14 August 2018
iPhone brought a major shift in the smartphone industry and brought forward a device that was primarily all screen. Steve Jobs on the launch of the very first iPhone highlighted one of the unique selling points of iPhone mentioning how there was no physical keyboard that would always be there even if you don’t require it in various apps. Instead, the iPhone brings a software-based keyboard that is served on the basis of demand.
An Ex-Apple employee Kocienda, who worked at Apple for 15 years shared the sketch of how iPhone’s keyboard was brought into existence in his book. He shared various versions of the keyboards where the designers suggested 44 pixels wide buttons, though the entire display was 320 pixels wide. Kocienda also designed various keyboard layouts with zoomed-in keyboard view and another design similar to the multi-letter keyboards we see on low-end phones (like old Nokia phones), with ‘qwe’ on one button and you press multiple times each button to reach out to a specific letter.
Kocienda also shared iPhone prototypes last year that he used to design iPhone keyboards which give a very interesting insight into the past. Back in the days when mobile displays were quite small compared to what we’re used to now with displays averaging above 5 inches in many devices now. Early iPhones were just 3.5 inches which became 4 inches in 2012 in the shape of iPhone 5, making the keyboard use much easier with larger keys to be tapped on.
Though this definitely shows an interesting insight into the struggle of developing a user-friendly yet effective piece of the keyboard.