Clicks, a keyboard case for iPhone

Originally published at: Clicks, a keyboard case for iPhone - Boing Boing


Of course, those not locked-in to Apple products in the first place can just buy a phone that has a keyboard built in.

You’d be amused to learn how many people say to me, upon seeing my phone, “Oh, I miss my Blackberry. All my stuff is on Apple now, though.”


Does not pass the pocket test. Especially the women’s pocket test.


Style Dress GIF by HannahWitton


Well the advantage of it being built in is presumably it is a bit more sturdy. The disadvantage is you don’t basically get “more screen” because the whole phone would have been designed to use a screen half taken up by keyboard and then having the keyboard moved to below the screen. Oh, and another advantage of being built in is you wouldn’t have a giant screen so the thing’ll actually fit in a pocket.

…and as another pro/con if you have the keyboard as “part of a case” and it turns out you don’t really like that form factor, or found that typing on a tiny keyboard is not the improvement you had hoped for you can give up on the keyboard case and be only out the price of the case not the whole phone (so $150 or so as opposed to…$1k, then again if you were buying an Android phone you will have already saved like half that $1k anyway…)

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Very pleased to be having this conversation.

The BlackBerry Priv was a masterpiece. It was a large-ish phone (roughly 3"x6") that used a slider mechanism so it was “all screen” unless you needed the keyboard for something and then snikt, it was there. The whole thing was only about 3/16" thick. Turned out to be a little fragile, but most phones are in my buttery hands. The BlackBerry KeyOne and Key2 lacked the slider, so the screen was a little smaller, as you mention.

Here in 2024, I think most people either know that they want a keyboard, know that they don’t, or they are too young to remember what it’s like to have one on your phone.

Buyers of the UniHertz Titan Slim would be saving two thirds of that $1k. It copies the general design of the KeyOne/Key2, but it is significantly thicker because it has a superb battery that lasts 2 days of normal use. Unihertz has started making spare parts available to consumers in their online store, so repairability is stellar.

Some of their other phones are wacky and have things like a 22,000 mAh battery and a pico projector (yes, “and”). I don’t know how much I trust them to stay in business, but I am ecstatic that there is at least somebody making the kinds of phones that Apple thinks nobody wants.

Heck, Apple thinks nobody wants a keyboard for their iPhone, but here’s a company making one.

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Oh yeah, I forgot all about the slider phones. My bad! Obviously they existed and had some design advantages, and disadvantages.

To be fair the bar for Apple making a product isn’t that “at least a person wants it”,but a vast quantity of people want it. They don’t try to make every single person happy with products by having options, or sub products. They want to hit maybe 80% of the market with something that makes them ecstatic, and if they leave 20% of the market unserved that works fine for them.

Eh, I think in 2024 it is far enough from last time a great many people had a hardware keyboard that they remember them more with nostalgia, and hope then anything else…and that a vast number of people never had a smart phone prior to the model touch screen era.

So for example I decided not to buy the Click because I figured I don’t really even like a case on my phone. I didn’t even really think about my experiences with the long-ago Tree 650 and the awful keyboard. Probably worse than the iPhone touch keyboard despite being a physical keyboard. In my imagination a physical keyboard is awesome. Enough so that I wold have been willing to waste $150 on one if I hadn’t realized I don’t think I would enjoy having a case again.

Fair enough, I frequently forget that a lot of Android phones cost less then the Google Pixel phones…or that Android is more then Samsung and Pixel.

Clearly not true as Apple has significant software support for hardware keyboards. All of the command key shortcuts are only supported on physical keyboards, not the on screen keyboard. That is a lot of work someone one to just to make hardware keyboards more valuable. Granted it is likely that work was justified more or less just for the iPad, but someone did sign off on it being active on the iPhone as well.

Apple clearly decided the market for iPhone keyboards is too small for Apple to bother with, but big enough to actually put a little effort into supporting it. Even deciding to support USB-C HID keyboards would have been a choice Apple made. Sure they already have the code floating around, so mostly it would have been someone deciding to give the code the level of scrutiny and security audits iOS kernel modules get, which is well past what the macOS kernel modules get (at least I assume that is still the case, I haven’t worked for them for about a decade now, for all I know that stuff has moved to user land and gets a less serious audit, or macOS and iOS get the same level of audit scrutiny, they did unify those teams…)

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