Are you still lamenting the first, second or third death of BlackBerry? 

Despite ample evidence that people don’t buy phones with keyboards anymore, there’s always someone waiting in the wings to test the waters. And this time, it’s the turn of Michael Fisher (aka MrMobile) and Kevin Michaluk (aka Crackberry Kevin), who have developed a new keyboard case for iPhone — with a few caveats.

The two have founded a company called Clicks Technology to develop iPhone cases with built-in physical keyboards. 

The effect is to elongate your iPhone to the degree it resembles the dimensions of an old TV remote, but it does have a couple of advantages. As well as (hopefully) allowing you type faster and with fewer typos, it will also reclaim screen space taken up by the virtual one. iOS treats Clicks like a Bluetooth keyboard, meaning the virtual one simply doesn’t appear on screen.

But it isn’t Bluetooth. It connects via USB-C or Lightning, drawing power from the iPhone without a battery of its own, which gives you backlighting for typing at night. 

Did you know that using a Bluetooth keyboard enables shortcuts? You probably didn’t, but they’re here and working too: CMD + H will take you straight to the homescreen, while CMD + space will open up search. The company says more functionality will follow with a dedicated app.

So those are the positives, what about those caveats mentioned earlier? The first is the price. This will set you back US$139 plus US$20 for shipping to New Zealand. That’s around NZ$256 on top of how much you already paid Apple.

The second is that only three iPhones are supported at the time of writing — blame Apple for subtly changing handset dimensions each year. You can pre-order one for iPhone 14 Pro with a Lightning connector (shipping February 1), or models for iPhone 15 Pro ( mid-March) and 15 Pro Max with USB-C (early spring). 

The third problem is that the case doesn’t have built-in magnets, and that means MagSafe accessories won’t stick to the iPhone very well. That said, wireless charging should continue to work. 

Clearly, some people will go for such an accessory, but probably not very many. For a while, Samsung sold official cases with physical keyboards for Galaxy S models, but ended that experiment with the Galaxy S8 back in 2017.

For me, typing on the iPhone 14 Pro is good enough for short-form writing, and that’s really all I need. If I want to write a blog post, I’ll wait and do it at my computer — but actually, the iPhone’s Slide to Type is good enough in a pinch. The other day, I wrote 300 words of a blog post on Google Docs in about ten minutes while stood waiting for a train. Turns out you can do anything if you put your mind to it, though it’s not going to replace my PC any time soon… 

Alan Martin
Alan is an experienced and versatile writer with the unique distinction of having written for both The New Statesman and Nuts. The list of publications Alan has written for doesn't stop there. His work has also been published in: Wired, CNET, Gizmodo UK, ShortList, NME, TechRadar, The i, The Independent, The Evening Standard, City Metric, Macworld, Pocket Gamer, Expert Reviews, Coach, The Inquirer, Rock Paper Shotgun, Tom's Guide, T3, PC Pro, IT Pro, Ideal Home, Livingetc, Stuff, Business Insider, theBit, Wareable, and Trusted Reviews. Alan now covers a range of subjects for ReviewsFire, with a focus on news - his unique style of covering technology news is a key part of ReviewsFire's success.

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