applenetbook-300x201After seeing this post about Apple’s response to the netbooks phenomenon on Techcrunch, I got to wondering about the possibilities of the iPhone and iPod Touch.

The picture that they made for the article (right) looks like something that should exist since one of the biggest gripe that iPhone owners have is a real, physical QWERTY keyboard. The touchscreen keyboard is functional and most of the fun on the iPhone can be had without the use of the keyboard, but for heavy keyboard users (not fat iPhone owners), it just doesn’t cut it.

A quick Google search shows few physical keyboard solutions and hacks. None of them very elegant. There are dozens of great concepts but nothing in the real world.

So I drew this up quickly…


So why don’t they have something like this? It is basically a small keyboard that snaps on to the edges of the iPhone. On one end, it plugs into the iPod port. That is connected to a hinge that allows the keyboard side to close to protect the iPhone screen. The hinge could fold the other way for times you’re talking on the iPhone.

For me, the flat shape of the iPhone feels awkward to hold up to my ear. It’s almost too thin in my opinion. A lot of people have protectors that make the device much thicker, so I don’t think it would be a big deal that the keyboard would bulk up the iPhone.

If this was a product line, there could be a version with a bigger keyboard side that housed batteries for extra power when it is plugged in. Another version could forgo the batteries altogether and house solar cells?

Could the reason be that the current firmware keeps the on-screen keyboard up if you have an external keyboard plugged in so there’s no point in the external one? Will the Firmware version 3.0 fixed this issue? Will there be more accessories like this one when 3.0 comes out?