Should Apple Offer a See-Though Keypad iPhone?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on March 30, 2009

Apple has always been able to spot promising new technologies, often already used by others, and to use them to create new products with tremendous mass-market appeal. If you’ll recall, Apple was not the first to create a highly capable touch-screen smartphone that could be navigated with a finger. LG had beat Apple to the game with its Prada cell phone. But it was Apple’s iPhone, offering some of the same functionality, that’s captured popular imagination.

That makes me wonder if Apple could next do something with the coolest innovation in touch screens today: see-through dial pads. LG just introduced its GD900, a phone with a transparent keypad that can also function as a mouse. You slide your finger around the keypad to move the cursor.

The technology seems to be the perfect solution for Apple. Many of its iPhone users in the U.S. are asking the company for a physical Qwerty keyboard. But CEO Steve Jobs has repeatedly said that the company will never release anything as mundane as a physical keyboard. The see-though keypad seems to be a solution that could satisfy both parties. On one hand, haptic feedback the keypad offers should make the experience similar to typing on a regular keyboard. On the other hand, Jobs & Co. will have harnessed a cool new technology to get there. Would you buy a device with a see-though keypad? Would it improve the iPhone experience for you?

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Reader Comments

Andrew

March 31, 2009 03:13 AM

sorry to burst your bubble, but the technology that LG "introduced" was already used by Sony.

It was a similar product that merged a keyboard and mouse together as an adapter for their PS3 controller...

J

April 6, 2009 02:21 AM

but it seems LG introduced it on the phone first.. and it is transparent..

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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