Apple seriously considered equipping the first iPhone with a physical keyboard, a one-time Cupertino mover and shaker has disclosed, in a revelation that could have left today’s smartphone landscape looking very different indeed.
Since the original, touchscreen-toting iPhone landed back in 2007, touch inputs have become standard across the industry, while handsets with physical keyboards have slipped from prominence.
The first iPhone's attention to design detail, which was care of some people’s nomination for Greatest Living Englishman Jonathan Ive, also ushered in a generation of better looking smartphones from rivals, as they rushed to cop lessons from Apple’s hugely successful blower.
However, things could have been very different indeed if some dissenting voices in Apple had got their way.
According to former Apple exec Tony Fadell, the tech giant toyed with a BlackBerry-style keyboard – largely it seems at his behest, after he was unconvinced by the merits of an all-touchscreen user interface.
He told The Verge: "I didn't know a lot about touchscreens and I was sceptical, so I wanted to try it first. I wanted it to work because it made sense to have a big screen and not just a little keyboard.”
Fadell also revealed that Apple experimented with an iPhone with a iPod-style clickwheel, before scrapping the idea after building a prototype.