There's a scene in the movie BlackBerry, released just last year, in which Glenn Howerton, who plays former BlackBerry CEO, Jim Balsillie, goes absolutely ballistic at the reveal of the original Apple iPhone. That marked the beginning of BlackBerry's rapid demise – and he knew it.
If only he had a crystal ball, eh? I think Balsillie would be rather impressed by this impressive new iPhone accessory (and, no, it's not yet another iPhone 15 Pro Max case) that can upgrade your Apple phone with a real, physical keyboard attachment. It's called Clicks for iPhone and it does exactly as its name describes: brings a tactile, clicky typing experience to iOS.
Clicks for iPhone is designed for the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Pro or iPhone 15 Pro Max (the previous iPhone 14 Pro with Lightning connector rather than USB-C is also supported) and you can pre-order from $139 right now ahead of its projected 1 February on-sale date. It'll be available in either BumbleBee (yellow) or London Sky (you guessed it: grey/dull) colourways.
I'm in no way suggesting that BlackBerry is involved in this venture, mind, which is the brainchild of long-time YouTube successes Michael Fisher (MrMobile) and Kevin Michaluk (CrackBerry Kevin), working alongside an experienced mobile team to make this product happen.
Far from being a gimmicky iPhone accessory, Clicks for iPhone cleverly attaches to the host Apple phone through the USB-C or Lightning port, where it can act as a physical keyboard, avoiding the on-screen virtual keyboard from popping up and providing more screen real-estate to users at all times.
The designers have even implemented Clicks for iPhone with keyboard shortcuts and dedicated task keys that integrate with Apple's iOS's functionality. Pressing the command (CMD) key in conjunction with a given key can quickly navigate to homescreen or launch search, while the physical space bar can be used to scroll.
Clicks for iPhone doesn't need charging separately, as it draws power from your Apple device. When it gets dark there's a dedicated keyboard backlight so you can easily see what you're doing (or, if you're retro like me, you'll revert back to old-school speed-thumb touch-type mode), and when you're done with using the keyboard it's simple to remove as a single piece.
Clicks for iPhone is going to utilise the world's largest technology show, CES 2024, as its launch platform – which kicks off next week, from 8 January – with its founders looking to capture the imaginations of audiences old and new. So whether you're pining for that retro BlackBerry-like keyboard experience on your iPhone, or this physical keyboard idea looks like a design of the future for your needs, I suspect it's going to be one of the show's big successes.