Former engineer says hardware keyboard was "seriously considered" for original iPhone

Former engineer says hardware keyboard was
It seems like we can't go too long without another report coming out that directly contradicts something that Walter Isaacson wrote in his now super famous biography of Steve Jobs. Earlier this month, it was Google CEO Larry Page claiming that Jobs' threats of "thermonuclear war" on Android were just for show, to inspire his company. Now, a former Apple engineer is saying that the original iPhone almost had a physical keyboard. 

In the biography, Walter Isaacson made it sound as though there were prototypes which included physical keyboards, but Steve Jobs quickly vetoed those ideas in order to push his theory that every interaction had to be possible with nothing more than a fingertip. Tony Fadell, the former SVP of the iPod division at Apple and a member of the team working on the original iPhone tells it differently. According to Fadell, the Apple team seriously considered having a physical keyboard as part of the original iPhone design, though he personally didn't want to see that. He didn't say whether it would have been a slide-out keyboard like the Motorola DROID series phones, or a portrait QWERTY like most BlackBerry phones. 

Fadell also said that there were three main prototypes that were considered: an "iPod + Phone", a device that was called the iPhone, and then the iPhone that was ultimately released in 2007. 

What do you guys think? Was a physical keyboard that serious of a consideration, or do you believe Isaacson that Jobs never seriously gave the idea a chance?

source: The Verge



1. Muhannad

Posts: 455; Member since: Sep 20, 2011

Steve Jobs probably never considered it but maybe the others working with him did.

10. sgtdisturbed47

Posts: 970; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

Jobs would never have let it happen. The idea was to be as keyless as possible. Having a keyboard would have negated 90% of the overall design that changed the landscape of smartphones permanently.

13. CellularNinja

Posts: 306; Member since: Sep 27, 2011

I read the bio and what Isaacson said went along with Job's personality. I can't see him every wanting something as trivial as a built in keyboard being on his beautiful phone. He loved the idea of doing everything with the fingertip. (remember, he said no to the stylus)

2. PackMan

Posts: 277; Member since: Mar 09, 2012


3. Nithence

Posts: 4; Member since: Apr 18, 2012

such a boring article.. i think author have never watched or listened to stev jobs' keynote on the day he first introduced iPhone..

7. HugeTroller

Posts: 80; Member since: Apr 27, 2012

the bottom 40s, blackberry LOL

4. mercorp

Posts: 1045; Member since: Jan 28, 2012

Iphone pro....

5. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

thank god they didnt, or the resident iFans would be running around saying apple invented the keyboard and the G1 is a direct rip of the iphone.. ugh.

9. Lucas777

Posts: 2137; Member since: Jan 06, 2011

cant go one article without citing apple vs android eh? but i agree, im glad they did not as personally i like virtual keyboards a lot better.. some people might not, but i would say the majority is fine with virtual keyboards

11. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

it took a lot for me to get away from a physical keyboard. some things are just easier.. especially from a hack/programming perspective. What I would have liked to see was for them to invent some sort of better keyboard than what is offered. Not sure what.. just something better. I really thought RIM was onto something with the Pezio tech in the storms and was hoping that would be developed into something cool.. but alas, that didnt happen.

12. Lucas777

Posts: 2137; Member since: Jan 06, 2011

i agree the screen on the storm was decent just for a virtual keyboard, but i hated it for everything else... if they could find a way to only activate it when typing then that would be cool

6. Mube1

Posts: 153; Member since: Sep 22, 2011

If apple wud use keyboard in future this is called innovative lolz

8. ivanko34

Posts: 617; Member since: Sep 04, 2011

and apple will patent it even if it existed b4

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.