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iPhone gets a decent keyboard

But no Apple approval

Top three mobile application threats

Developers have managed to hack together a Human Interface driver for the iPhone, allowing any Bluetooth keyboard to be used on jailbroken iPhones.

The software doesn't work in all applications, but does connect most applications to the kind of travel keyboard which is making laptops redundant, even if it can't do copy and paste just yet.

The iPhone's soft keyboard might be OK for a pair of thumbs, but touch typists prefer something physical to work with and Apple's failure to support Bluetooth human interface peripherals is hard to understand unless Cupertino is worried it might eat into laptop sales.

Certainly a Windows Phone device with a copy of SoftMaker's office package, and a decent keyboard, is very comparable to a netbook with the added advantage of being pocketable - it'll even underline spelling mistakes in red, which is surely what computers are for. But to do that one has to use a Windows Phone: a high price to pay.

But perhaps keyboards are a little too 20th Century for Mr. Jobs. We'd like to see an Apple-branded Twiddler II for connection to our iPhone 3, or something even more interesting. Unfortunately it's much more likely we'll just see official support for the Human Interface profile an update or two down the road, along with a pretty white folding keyboard bearing the Apple logo.

Until then, the functionality is limited to those prepared to jailbreak their iPhones. But it's another decent incentive to do so. ®

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