Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Apple considering slider-style iPhone?

That's what The Register thinks, reporting Monday that Apple has shown off prototypes of an iPhone with a hardware keyboard to certain executives at wireless operators. The current iPhone famously comes with only one hardware button that returns the user to the home screen, with the rest of the buttons enabled in software.

The lack of a hardware keyboard is said to be a detriment for business users who are hooked on their BlackBerrys, and the iPhone's touch-screen keyboard certainly does take some getting used to in the first couple of weeks. The report suggests that a hardware-keyboard iPhone will be out around this time next year assuming Apple can work out the kinks.

I can't decide what I think about this notion. It's not completely out of the question that Apple would at least be thinking about a slider-style phone; some designs are quite popular with young and old alike. And we've long expected Apple to eventually release a family of iPhones similar to its strategy for the iPod product line, with different form factors and capabilities targeted at different groups.More>>