That iPhone Has a Keyboard, but It's Not Mechanical

By JOHN MARKOFF The New York Times

SAN FRANCISCO, June 12 - If there is a billion-dollar gamble underlying Apple's iPhone, it lies in what this smart cellphone does not have: a mechanical keyboard.

As the clearest expression yet of the Apple chief executive's spartan design aesthetic, the iPhone sports only one mechanical button, to return a user to the home screen. It echoes Steven P. Jobs's decree two decades ago that a computer mouse should have a single button. (Most computer mice these days have two.) His argument was that one button ensured that it would be impossible to push the wrong button.

The keyboard is built into other phones, those designed for businesspeople as well as those for teenagers. But the lack of a keyboard could be seen as a clever industrial design solution. It has permitted the iPhone to have a 3.5-inch screen. A big screen makes the phone attractive for alternative uses like watching movies and that could open up new revenue streams for Apple and its partner, AT&T.

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Monty Solomon
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