A new rumor from Taiwanese Apple enthusiast blog Apple.pro suggests that Apple is currently testing three different prototypes of what will eventually become the iPhone 5. One such prototype, the report claims, features a slide-out physical keyboard similar to the one seem above (which is an iPhone 4 keyboard accessory by BoxWave called the Keyboard Buddy). A physical keyboard on an iPhone would certainly come as a surprise considering the company’s prior stance against hardware keypads, though Apple has often been known to reverse its stances where the iPhone is concerned. Apple.pro’s report states that the other two prototypes are similar in design to the iPhone 4, though at least one features an upgraded 8-megapixel camera and a thinner case compared to the current iPhone model. More →
Yeah, we know that the iPhone’s software keyboard is a thing of beauty, and that the aesthetic argument for a clean, unblemished touchreen interface is a good one. That said, there are days when you just need a little physical keyboard goodness to make it through the 300th email response you have to bang out. A clever iPhone hacker seems to agree, having hacked his jailbroken iPhone to support a physical keyboard. Sure, the interface is a bit… clunky, and the actual connection between the keyboard and the phone is a bit cumbersome, but it still warms our hearts to know that there are people working hard out there to prove this sort of demonstration. We can’t see Apple adding much in the way of official support for this, so if a set of actual keys sounds appealing you might want to consider jailbreaking… either that, or buying a different handset.