Typo launches physical keyboard for the iPhone 6

  • AFP
  • Updated: Dec 10, 2014 11:17 IST

The company backed by US TV star Ryan Seacrest that was forced to put operations on hold following a legal challenge by BlackBerry is back with a new physical clip-on keyboard for the latest Apple smartphone.

When the original Typo keyboard launched at the 2014 CES for the iPhone 5 it generated a lot of interest. The $99 accessory was targeted at those who put accurate text entry above all other features on their smartphone -- CEOs, investment bankers, lawyers, doctors and Kim Kardashian.

Unfortunately, the biggest interest in the device came from BlackBerry, which felt that it was far too similar in look and feel to the QWERTY keyboards that it had been building into its own devices for many years and promptly took Typo to court.

The initial Typo was very quickly pulled from the market and litigation is still ongoing. However, the company is back with the Typo2, which is now more closely modeled on Apple's own virtual keyboard layout and has been suitably expanded to fit the iPhone 6, but not the iPhone 6 Plus.

Speaking with Re/code on Monday, the company's CEO, Laurence Hallier, revealed that although he attempted to make a QWERTY keyboard for Apple's first phablet, it didn't work.

The Typo2 for iPhone 6. Photo: AFP

"We designed one, but the phone is so big, it makes it top heavy," he said.

However, he did confirm that the company's attention is now focused on developing a "completely different take" on the iPad keyboard.

The Typo2 may seem like a gimmick and an expensive one at that -- what's more, it obscures Apple's fingerprint-sensing Touch ID -- but Hallier claims it's become a big hit with business users in particular who are more than happy to sacrifice biometrics in favor of fewer typos and more screen real estate.

In fact, almost a year after the first iteration was launched, there's every chance that the Typo2 could become a hit this time around.

BlackBerry has recently gone back to the physical QWERTY keyboard design for its latest handset, the BlackBerry Classic, a move it says was motivated by meeting users' demands and expectations rather than blindly following the latest touchscreen-based smartphone trends.

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