External Keyboard With An IPhone


Using an IR keyboard is now possible with a non jailbroken iPhone. The folks at perceptive development have developed a custom interface that connects through the headphone jack.  They had already developed the serial modem, so this was just another step at connecting peripherals. With some smart and small packaging, this could be a nice attachment to keep around. You can see a video of it in action after the break.


[via Gizmodo]

34 thoughts on “External Keyboard With An IPhone

  1. I’m going to save that video of an actual keyboard for later, it’s better to have kids first so you can share in the wonder of seeing a keyboard.

    Seems I’m in a bit of a sarcastic mood today, so this kind of stuff is timely.

  2. “Meh….isn’t this what netbooks are for? Seems a bit unnecessary.”

    I was thinking something very similar. Carrying around a keyboard to access the Iphone kind of defeats the purpose of having such a portable device. One might as well get a UMPC (though I cannot recommend anything OQO makes – their batteries – a proprietary design – are total garbage and the chargers tend to fail, destroying the unit).

    All that said, it’s an ingenious hack and certainly deserves a spot on Hackaday. Nobody said the hacks had to be practical or useful. I settle for “interesting.”

  3. I believe that the iPhone 3.0 SDK is going to open up the dock. Not sure when it’s going to come out officially but I know I’m excited about that. It will also open up Bluetooth.

  4. laptop + cellular 3G PCMCIA card = ???!?

    caleb kraft, you need to quit the gin. next thing you know you’ll post an article about a transformer costume made out of cardboard or something… maybe daft punk… oh wait…

  5. seeing as how I wish for a keyboard for my iphone sometimes, i think this is had worthy. halfway useful and it is actually a hack.

    take a pamprin and get out more if this hack gets your panties in a bunch.

  6. No matter how you look at it, having a keyboard and a phone is alot less to carry than a phone and a netbook.

    Personally I think one would look pretty silly using this kinda thing. People looked pretty silly using the palm keyboard dealieo.

    Either way, to each his own. Frankly I just need a phone to phone. Not a phone to replace my laptop. I might be a bit more inclined to buy a smartphone if data plans were unlimited and offered at a reasonable price. But as it is now(well in canada), my basic local calling cellular plan feels like a rip off.

    Government really has to step in and stop providers from gauging their customers and treating them like shit. It’s ju

  7. a pda-like device and a keyboard has better battery life than any netbook/umpc/hpc I’ve seen… besides maybe the PSION 5mx, but if you can think of an example where this is not the case please share :)

  8. hi folks :) Thanks for the conversation about this; a few points:

    1. We did this as one of the hacks in the up coming iPhone Hacks book, published under O’Reilly and associates.

    2. This was an early video, we have thus solved the latency issue. new video to be released shortly

    3. debates about whether this is commercially usefull are more than welcome! We did it to show how to plug a device into the audio port and do something useful with it.

    4. Yes, It supports music while typing

    5. The 3.0 SDK is certainly interesting, and a big part of the reason we aren’t taking this mainstream. However, there is, as far as we can tell, no HID support for Bluetooth, so A2DP and iPhone to iPhone communication only. There are possibilities with the doc connector now, but its still on an application by application basis.

    Hope that helps.

  9. Now this right here, fantastic little thing.
    Typing on touchscreens can be rather slow, and awkward when you typo because there is no physical feel to “the buttons”. (although quicker to notice since it is pretty much 2 inches from where you are typing)

    Looks nice and compact too. Very handy if you don’t want to get a netbook or PDA and already have an iPhone.

  10. I for one can think of a wonderfully commercial application for this. I hate taking my computer with me when traveling because I often stay in hostels where I don’t always trust locks. I also like to check my email but don’t dare do it on a public computer or at an internet cafe. It’s a pain to type on the iphone long emails (or any smartphone) but if I could get over the screen size this would be great. I’d rather see a smart terminal that would work with all smart phones that internet cafes could buy and it would use my smart phone to store everything and not a computer.

  11. I for one like this. I have been thinking for a while that my particular (Motorola V360) phone needs a bluetooth keyboard. Or some type of keyboard. But bluetooth is insecure.
    My particular thought is that the phone is really low power device that could run off of a car battery for hours if not days. In the event of a disaster, I could be sending out text messages for help much easier on a keyboard.’
    And not to mention texting sucks on a regular phone.

  12. Nice hack guys, very creative using the audio jack, I can’t begin to imagine how you came up with that.

    As for usefulness, I don’t see what everyone is complaining about. Day to day I would think you would use it as a normal smartphone. When you are out of the office (for example, lets say you are at an airport or something) you throw the keyboard in a backpack and you can still get serious work done.

