RUMOR: Apple prepping iPhone model with ‘slide-out’ keyboard

“It is an article of Faith, of course, that whatever Steve Jobs does, is Right. And so, since the iPhone currently has no keyboard on it, it must logically follow that it is wrong to have a keyboard, and therefore that Steve Jobs will never produce a version that does have a keyboard,” Guy J. Kewney reports for newswireless.net. “Fervent fans can therefore see no reason to change the iPhone from its current ‘type on the touch screen, or not at all’ design. As one of the more zealous remarked when the suggestion was even mentioned: ‘The only people who think it needs a keyboard, are people who have never used it.'”

“Rumours from inside Cupertino suggest that Jobs himself doesn’t have this sort of religious hangup about his own work. Reports from inside mobile operators show that whether or not he ever makes it work, he is already trying to make a ‘slide-out’ keyboard for a corporate version of the iPhone,” Kewney reports. “If this version does appear on the market, it won’t be this year, and certainly won’t be aimed at the consumer market. Consumers love the sleek, elegant design of the iPhone, and quickly fall in love with the on-screen keyboard.”

“But Steve Jobs can do the sums,” Kewney reports. “In America, iPhone has perhaps overtaken Blackberry in total sales – but these sales are in what they call ‘the executive corridor.'”

“Worldwide, it has not escaped the attention of mobile network execs that the bulk of corporate sales are not into the executive corridor. Rather, they are phones which are provided for staff, and the vast bulk of them have full-QWERTY keyboards; and all the best-selling ones, Nokia, Sony-Ericsson and HTC alike, have slide-out keyboards. The popular Danger Sidekick, too, has a slide-out (spin-out) QWERTY keyboard,” Kewney reports. “The market which buys these phones, wants QWERTY and they don’t want to type on the screen. They ‘just know’ that they wouldn’t like it.”

“Arguably, they’re wrong, of course. Quite conceivably, after a week of sending emails typed on the touch-screen of the iPhone, they’d ‘get it’ and love it,” Kewney reports. “But how will they ever find out?”

Kewney reports, “Actual prototypes – not just mockups! – have been sent to senior executives inside the operators. I’m not allowed to even hint which operators…”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Kewney’s annual load joke? If you’re going to dump a rumor, when better than just before the long July 4th weekend, to let it fester? Last year, on Friday, June 29, 2007, Kewney wrote, “A new 3G (European) version of the iPhone will be launched Monday [July 2 2007] in the UK by Apple.” Suffice to say, it didn’t happen. Take this rumor with several tons of salt.

53 Comments

  1. The article is a contro-claim. Physical QWERTY keyboard is THE problem… While it will need different keyboards manufactured for all other places using QWERTY and other international keyboards.
    Apple is wisw enough not to invest in such useless efforts, as a touch virtual keybord AUTOMATICALLY is the correct one by the OS’s language.

  2. This idiot actually thinks that the whole world thinks, speaks and writes English.

    Apple’s soft keyboard works with every written and pictographic language known to man at the click of a soft button.

  3. Kenny’s argument for trying the keyboard free iphone sounds a lot like Mom’s argument for trying broccoli/cauliflower.

    All the same, I didn’t have to try it to know I wouldn’t like it. And that’s why vegetables like Kenny depend on keyboards.

  4. Apple buys rights to windows 7

    will roll out windoze moble on next iphone

    Freedom of the press has turned into personal gain

    or maybe freedom of the press was always a “bullshit story” as my late friend carlin would say

  5. Talk about clueless.

    “Business” phones need physical keyboard? When these phone appeared, what were the alternatives?

    A. Use a stylus to tap an on-screen keyboard.

    B. Use Palm’s Graffiti to “write” characters on screen, where it would often register the incorrect character and need correction (long-time Palm user here).

    C. Or use a keyboard with an itsy bitsy keyboard, designed for lilliputian fingers.

    So, they opted for a keyboard.

  6. I’ve heard rumors that stylish lady’s nails don’t activate the current keyboard properly. Not knowing any smart-phone-using stylish ladies, I can neither confirm nor deny this. Then there’s grubby-fingered teens … how quickly do their screens become unreadable? Able to send (something) but needing a quick wipe before checking the spelling (HAH!) or the reply?
    There’s a large market out there for keyboard models. Of course, there already are many keyboard models out there to fill that niche. The one for the grubby-fingered (!) or stylish (?). And, until the purchasing agents can be convinced, lower level managers.
    The question is, does Apple feel any great need to target those niches? I rather thought they were comfortable with the numbers they are selling to date. Well, the numbers they expect to be selling in a month or so. They will want (need?) to add new “features” as time goes on, maybe (or maybe NOT) a keyboard will be one of those. Lack of a keyboard has never kept me from sending text from my phone … I’m one of those who has never felt such an urge and who has asked others to stop sending them to me! So. I’m off the demographic charts on this. And not even a little ashamed of my perverted self over it!
    So … there! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”raspberry” style=”border:0;” />

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