Friday, January 5, 2024

Clicks Hardware Keyboard for iPhone

Juli Clover (Hacker News):

BlackBerry fans that miss having a physical keyboard on their smartphones may want to check out Clicks, a company that has developed a keyboard case that’s designed for the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro models.

Clicks is showing off its keyboard accessories ahead of CES, and the iPhone 14 Pro version of its keyboard will be ready to ship out in February. The keyboard is priced at $139, with an iPhone 15 Pro version coming in mid-March and a $159 iPhone 15 Pro Max version set to release in the spring.

The Clicks Creator Keyboard is available in “BumbleBee” yellow and “London Sky” gray, and it adds a small physical keyboard to the bottom of an iPhone. Clicks says that the case design is meant to “feel like a natural extension” of the iPhone, and the keys have been designed for ideal click resistance and feedback for fast and accurate typing.

I am one who still doesn’t like software keyboards—and likes clicky keyboards—but it already feels like my iPhone 15 Pro is too big, so I can’t imagine adding this to it unless I were away from my Mac a lot more. I hope it’s a success, though.

Ben Schoon:

By eliminating the on-screen virtual keyboard and moving that to a physical keyboard below, usable space on the iPhone is nearly doubled, Clicks says.

John Gruber:

I don’t know how much I’ll wind up using it but it looks fun, useful, and clever — and I’m just a sucker for upstart indie hardware projects. Clicks is even a great name. There’s no Bluetooth involved — it connects via Lightning or USB-C, just like any hardware keyboard can via a cable. If you’ve never connected a hardware keyboard to an iPhone before, you might be surprised how many keyboard shortcuts there are (Command-Space for Spotlight, Space and Shift-Space for paging down and up in Safari, Command-H to go to the Home screen, and more.)

Adam Chandler:

I’ve been an iPhone user since 2007 so 17 years and in those 17 years, I still cannot type as fast as I did on my Blackberry/Treo/Blackjack/RAZR. I really STILL miss physical buttons and detest software keyboards so much that I carry an iPad w/ keyboard with me everywhere and do all texting and messaging on an iPad. my iPhone is purely a consumption device where I triage messages and emails.

I really want this thing.

See also: John Gruber.

Update (2024-02-01): Ben Schoon:

For a case built for this express purpose, the keys are crucial to get right, and Clicks has nailed it, I think. The keys are rounded and have a bit of space in between each one, but the layout overall feels familiar and well done. The keyboard layout is also specifically designed to be really similar to the default iOS keyboard, which makes it feel all the more familiar.

Each key is also backlit and has an excellent tactile response. That’s the aspect I was most concerned about, and while some of the pre-production models were a little rough, the final version that I was able to test during my hands-on (not pictured) felt perfect. It was clicky and tactile without being loud or too hard to press.


In active use, I didn’t really find the size to be a problem, at least on the smaller iPhone size, but it makes an iPhone Pro Max feel quite unwieldy.

Update (2024-02-20): Adrian Schönig:

My Clicks keyboard just arrived and after just a few minutes playing with it I already love having keyboard shortcuts on my iPhone. Multi-item selection by holding the command key is also a time saver.

6 Comments RSS · Twitter · Mastodon

Kevin Schumacher

I said the exact same thing to my husband about this last night--my phone is too big already to add this thing.

That said, I absolutely *loved* my Motorola A630. And I'm pretty sure I had the LG enV at one point, too.

Speaking of things that make me positive about tech.

Not this keyboard per se, I have no problem with software keyboards, but that it's being made. That a new player can enter the market.

Best of luck to Clicky

I can go surprisingly fast with Braille Screen Input despite Apple's best efforts at sabotage, but I'd still be interested in this, sure. It seems only fitting that all that is old is new again. Also that, although there is clearly a lot of scope for improvement, iOS is now actually in a place where people feel good about actually doing any kind of document composition, even if it's just well-written email.

Michael, you wrote that you like clicky keyboards. In the mechanical keyboards world, there are 3 major types of switches: tactile, linear and clicky. Did you mean that kind of clicky? As in, each keystroke makes extra noise in addition to the tactile feedback you feel through the fingers? I suspect maybe not, and believe tactile might be what many prefer?

While no on-screen keyboard will provide as good a typing experience as a physical keyboard, I have no problem with this on my iPhone—certainly not enough to consider adding an accessory like this. Maybe if I were writing some extended text, but that’s just not something I ever do on my phone.

@bOli I just meant clicky in terms of mechanical vs. membrane. I’m OK with extra noise but don’t prefer it, and I really dislike it when it’s a sort of ringing noise like with the Matias Tactile Pro. Mainly, I like to be able to feel when the key has been pressed. For an iPhone keyboard, I would probably want something that feels like an HP 48 calculator.

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