back to article Ion add-on to equip iPhone with full Qwerty keyboard

Ion, a company best known for its USB turntables and cassette decks, has introduced a Qwerty keyboard add on for... the iPhone. Ion iType 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 …

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Silver badge

Forced pedantry

"...turns you handset..."

"...a Sinclair Z88"

*ME* handset?

A Sinclair *what*?

My hunch is that this turns your handset into a Sinclair ZX80/ZX81 ;-)

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@cliff

http://www.nvg.org/sinclair/computers/z88/z88.htm

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No - a Z88

See -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambridge_Z88 - the Z88 actually was a very good note taking machine, I got a lot of use out of mine, good battery life, decent portability and while limited, did what it said on the can. Niether the z80 r 81 had screens.

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Joke

ZX80 / ZX81?

Nah. To get the correct feel here they'd have to arrange it so that whenever you thumped a key a bit too enthusiastically all bar 1k of the device's memory disappeared.

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FAIL

If you're going to eb a pedant....

then be accurate! Where's the screen on the ZX80/81?!

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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.

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Boffin

OMG

Please tell me there is a tilt mechanism to rotate the iPhone screen towards the typist?

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WTF?

Brilliantly pointless

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.

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Gremlins

Perhaps the iPhone could become just like that multi-tool bathroom buddy gadget in the original Gremlins movie. Sure it'd be bulky, but you could shave, wax, groom, use a usb keyboard and dice some carrots all at the same time.

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Anonymous Coward

Agreed

I was quite shocked, I was expecting some kind of jacket like the old iPaq's used to get, that had a fold out keyboard not much bigger than the screen, not a full-on keyboard.

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jai
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but...

surely the whole point of wanting an external keyboard is to enable text entry without the virtual keyboard taking up so much screen space. but without being able to override the iPhone's keyboard popping up, all this does is remove the portability of the iPhone - if you need a fullsize keyboard that much, get a laptop!!

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FAIL

Even worse because...

...the fancy rotate it around to get landscape view only works in a few applications. If the application you use only supports portrait mode, you will be typing with not only 1/3 the screen obscured by the on-screen keyboard, but also with everything on it's side.

Seriously, if you need a qwerty keyboard on your phone (I do), then get a phone with one built-it, or jailbreak your iPhone / iPod Touch so you can install a proper bluetooth stack that supports BT keyboards...

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also...

If Apple wanted to, they could alloy you to pair an Apple bluetooth keyboard with your iPhone. And of course the phone would know about the pairing and not show the keyboard. Simples.

Are you listening, Steve? Hell, why not just implement full Bluetooth connectivity. Go wild, live a little.

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Coat

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.

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JWS
WTF?

Erm...

Oookaaay then. Are we in April yet?

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OK - Where's the Blue-Tooth Keyboard

Hey Apple! Where is the Blue-Tooth Keyboard Profile?

This is a really far-reach for a partner to have to walk in order to get past a lack of blue-tooth profile!

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FAIL

Handy

Just what's wanted for the iPhone owner - compact keybord that emphasises and enhances the portability of the phone.

Chocolate teapot, anyone?

(El Reg needs chocolate teapot icon)

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Missed opportunities

If this had been available 18 months ago, I'd certainly have bought it. However, I've belatedly been forced to recognize that "mobile computing" is never going to be frictionless enough to be worthwhile. Most things can wait till I get back to my desk.

As for the fold-up keyboards mentioned by Ian Ferguson, they just don't appeal to me. I've used them with various Palms and the Nokia N800. They're not solid enough to allow you to forget about the keyboard and just type, so what's the point?

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Coffee/keyboard

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.

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FAIL

Apple...

just let us connect a bluetooth mouse and kb to our iphones... now that would be good

rather than this pointless crap

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I am getting one!

Wait... Oh, no it's alright. I didnt realise it was SO F*CKING BIG!

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Troll

At the screen tilt commenters...

I humbly submit that if you would consider buying this if it could tilt your iPhone, then your view of what constitutes 'sensible' or 'practical' or even 'a good idea' is skewed to the point that no amount of tilt will fix it...

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Happy

Make it a real one...

Add an AV cable to the ipod as well to hook it up to the TV and you really do have a retro setup!

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I'm not an iPhone user but I think

Each device should have stereo speakers as well, but I don't see 'em.

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Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaser !!

If the iPhone only had a decent, HID capable bluetooth stack..

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Happy

The Sinclair mobile phone

Whatever would it have been like?

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FAIL

Yay

It turns my Nokia iPhone into a Sinclair Z88, I can't wait!

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Paris Hilton

£70?????

Do they think iPhone owners are made of money? Oh, yes, I was forgetting.....

Paris - because she is the maid of money.

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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.

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