (and neither did you).
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Old Apr 30, 2012, 01:11 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by MacRumors View Post
Image


According to former Apple executive Tony Fadell -- these days remaking the thermostat -- Apple's designers had extensive discussions about including a hardware keyboard on the iPhone, but ultimately decided against it. Fadell discussed the iPhone design process in a sit-down interview on Josh Topolsky's On The Verge show.
YouTube: video
Fadell also mentions the other designs for the iPhone, including the iPod + Phone concept using the iPod click wheel as a controller, but noted that the team ultimately discarded that concept because the control scheme was too restricting.

Image


Apple's designers make many prototypes that never hit the light of day. We didn't know it at the time, but the iPod with click-wheel dial that Steve Jobs jokingly showed at the original iPhone announcement wasn't too far off from something Apple had actually created.

In his biography, we learned that Jobs had set up two competing teams to find the best iPhone design. One based its designs off the existing iPod, while the other designed a brand new touchscreen system that ultimately became the iPhone.

Article Link: Apple "Discussed" Putting a Hardware Keyboard on the iPhone

That is pig ugly...I'm so glad the discussion ended in common sense prevailing...Okay, the KB is a little cramped, but the magnification on each key press more than compensates for this. I have tried a lot of small devices with tiny keyboards, and they were all useless.
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Old Apr 30, 2012, 01:16 PM   #24
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Of course they did. Why wouldn't they have?
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Old Apr 30, 2012, 06:57 PM   #25
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Of course they did. Why wouldn't they have?
Best comment yet .
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