Friday, July 03, 2009

Waiting for an iPhone external keyboard

One of my big hopes for OS 3 is that it would support an external keyboard, like the one I had for my Palm III.

Didn't happen. Apple has yet to provide an API to support any kind of external kb.

Frustrating, but nothing to do. While we're waiting, however, we can appreciate a comment on the topic from a historic expert (from the new gdgt site, no less) ....
Apple iPhone 3GS: Connect APPLE iPhone 3GS to APPLE wireless keyboard! - gdgt
.... I co-founded the company that developed the folding keyboard for Palm, the Stowaway. The iPhone could certainly benefit from one, but it requires getting into territory that Apple hasn't opened up and likely won't. They need to decide to incorporate the software at a low enough level that will work with all apps...
The "won't" comment is a bit grim. I have to say though, that I share the fear that Apple will keep this door closed. My only hope is that the Pre uses some future external kb coolness to beat Apple over the head ...


  1. Jon Bridges4/8/09 4:25 AM

    Hi! I'm with you. Every month or so I do a Google Search on "iphone external keyboard". This month your post came up. I'm using a 5 year old phone cos I'm waiting for my dream phone - which would be an iphone with an external keyboard so I can write wherever I like.

    I wonder why they are blocking this, when it doesn't seem so hard to let it happen? Maybe a new product coming that they don't want the iphone encroaching on?

    Thanks for the post. (New Zealand)

  2. During the OS 3 introduction Apple made a big deal about peripherals, but none have appeared. I wonder if there was some OS problem and we have to wait for 3.1?

    In any case there's no kb API in 3.1 so we still won't get a kb.

    I don't know what's up with Apple. One guess is they want to protect their laptop sales. Another is that they want to focus on the iPhone as a gaming and media product rather than a productivity tool.

  3. I don't think it's apple that is the problem. I think it is the services such as AT&T that do not want you using up thier bandwidth actually using the Iphone as a mobile office. It is the same issue with mms and teathering.

  4. I think apple refuses to provide the external keyboard because in many cases it eliminates the need for a laptop. There laptop sales, especially the airbook would go down. O how I want the external keyboard. I would have been able to type this comment 4 times as fast.

  5. Oh....You mean like this?

  6. That anonymous link is fantastic ...

    The Message Pad 2000 with an external keyboard. I didn't remember that!

    I do remember all the Palm keyboards, any of them would be wonderful.