iPhone Keyboard Dock

Posted: December 26, 2010 in Apple, hardware, iPad, iphone, iPod
Tags: , , , , ,

One of my Christmas gifts from my family was an iPad keyboard dock. Before you make the assumption that means I have an iPad, I should tell you I don’t.  I do however have an iPhone4 and spend quite a bit of time using and abusing it, which means like anyone who has an iPhone, I spend a fair bit of time cursing at the tiny onscreen keyboard.

To test it out, i’m typing this blog post on it and I have to say so far, i’m loving the feel of the keyboard. Its a smallish keyboard, but feels like a full-sized one when typing probably because the keys are the same size as the MBP I am used to typing on.  Sure a few of the keys are in different places, and for some reason the command and control keys on the left side are bigger, but nothing that I couldn’t get used to after a few minutes of use.  There are no function keys across the top (the little F1 through F12 on the bottom right corners of the top row), but instead have a few more iPad/iPhone specific keys to take their places. Volume and playback controls, a keyboard button and a strange looking little flower which must have some specific ipad function but does nothing on the iPhone, and a search button.

Also, where the esc key normally resides is a home button which is proving to be very handy being as double clicking it allows you to multi-task, although the lack of an esc key may prove to be a pain for some programs, much like the missing function (fn) button is causing me grief when typing and looking for a forward delete.

The dock itself causes the iPhone to sit a little high and seems a bit wobbly because of it. There should be a small riser available to give support around the dock connector for iPhone/iPod use. I have tested it out on the 3G, 3GS and 4 versions of the iphone, all running iOS4 and each has worked well. Except for the fact you have to remove the case from the iPhone to make it fit.  I’m surprised there isn’t more room between the dock connector and the back support since I imagine many iPad users would have cases on them as well which would cause the same problem.

The dock when plugged into a USB power adapter will charge the idevice, and there is a line out headphone size jack on the back beside the standard idevice connector.  I plugged in a mini-audio cable to see if the signal will work as an audio out when connected to the TV but it didn’t, although it seemed to want to being as the screen displayed “Dock Connector” as the output.  I need to try plugging it into a set of speakers, but we don’t have any at home at the moment.  When plugged into my MBP I did however get the message stating that it was not supported by the iPhone, which confused me a bit.  I have the iPhone sitting on the keyboard dock which is now connected via USB to the MBP.  I can sync the iPhone and it is showing it is charging so what else is it supposed to do?

The keyboard dock does not work as an external keyboard when plugged into the MBP, but thats not too surprising, although it would have been cool if it did.  Regardless though, the styling of it is very much Apple with the smooth clean lines and one piece aluminum, which seems very rugged.  I’ll have to let you know how it holds up to abuse and mis-use.  The support or dock portion of the keyboard is very well constructed and molded into the aluminum keyboard in such a way it feels like one solid piece.

All in all, its very cool – I can see it working quite well for when I want to type an email, write a blog, or just have an easy place to put the iPhone when not in use and let it charge, etc.  And besides, it’ll be even handier when I get my 2nd generation iPad which Apple will probably be announcing very shortly, and more than likely, i’ll be standing in line to purchase.

tcg

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by thatcomputerguy. thatcomputerguy said: New blog post… iPhone Keyboard Dock http://bit.ly/fZvF1J […]

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