Apple’s iPhone has never had a physical keyboard. But if a current Kickstarter project is able to get off the ground, you may be able to add one.
The project is called Physibo. Which, as the company notes, is a play on “physical keyboard.” And it’s essentially an iPhone case that adds a physical QWERTY keyboard to Apple’s flagship handset via Bluetooth.
To put it another way, it’s an iPhone accessory for users who are nostalgic about their Blackberries or other late-aught smartphones.
According to Physibo’s Kickstarter page, the keyboard case offers a number of benefits over traditional touchscreen keyboards, such as typing accuracy and speed. Physibo also says that the keyboard is “Blind Touch enabled,” suggesting an accessibility angle.
Since it’s actually a case, it offers some type of drop protection, too. While the company says it’s thin and lightweight, it points out that the case “passed” a six-foot drop test.
Of course, there are some apparent issues with the keyboard case. There’s no getting around the fact that it adds an extremely large “chin” to an otherwise pretty bezel-free device. For many people, an iPhone XS with a Physibo case may just be too long to be practical.
Interestingly enough, Physibo seems fairly realistic about their product. “If you’re fine with screen touch, you don’t need a physical keyboard,” the company said in its Kickstarter listing.
The company says that they’re making Physibo cases to fit iPhone X, iPhone XS and iPhone 11 Pro. That suggests that it’s pretty much only for the 5.8-inch form factor, at least at this point.
It isn’t clear if Physibo is only producing a single case to fit all three devices. If it is, there may be compatibility issues with the slightly larger and thicker iPhone 11 Pro.
Unfortunately, the odds of the project actually being funded on Kickstarter don’t look great.
As of the writing of this article, the project has 19 backers and a total of $1,382 in pledges with only eight days to go. Since this isn’t IndieGoGo, Physibo will only get the cash if it reaches its goal of $200,000.
But if it doesn’t, there’s still a chance that it could enter production somehow. If you’re interested in the project, you may want to keep an eye on its website and social profiles for future updates.