Apple's iconic iPhone was almost released with a physical keyboard. Apple reportedly considered the phone design before finally deciding on the handset's touchscreen-only form factor.
Tony Fadell, who was previously Senior Vice President of the iPod division of Apple, talked about the early days of the iPhone during a recording of On The Verge. Fadell worked with the company for 18 generations of the iPod and the first 3 generations of the iPhone. In 2010, he started his own company, Nest, which makes smart thermostats.
According to Fadell there were three versions of the iPhone in the works: an "iPod + iPhone, a device called the iPhone, and then finally the iPhone we know and love that was released in 2007. Fadell, who worked on the iPhone through the iPhone 3GS said he was personally in favor of the touchscreen-only design.
While Apple was a pioneer in iPhone's original design, it's a design that many smartphone makers have decided to follow. The vast majority of smartphones made today are also touchscreen-centric, offering only a few buttons and a virtual keyboard rather than a physical one.
During its initial launch, many people were upset that Apple had chosen to not include a physical keyboard on the iPhone, paving the way for a few accessory makers to even make cases that added a keyboard the phone.
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