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Rumor floats iPhone prototype with slider keyboard

updated 06:50 pm EST, Mon February 14, 2011

Apple claimed testing keyboard iPhone, two more

Apple has reportedly been more experimental with iPhone prototypes based on a rumor from Taiwan on Monday. The company is believed testing an iPhone with a "sliding cover" that would hold a keyboard. in the claim also mentioned a second model that would resemble an iPhone 4 with an eight- or 12-megapixel camera and longer battery life.

No description was given for the third phone, but it may be the small, budget iPhone mentioned by multiple sources.

The 12-megapixel camera was unofficially thought unlikely since it would generate too much noise. Phones like the Nokia N8 use 12-megapixel cameras that produce relatively little noise, but they also need large camera sensors and large lenses to get the intended effect. Eight would reduce the potential for noise with a minimum of size changes and would still be sharper than the five-megapixel camera of today.

Also mentioned was talk of the next iPad receiving a camera and being thinner, corroborating eariler rumors.

Apple chief Steve Jobs has dismissed the idea of a hardware keyboard on the iPhone from the start, arguing that the unchangeable physical buttons were a limitation that wasn't present on a touchscreen. The Taiwan contact may have also mistaken a third-party add-on case such as Boxwave's (below) for a full prototype. Even if real, it could represent experimentation rather than a concrete design. The company is known to regularly try designs that it may not necessarily ship, even cancelling them just before they might be announced. nonetheless draws attention as it has historically been accurate. Among others, it unearthed the aluminum unibody MacBook and showed a miniature touchscreen that eventually became the foundation of the sixth-generation iPod nano. Some of its rumors, such as of a 15-inch MacBook Air, also ended up being false. [via AppleInsider]

by MacNN Staff



  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I call

    iPhony baloney on this one.

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Other possibility?

    Could the sliding keyboard actually be a second lower-resolution touchscreen that would alter its layout according to context; a keyboard when typing, game-controller when gaming and so forth. Apple have toyed with contextual input devices before. It would be a great way of committing all the screen real estate of the Retina display to what it was intended. Ultimately, I doubt it but there's no denying that Apple are always thinking of the next big thing.

  1. graxspoo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    iDoubt it

    @Feathers. Probably not. The people that want physical keyboards want the tactile feedback of having real keys. Maybe someday there will be a technology that can make reconfigurable keyboards with tactile feedback (imagine a display where individual pixels could distort the screen, pushing the surface out or in...). Until then, slider keyboard layouts will be carved in stone... err... plastic.

  1. Mr. Strat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Look what happens

    Steve takes a leave of absence, and they come up with stuff like this.

  1. xmattingly

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Grasping at straws

    Just goes to show that the "insiders" don't really know what's going on with Apple.

  1. Marook

    Joined: Dec 1969



    'We removed the keyboard, because you can't change the keys after you ship...' was what Stev said.. and new some asian people dream up an iPhone with a slider keyboard???

    Ahh, well they might not understand english... rofl.....

  1. graxspoo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Apple may very well be considering a slider style iPhone, along with less expensive iPhones. The iPhone is a hot enough product that it makes sense to try to hit some other price points and market segments now.

  1. jasonr704

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Total BS! Jobs hates tiny keys and buttons! Won't

    you can all just dismiss this one as TOTAL BS, because Stevo has said it many times.. keys and buttons are not on Apples radar screen.

    ask yourself why they would take a step backward in form factor design and the answer they wouldn't and they just don't have a track record of doing that.

    doesn't matter if Stevo is working from home this entire year, they already have their product roadmap in place for the next 2-3 years out... so this year they are releasing products that have been in the works for 2-3 years. if steve happended to not make it through his medical issues this year, their product cycle wouldn't be affected for a long time.

    so this kind of design is not even remotely going to happen.

  1. bjojade

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Steve also said no video

    Remember how he said the iPod wouldn't be used for video, but the very next release did? Just because he says it won't happen today doesn't mean it won't happen tomorrow.

    As far as the slide out keyboard, the attached one like shown in the graphic is a great option. Gives the user the best of both worlds. The space savings of putting it inside the phone by default isn't going to be dramatic. If Apple made a case like this, it might be pretty nice.

  1. prl99

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Any physical keyboard limits the product to the US market (and UK). The soft keyboard can easily be changed to match the language of any country, something a physical keyboard can't without providing multiple versions of the iPhone.

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