Ryan Seacrest Tried Making an iPhone Hardware Keyboard Case 10 Years Ago

If the aforelinked new Clicks keyboard case for iPhones rings a bell, here’s Jon Fingas reporting for Engadget 10 years ago:

The market for keyboard-equipped phones may be on the wane, but don’t tell that to Ryan Seacrest — the American Idol host is convinced that messaging mavens need real buttons. To that end, he’s jumping into hardware and launching the Typo Keyboard for the iPhone 5 and 5S. The Bluetooth case turns an Apple handset into a makeshift BlackBerry Q10, complete with backlit, sculpted keys that cover up the iPhone’s home button (there’s a small substitute key); we hope you don’t need multitasking, folks. The Typo Keyboard will make its formal debut at CES in early January, and it should ship that month for $99.

The Typo keyboard was doomed in more ways than one: it used unreliable battery-draining Bluetooth, not a wired connection; iOS didn’t have good hardware keyboard support at the time; and, as Fingas alludes in his description above, the Typo keyboard’s design covered the iPhone’s home button. That was pretty much a dealbreaker for the iPhone 5S, which introduced Touch ID.

Even worse, the shell of the company that was once the mighty BlackBerry sued Typo for patent infringement, won, and eventually drove Typo out of business. (Kudos to NBC News for that “Seacrest Out” headline.)

Thursday, 4 January 2024