RUMOR: Apple evaluating 3 new iPhone prototypes, including one with slide-out keyboard

“A Taiwanese website that has been the source of numerous Apple hardware leaks now claims that Apple has built three hardware prototypes for its next-generation iPhone, including one model with a slide-out physical keyboard,” Neil Hughes reports for AppleInsider.

“The new details come from, but are the result of a rough online translation,” Hughes reports. “The site’s source claimed that Apple has built three prototype models for its anticipated ‘iPhone 5,’ and one of them has a ‘sliding cover’ that conceals a keyboard,”

Hughes reports, “Another prototype reportedly built by Apple looks largely like the iPhone 4, but has improved hardware including longer battery life and superior camera. That version of the handset would not be a major physical change from the previous-generation iPhone 4, and would be akin to the iPhone 3GS replacing the iPhone 3G, the report said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Slide-out mechanical keyboard? Can we get one with a buggy whip holder, too?

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. I would personally really like to see an iPhone with a slideout physical keyboard. I find the touch keyboard to be nearly useless, especially when combined with the “predictive text” that has such a lag to it that I always hit the space bar before the suggested word pops up, then have to go back and type what I first typed correctly. Drives me insane. Plus can only use one finger to type, not two thumbs.

    The probably with the entire screen being a touch screen is that the entire screen is a touch screen! So anytime you even accidentally touch another part of it, something happens.

    I do not know what the perfect solution is, but I find the iPhone 4 touch keyboard to be entirely lacking, as well as the horrid auto-correct features. I do have large hands, but not like a NBA player’s.

      1. Wait a minute, your fingers are too big for virtual keys!?! Keys whose visual representations are actually larger than a slid-out keypad?

        Hmmm, reports of Neaderthal extinction are greatly exagerated.

      2. Your fingers are too large for the virtual keys, but somehow they’re not too large for the even smaller, tiny, physical keys? Interesting.

        I have large hands and fingers also, and I can bang away on the virtual keyboard pretty efficiently; certainly as efficient as the tiny slide-out bubble keys.

        I think typing on the virtual keyboard is a little like racing: If you try to go too fast, you’ll actually be slower than if you slowed down a bit an focused on smoothness.

        Just sayin’.

        1. They would “go back 4 years” quite simply because there is customer demand for it. This would finally be a reason for me to get an iPhone, and other comments in this thread show that I am far from being alone in wanting this. The virtual keyboard is a PITA, yet i have no problem with the BB I have to use for work. The Apple Fanboys should just get over the fact that not everyone wants a virtual keyboard.

      3. Anybody who says that their fingers are too big for virtual keys is either talking bullshit or is not using an iOS virtual keyboard.

        Put your iPhone into vertical orientation so that the keys are as small as possible and then push the flattest part of your thumb onto the ‘G’ key.

        I chose G because it’s surrounded by loads of other keys and your thumb is almost certainly covering some other keys, such as RTY,FGH and CVB too. However, the clever thing is that the virtual keyboard calculates the entire area that you touch and then works out the centre of that area and regards that as the target. In this case, you should see it respond by generating a ‘G’.

        Because it calculates where you were aiming for, it’s possible to type just by using your thumbs and still get excellent accuracy.

  2. Once you “let go” and trust the predictive virtual keyboard, it really starts working.

    Took me the longest time to get that.

    Of course, fine motor control varies greatly.

  3. They are just prototypes. They don’t mean anything at this point. But I’d like the next iPhone to have an edge-to-edge screen.
    This, plus a redesign of the GUI would really help. Competition is catching up. It’s time for Apple to take another huge step forward.
    The iPhone is more than 4 years old, it has tons of copycats and WP7 looks actually good and different, so a new design is welcome.

  4. Oh God, here we go . . . ’tis the season for Taiwanese manufacturer rumors. Has anyone ever tracked these to see if ANY of them have ever come true? One would think that nobody would read DigiTimes anymore with their track record, except as fantasy and humor.

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