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?

Geoff Evila: Coma Survivor, iPhone Owner

Geoff Evila Geoff Evila went into a coma four months ago after a car accident. Before he went into the coma, he had a lot planned in his life. Now, Geoff is trying to get back his life one step at a time. His motor skills being one, another being getting an iPhone. He was very excited when the iPhone was announced and planned to wait in line when it was released. Unfortunately, the coma conflicted with his schedule. Geoff’s friend was able to help recreate the excitement of purchasing the iPhone when he told a local Apple store’s employees about Geoff’s story.

$100 Credit to the Apple Store

After the 8GB iPhone price was dropped from $599 to $399 just two months from the product launch, the return rate on the iPhone started to increase dramatically. Even Nokia went ahead and stuck it to early iPhone adopters and Apple with the Google Adwords ad below.

Nokia sticks it to Apple

Immediately, Apple annouced that if you bought an iPhone within the last 14 days you can receive the $200 difference. Well, you are allowed to return it and buy a new one for the new price. There might be a restocking fee. Some say they were able to get away with it even though it had been a month since they bought it.

Yesterday, Steve Jobs announced that you would receive a $100 credit for the Apple store for anyone with an iPhone. It’s an unprecedented move in the personal electronics market, especially from Apple. Personally, I think that the $200 should be an early adopter’s tax. I know this is a good thing for consumers but I’ve paid a lot of early adopter’s tax in the past and I’m bitter about it. Grrr.

The Upcoming Google Phone/GPhone

GPhone ConceptsHere is a post about the upcoming GPhone or Google Phone. There has been many “leaks” from Google employees that there will definitely be a Google Phone before the year is over, maybe as soon as next month. If it does come out, I think it’ll have a bigger impact on the mobile market than the iPhone. I’ve written about it before about all the features it will have.

It will supposedly run linux, which means open source, which means apps can be written for it in the future if it doesn’t come with the phone in the first place. The iPhone does not have this feature. There are only web apps for it. I don’t understand why they made a big deal about running OS X but not allow third-party applications.

I’m thinking something like a music player. Maybe the Google music player isn’t that great, someone might write an app that emulates iTunes and its coverflow. Of course it’ll be taken down by Apple for copyright infringement, but early adopters would still have it.

The post that I linked talks a lot about the built-in camera. He would like to see image stabilization support. Not many camera phones have image stabilization built-in and blurriness is a major problem with pictures taken with phones. I personally don’t think a camera is an issue. I would go without it if it’ll make the phone smaller, lighter and cheaper. Standalone cameras are becoming so small that it’s not cumbersome carrying a phone and a camera around. I would much rather have one device dedicated to doing one thing really well than one device that does them mediocral.

From the early rumors I’ve heard, the price was around $250 USD. If that’s the case, I think it prices itself like the Wii against the PS3, which in this case is the iPhone. I’m really pulling for the Google Phone on this one to prove to everyone that the iPhone is an overpriced, overhyped fossil tied down by its deal with one of the worst telecoms on Earth.