PerceptDev has achieved a feat that, it claims, is cheaper and more reliable than any similar attempt to date. While the iPhone ships with a virtual keyboard built inside every application that requires typing, some people (for one reason or another) love the idea of working with a physical keyboard on the Apple handset.
“A number of industrious individuals have achieved what to some is the holy grail of iPhone accessories: an iPhone keyboard,” reads a post over at Perceptive Development. “But most have done it in a very hard-to-repeat manner, and few have shared the methods they used.”
Reportedly, PerceptDev engineers Zack Gainsforth and George Dean have expanded on their audio port modem and were able to come up with a hardware-and-software solution that allows infrared keyboards (various models) to be used for typing on the iPhone. According to the same post, the team of two used less than $20 worth of electronics to touch this somewhat of a landmark for iPhone hackers.
“Zack created a modified version of the microcontroller firmware used for the audio port modem, expanded to detect an infrared signal or read from a USB host controller, then read the data transmitted by an attached keyboard and convert it to an FSK signal for transmission to an iPhone,” the detailed development process is explained. “George then modified the iPhone application to interpret the keyboard data and display the appropriate characters on-screen.” According to PerceptDev, the schematics and source code will be available along with the release of iPhone hacks.
OK, Softpedia note time! While some may consider the idea ludicrous, simply getting the physical keyboard to work with the iPhone is reason enough to do it for “industrious” fellows such as Zack and George. You can bash the feat all you like (in the comments), we have no problem with that. Just remember that experiments such as these give devices like the iPhone new purposes. Tell you what: instead of looking at this like just another useless hack, why don't you try and picture a scenario in which a keyboard-enabled iPhone could potentially be useful. Then post a comment.
iPhone keyboard - no Jailbreak required, using 2.0 SDK