Ion add-on to equip iPhone with full Qwerty keyboard
iType turns you handset into a Sinclair Z88
CES 2010 Ion, a company best known for its USB turntables and cassette decks, has introduced a Qwerty keyboard add on for... the iPhone.
Ion's iType: fast text entry on the iPhone
No mere clip-on BlackBerry-style mini keypad, the iType is a near full-size board with a space in which to sit the handset in landscape mode.
The iType has its own battery, so won't drain the phone's own power pack. Quite the reverse. Since it connects to the iPhone's docking port, it should charge the handset.
Also available in silver
At CES, the company had two prototype iTypes on show: one silver, one gloss black.
Ion's using the same basic design in its iPhone-friendly piano keyboard accessory, iDiscovery Keyboard. It comes complete with pitch, modulation and a stack of other controls which interface directly with the keyboard tutor app the board is designed to operate with.
If music's more your thing, there's a piano option too
Ion has given the iType a rough Q2 release window, and the company told Register Hardware it's aiming for a price of just £70. There's no word on the piano price. ®
I'm not quite sure who will buy the keyboard (not very portable), but at least functional accessories are starting to appear.
I'd rather see a compact fold-up keyboard, or even better an adapter that allows any USB keyboard to be plugged into the iPhone.
The piano keyboard actually makes more sense, although again, being able to plug any electric piano into the iPhone would be even better.
There's no "pedant" icon
..so please imagine one.
The Z88 wasn't officially a Sinclair, it was made by Cambridge- which was formed in the aftermath of the sale of Sinclair to Amstrad.
if it's not too late
pls tell them to angle the ipod dock so that it faces the user instead of the ceiling. the ceiling won't be doing much of the viewing of the ipodding, that's all i'm saying.
I humbly disagree
I dunno - I had a folding keyboard for my ickle Palm m105 back in the day (when there was no way I could afford the cost or bulk of a laptop alongside my existing desktop PC and a bag chock already full of physical folders). It was just fine, folded up into an integrated carry case about the same size as the PDA, but when unfolded it braced together with clips (and the case exterior) to a solid, if slightly thin "proper" board. Reminiscent of a largish, slightly cut-price version of a typical netbook keyboard in fact. Much better than the tiny, mushy membrane or tacky chiclet jobs that made up most of its competitors.
The real problem was the PDA itself, and more specifically its software. Who would know that you could make a 16mhz M68k so unresponsive, particularly when only dealing with a 160x200, 4 greyscale display? (I cut my wordprocessing teeth on an Atari ST, for comparison) That a reflective LCD could be so hard to read in a well lit lecture theatre? Or it could be so hard to transfer plaintext in a consistently usable format from a portable device to a desktop?
Dropped the whole thing for an early 90s mono subnotebook (running on Win3.1 and 6 Tandy nicads cack-handedly soldered together) swapped for a CDR of Counterstrike and a box of washing powder (ah, studentville) in the end. Far more usable, if a bit clunky for storing addresses and alarms in.
I think there might be a lesson in that... just get one of the smaller flavours of netbook if you're that desperate for typing on the go. Or an old Amstrad NC100 (or actual Z88? Runs for a fortnight on a set of AA's allegedly because it only runs the CPU in response to a keypress). Or a windows/symbian/android/etc phone and a mini-size bluetooth board. Like... Oh, I dunno... the wireless, iSlate sized, super-thin milled aluminium jobs that come with the current iMacs? Just a thought.
ION Piano docker
Musicians have been waiting for this since the laptop, since memory and progammability of electronic instruments is such poor value. In the meantime, software replaces several classes of hardware - sequencers and samplers, for instance - but a 'home studio' still consists several expensive boxes connected by almost as expensive cables (USB, audio or MIDI).
That said, 25 keys won't satisfy pianists and 88 keys with piano-feel would fail as a portable. Screen size of an i-touch is adequate, but does it run Logic fast enough?
Need an icon for "We're still looking", fail is too harsh.