Mossberg reviews Ryan Seacrest-backed ‘Typo’ physical keyboard for Apple iPhone

“Ever since the iPhone debuted with its multi-touch interface, typing on glass has largely replaced the earlier method of typing on small plastic keyboards built into smartphones,” Walt Mossberg writes for Re/code. “But some people who have switched to the iPhone from a BlackBerry still miss the tactile keys.”

“Now, a new company, Typo Products, is introducing a $99 iPhone case that comes with a built-in, backlit physical keyboard at the bottom edge,” Mossberg writes. “I’ve been testing the Typo keyboard, and can recommend it for physical keyboard die-hards. It has some trade-offs, and won’t likely appeal to most iPhone users who never became thumb-typing wizards. But those who miss physical keyboards will love this thing.”

“In fact, the company was launched by a Las Vegas taxi-advertising executive, with TV personality Ryan Seacrest, because both were strong fans of physical keyboards, and each was carrying two phones,” Mossberg writes. “The company concedes that the Typo is a “niche” product, for a minority of iPhone users. I agree. But I also agree that, for that niche, this $99 case could well be a great deal.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We can’t wait for Mistrack™, the world’s first iPhone mouse. Coming soon from Luddite Ltd.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Beleaguered BlackBerry sues company co-founded by Ryan Seacrest over iPhone-compatible physical keyboard – January 3, 2014
Ryan Seacrest invested $1 million to develop iPhone physical keyboard – December 5, 2013


  1. If it works, that’s a great product. It’s not for me, but still a good idea that will definitely find a market. I don’t use a case on my iPhone 5 because I take care of it and don’t drop it — but I don’t disparage the whole case industry just because they’re not for me.

  2. I’ve never needed a keyboard on my iPhone or iPad. If a $99 is what it takes to bring Luddite Blackberry users to iPhones, then so be it. They’ll ditch it after two months.

    I solved the Blackberry problem real quick several years ago when I said to my boss: “Great I’ll leave that on my desk after hours” Oh you want me to carry that thing around? “Ok I’ll charge you at my hourly rate after hours when carrying it.” All of a sudden, those “have to answer” emails could wait a few hours. Still using a Blackberry “on the road” and typing on that small keyboard? You ain’t being efficient with your time. Think about what you are doing.

    1. I know several lawyers who can’t live without their BlackBerries. The iPhone is too complicated for them as smart professionals (they’re just not IT savvy) and the lack of a keyboard impedes their typing performance.

      It’s not for me to judge a user’s preference but if a physical keyboard helps them transition away from BB, I’d be happy that there was something in the market to assist them.

  3. Wasn’t one of Blackberry’s big selling points, that BB users couldn’t live without their button keyboard? And for that reason, they’d never leave their Blackberry Phones? Well, this device pretty much makes that a mute point. This is going to pull some BB users over to the iPhone. I am curious to see how many will switch.

    If I were a BB user who was a whiz using they’re keyboard and had to have it, I’d definitely consider the Typo with an iPhone. The iPhone has all the security required in an enterprise environment. Even Apple Mail can be configured for Exchange. Add iWork and iLife for free, and that crackberry is looking pretty lame and pathetic.

    For these reasons, I actually like this product. Let the conversions begin.

  4. Just feel there has to be a better solution than that for those who need a physical keypad surely a flip one would be better with a smaller physical size, potentially larger keyboard and would allow use of the home/fingerprint scanner in normal use. Just seems to be the lowest common denominator.

  5. The need for a physical keyboard is really a function of the size of the iPhone for me. I can’t effectively type on the iPhone screen (5s) because of the size of my fingers/hands. I essentially wage a war with auto-correct to type everything but the simplest messages. Give me a bigger screen with bigger keys on the virtual keyboard and I’d be happy. As it is I will probably have to try one of these out.

  6. I prefer Siri as a keyboard alternative when possible but there is definitely room for this for professionals who need to be more efficient typing on the iPhone. There are many people who will never type as fast on the touch screen than with a physical KB and its not their fault. I get frustrated with it all the time but I’m not about to buy the Typo product.

  7. I have/use a physical keyboard with my iPad. It’s less stressful and more efficient especially for long documents. (Doesn’t matter for short writings.) But the real deal for me is that I don’t like being forced to use a Qwerty keyboard whether I’m on my Mac or on an iOS device, but especially an iPad. Apple only permits use of the alternate keyboard layout on an external keyboard for its iOS devices. I don’t know why that is since providing an alternate layout for the internal keyboard doesn’t seem to be rocket science.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.