    I honestly think this is the future of where truly mobile computing is going. If I wanted a netbook I would buy a netbook. This is perfect for what it is, and more importantly what it is not.

  13. For some people this might fit right in with there life style. I just don’t think that is the majority.

    Non the less it’s still pretty sweet to see this being implemented through an audio jack. As far as hacking goes I give this two thumbs up. As far as practical use I give it the old one thumb up one thumb down.

    Just my two cents in a little more detail…

  14. Great hack. It’s very encouraging to see. I’m a writer and have avoided buying an iphone because I’m dreaming of something I can use as my phone everyday, then when I go to meetings, away on a trip etc I can plug in a little keyboard and get blogs written, a bit of work done, write lengthy emails etc. I’m hoping this sort of development will lead to me being able to do that soon with an iphone.
    Thanks Perceptive Development.

  15. Why hasn’t a keyboard been produced for the iphone yet? i travel often, and most places do not have free wireless for laptop. I have to respond to 100 emails a day, and it is painful with the iphones crazy touch screen, if somebody knows if there is a purpose made keyboard please respond

  16. While this hack is interesting… I mean, pretty ingenious using the audio jack as a modem… I dream of having a keyboard for my Touch. I travel all the time, and I have absolutely no desire to drag a netbook around with me. If I feel like leaving a little baby keyboard on my motorcycle or in a hostel or hotel room while I trudge around, I can use my Touch for casual communication and surfing with the on screen keyboard. If I intend on making a serious blog entry or long email, I’d stuff the little keyboard in my bag. It blows my mind that iPhone/Touch wouldn’t support this sort of expandability from the getgo. It seems a lot of other things are supported. If Apple is afraid that the iPhone will lose it’s mobile essence, they shouldn’t be. Personally, I’d be excited if people were using my product in a number of different manners.

    Now, if the Touch/iPhone had an alarm that played a playlist instead of the bebarded, irritating beeps, I’d be pretty happy as well. Maybe 3.0 will support that.

  17. Christ what a bunch of whiners. I don’t want to lug around a friggen laptop everywhere I go but I do have my iphone with me. Having an external Bluetooth keyboard is no big deal and a far cry from the weight/size of a laptop. Is that really so hard to wrap your head around? Jesus.

  18. Think of it like this. You’re in class, and you prefer to type notes, rather than write. You whip out the phone and fold out keyboard, and BAM!! Convenience!!!

  19. As a Mac devotee I was hoping the iPhone would take over the functions of my Palm T3 and keyboard. I go to meetings, respond to emails, work on documents away from the office without having to carry (or wait for startup) a laptop. Since the iPhone won’t do it (without hacks like this) I went to RIM. The BB Storm works great with a very nice keyboard, not much bigger than the phone – fits in my pocket fine. I can listen to tunes or radio on my BT stereo headset and answer calls all as I type. I wish I could do all this on an iPhone, but I can’t. I think Apple doesn’t want it to cut into laptop sales.

  20. What?!?!?! aw… its not for sale… sigh… does anyone have any idea on where i can get these items then?

    Shopping List:
    -250 lbs reenforced titanium plating
    -tiny screwdriver
    -large wooden mallet
    -chainsaw (diamond teeth)
    -20th century bottle of milk
    -googly-eyes (not plastic, keep in cooler)
    -4 gallons of mercury
    -hofka’s body
    -japenese person
    -1 dozen mexicans
    -Death Ray tm
    -8 by 8 meter diamond sheet
    -blowtorch that has “green flame”
    -iPhone keyboard
    -industrial strength Goo-be-gone
    -20,000 gallons of bottled tundra water
    -500 gallons of holy-er water
    -monkey wrench
    -a monkey
    -the Monkeys
    -mom’s keys
    -mayonaise (must have been owned by King George I)
    -1 mile re-reenforced titanium
    -cure to cancer
    -colgate toothpaste (make sure its been in outer space)
    -2 1/2 quarts of sulfuric acid
    -14 tube socks
    -40 cloves of garlic (must be stolen from Tom Cruise’s kitchen)
    -3 wooden stakes (that have been recommended by the Pope)
    -1 iphone external keyboard
    -3 wooden sculptings that look like steak
    -book on how to make friends (written backwards, audiobook narration by Salvester Stylone in loud and fast German)
    -54 door nobs (made out of copper and stolen from Nevada)
    -1 elaphent tusk (eddie murphey’s face must be carved into it)
    -ivory soap bar (must have been looked upon by a empethetic conscious-thinking robot)
    -Arc of the Covenant (the movie)
    -Arc of the Covenant (not the movie)
    -21 grains of sand from Antartica
    -french lady’s razor
    -queen of england’s crown
    -a puppy that can in record time disarm a bomb while hummimg Ode to Joy

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