Every time I pick up an iPhone, I am delighted and disappointed in the same breath. Apple has completely nailed the UI, and the industrial design of a new breed of "smart phone". The iPhone is so intuitive—so pleasurable, it's addictive. But I can't get over the fact that a design like this can't support a tactile, usable keyboard. So—I've mocked up something in the hopes that one day—someone will figure out how to combine the amazing experience Apple has delivered, with a totally usable keyboard that doesn't take up 3/4 of your screen when using it in the horizontal format.
Enter the "myPhone". Imagine taking the best slider design out there, like Nokia's N95, then adding a responsive trackball similar to the Blackberry Pearl. Yes, you would add some thickness to the iPhone design. This may turn off some Apple die hards who place a premium on the simplicity and elegance of Apple's designs. But I have to believe that someone out there—someone can provide a UI experience similar to what Apple has achieved without sacrificing the ability to enjoy tapping out lots of copy on a responsive QWERTY. And what about copy and paste? Currently the iPhone doesn't support this.
I may be dreaming, but a design like this could really enhance the mobile Web experience. More input. More interaction. All of the touch screen magic would still be there. All of the accents such as the chrome. The trackball could allow for one hand operation—I know this because I do it on my Sideckick all the time. Actually, if I had something like this in my hands, I might use both my thumbs and index fingers at the same time.
I don't know. Many feel that Apple's design is perfect. For me it's close. But I can't get over the typing experience. It's just not good when you compare it to much larger, tactile QWERTY's. There has to be a way to make this work. Are we ready to go to all touch screen even when it doesn't feel right? Am I the only one who feels this way?
This isn't a criticism of the iPhone. It's a brilliant piece of art and technology and extremely well designed. I may cave in and get one—I don't know how much longer I can hold out. But innovation sometimes happens when a need goes unmet. So far no one has nailed the mobile experience for me. I can't believe that I would be alone in this. The "myPhone" pictured above would also be able to take video, and allow you to edit certain documents. Imagine putting that little keyboard to use on a word doc or presentation when you are on the go. And imagine how good the mobile blogging experience would be.
Last week, Karl Long who works for Nokia conducted a virtual brainstorm for the perfect social media phone. I added my 2 cents and honestly, the iPhone is pretty close with the exception of a tactile keyboard, video and a higher resolution camera. So if there is a mobile company out there who has something like this on the drawing board, please count me in as a beta tester. If you can figure out how to make the slider design thin and responsive, and duplicate Apple's multi touch UI—you might just be able to give Apple a run for their money...
Or I could just be smoking something. Want some?