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How the iPhone keyboard could have looked
Posted by: pRICE cUBE
Date: August 08, 2018 08:07PM


The designers of the very first iPhone had a problem: how to get a workable on-screen keyboard into 2.0-by-1.3-inch space. Apple designer Ken Kocienda explains the difficulties in an excerpt from his upcoming book.

His 304-page description of his 15 years at Apple isn’t out yet, but he gave an early look at a keyboard concept that didn’t work out.

Designers were struggling to find a way to make a workable input device that’s less than half the size of a credit card.

This was a major problem. Their solution needed to not just work, but win over a skeptical audience. A New York Times article from 2007, written after the first-generation iPhone had been announced by Steve Jobs but before it had been released, shows how very doubtful people were of a phone with a virtual keyboard.

Kocienda’s proposed design put two or three letters on each key. This allowed the keys to be large enough for people to accurately tap them with their thumbs. The iPhone would then show the user the words that could be made up from the keys they’d pressed, and the user would choose the one they’d actually intended.

He won the contest, but the design didn’t please Apple executives. Kocienda describes what happened when it was demoed to Phil Schiller, Apple’s marketing chief: “Phil wasn’t satisfied, and he said so. Then that was it. I was surprised we were done so fast. The demo was over in about two minutes.”

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Re: How the iPhone keyboard could have looked
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: August 09, 2018 05:34AM
I had to skip your post, pRICE, as soon as I saw the name Ken Kocienda.

I've got that book on order via Audible via Amazon (they own Audible now).

I can't wait to 'read' it!

I wonder if there will be illustrations.

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