iPhone 4 features bluetooth keyboard pairing — could it function like a tablet for non-iPad owners?

I’m writing and posting today’s update entirely from my iPhone. No, I’m not tapping on the touch screen, but comfortably typing on my shiny wireless keyboard.

In my excitement over the new 720p camera and iMovie for iPhone 4, I somehow overlooked a feature I had actually been hoping for since the first-gen iPhone; Bluetooth keyboard pairing. As both a writer and a college student, a super mobile writing setup has been near the top of my wish list for a long time.

Currently, I’m sitting at a coffee shop with the iPhone propped up on my wallet (who needs fancy stands?), headphones streaming Pandora, and the brushed aluminum keyboard resting gracefully, awaiting my utterly insightful keystrokes. Ok, it looks cool, but I admit it’s not a perfect setup. Especially since the screen angle isn’t very adjustable with my improvised stand. But I rarely need to look at the screen while typing, so it’s actually working quite well. And since there’s no virtual keyboard that pops up while the wireless keyboard is paired, more of the document is visible, taking advantage of the whole screen.

So, what’s the advantage of this setup over just a laptop? Well to be honest, not much. This is my first time using it, and the novelty factor is still in full effect — I’m sure I’ll still use my laptop in most circumstances. But the freedom of being able to write and post anywhere I want (well, anywhere with 3G) is, one has to admit, very cool. It also takes up a smaller footprint on small tables, such as classroom desks, and I’m looking forward to taking notes with this setup this Fall semester. And as someone who bikes just about everywhere, the bluetooth keyboard weighs next to nothing on my back compared to a laptop.

I’ve heard from half a dozen aficionados that since getting their iPads, they’ve used their laptops anywhere from half as much to 90% less. I can’t verify that they’re not exaggerating, but it does make sense. Most of what the average person does on a computer requires minimal processing power — web browsing and e-mails — and yet would be greatly improved by a better user interface — a touch screen.

And I admit to being wrong in my early assumption that very few people would purchase the iPad, and that it’s just an expensive toy. To me it still is, but after talking with iPad owners about the device and how it fits into their lives, I now at least get it.

But I’m far too cheap to buy an iPad.  So since I’m holding out on buying a tablet, I’m curious to see if I can do the same thing with the iPhone. Now that I can pair a physical keyboard, and with rumors of iWork coming soon for the device, it makes me wonder how much is possible within the bounds of this 3.5 inch screen.

For the next few days I’m going to replace as much of my computer use as possible with the iPhone and keyboard. This will be impossible at times, since I’m shooting a wedding tomorrow and will need to import the footage, but most of what I do on my computer is simple writing, web browsing, and checking e-mail. Whether I end up getting frustrated and giving up, or being pleasantly surprised, I’ll post updates here in the coming days with my thoughts on the practicality of the setup. So stay tuned these next few days, and while you’re at it, why not subscribe to the RSS feed? ;)


4 responses to “iPhone 4 features bluetooth keyboard pairing — could it function like a tablet for non-iPad owners?

  1. raegoble

    so… i actually really enjoyed reading this. and kindof lusted after the new iphone. that’s all.

    • Jedd

      It’s a pretty slick piece of technology. But I think with the new OS you can now pair keyboards with the 3G and 3GS, too, if that’s the feature you’re wanting.

  2. Pingback: iPhone 4 + Wireless Keyboard « jedd writes

  3. Pingback: Interesting enough to link to « jedd writes

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jedd goble

Cinematographer of Two Story Films. I'm passionate about film and the way that stories can shape the world and change our perspectives.



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