By Andrew Liszewski
Not a fan of touchscreen keyboards but love the UI on the iPhone? Well now you can have the best of both worlds with Ion Audio’s new iType keyboard. I’m hesitant to call it an accessory, since it’s considerably larger and heftier than the iPhone, but that’s the price you have to pay I guess if you want a standard size QWERTY keyboard. (At least until Apple lets the iPhone work their wireless Bluetooth keyboard.)
With the iPhone mounted in the ‘cradle’ the iType reminds me a lot of Epson’s old HX20 portable computer, but slightly more functional. And I say slightly because thanks to Apple’s restricted SDK the iType can only be used with a custom app from Ion Audio. Not the iPhone’s native applications. So anything you’ve written or intend to write has to be copied and pasted into the app you need it, which is unfortunately a big drawback to the device.
The iDiscover Keyboard is essentially the same idea as the iType, but instead of providing a QWERTY keyboard you get a set of 25 piano keys in which to compose your mobile opus. Like with the iType it works exclusively with the company’s iDiscover Keyboard iPhone app, but it does include audio out connections and a headphone jack and can apparently even double as a MIDI controller for your PC.