iPod Touch/iPhone Ideas – Part 1

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?

ATM Card Skimmer

I never knew these things existed. Someone saw that the slot for the card looked weird so he took the piece off the slot and this is what he found.

ATM Card Skimmer

The back of the skimmer had a flash card and a mini usb port.

ATM Card skimmer

You really need to be careful when using an ATM machine. The authorities didn’t know what they looked like and only heard of skimmers it seems.

Circuit City Closes 155 Stores

Circuit City, who was valued at one point in 2006 for $25 a share, was offered to be bought by Best Buy for around $12 a share back in January. They refused and right now is facing bankruptcy at 25 cents per share.

Today, they have announced that they will close 155 of their locations, laying off 17% of their workforce. Here is the list of locations that are closing. This is sad news for me since I worked at one in the past and I was falling in love with a location close to me.

The good news is that you can probably get awesome deals if you go there now. Like CompUSA when they were closing. I got a $2,000+ TV there for around $900 on the last day there.

Apple’s September 9 iPod Event

The new longer iPod Nano seems like it’s definitely going to happen. Kevin Rose also seems to be confident about the new Nano and iTunes 8. There are more rumors that iTunes will get a cooler looking visualizer and a Genius that guesses what kind of music you like, just like last.fm and Pandora. Other iPods seems like they are getting cosmetic changes and/or price cuts. All the rumors sound good and are welcome upgrades, but they all sound underwhelming. It’s trange that Apple wants all the media to be at their event even though it sounds like a snoozer.

It may be that Apple has something up their sleeve that still haven’t been leaked. I’m going to make a prediction now. In conversations when talking about MP3 players and/or car stereos, I’ve always brought up the question “why doesn’t Apple or Creative get together with a car stereo company like Pioneer or Alpine to create an aftermarket head unit with a detachable face that you can also use as an MP3 player?” I’ve even done mockups and advertisements for a graphic design class I had in college in 2000. It seems logical to me. People obviously like MP3 players and aftermarket head units have detachable faces to prevent break-ins and theft.

The aftermarket head unit market is not as large and profitable as the MP3 player or iPod market, so I think it makes sense for an aftermarket head unit company to cut in to this market. If any of them partnered up with Apple, they would see an immediate increase in the sales. It’s possible that it’s not guaranteed that if you partner up with Apple, you will have success i.e. Motorola, but you would see a definite increase in stock value.

I don’t understand why Sony doesn’t do this, they have their Xplod car stereo line and the Walkman MP3 players (which are great BTW). They should’ve been doing this a long time ago. I must be missing something. If anyone know why, please comment below.

Back to the annoucement, so when I saw the new iPod Nano pics, that is what I immediately thought of. It looks like it would be a perfect fit for the single DIN-sized aftermarket head units. I hear it might be touchscreen but it has the clickwheel. It would be perfect to have actual buttons so you can change songs or raise volume by touch alone so you can keep your eyes on the road. Anyway, I know it’s a long shot but I just thought to put it out there. What do you think?