updated 10:45 am EDT, Wed June 27, 2007
iPhone keyboard video
Apple today posted a new video detailing the intelligent keyboard found in its forthcoming iPhone, which some critics said made the device unfit for practical business use. The video covers such features as the included English language dictionary, automatic correction as users type, and word anticipation functionality to intelligently guess which word users are typing as letters appear on the screen. The iPhone also enlarges the 'tap area' around keys that users are most likely to press next by comparing the series of letters already typed to known words, making those keys which are unlikely to see inclusion harder to hit while increasing the likelihood that users will tap on letters that spell actual English words.
Various industry watchers and companies -- including Microsoft -- balked at the lack of a physical keyboard on Apple's iPhone after the company's chief executive Steve Jobs debuted the device at the Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco early this year. Recently however, tech guru Walt Mossberg with the Wall Street Journal reviewed the device and concluded that typing with the on-screen keyboard is as quick and accurate as his Palm Treo after just five days of use, despite a significant initial slowdown in typing speed after acquiring the device for the first time.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in late April also said the iPhone has "no chance" to achieve any significant market share.
"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance," said Ballmer. "It's a $500 subsidized item. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I'd prefer to have our software in 60 percent or 70 percent or 80 percent of them, than I would to have 2 percent or 3 percent, which is what Apple might get."
Those statements by Microsoft's head came after AT&T announced on April 18th that more than one million customers were waiting to purchase an iPhone at that time. Previous evidence of interest in the new cellular handset surfaced when a surge in Web searches for the device was reported by one blogger in early March, with searches for 'iphone' soaring to rank as the 55th highest volume search term overall for the week ending January 13th during the Macworld Expo. The volume of U.S. searches for that same term shot up a whopping 583 percent between the weeks ending May 26th and June 23rd, according to Hitwise, resulting in Apple receiving most of the redirected traffic for 54.4 percent of those hits.