A new iPhone keyboard case called Clicks aims to satisfy longtime Blackberry fans by bringing physical QWERTY keys back to Apple’s handset. Clicks slots onto iPhone 14 and 15 models, connecting via either Lightning or USB-C depending on the iPhone version. It drew mixed reactions at CES 2023 this week.
Keyboard Case Triggers Wave of Nostalgia
For those who fondly remember the days of scrolling through emails and texts with a physical keyboard, Clicks promises to evoke nostalgia. The case features rounded keys reminiscent of legacy Blackberry designs. It aims to deliver a better typing experience than iOS’ standard on-screen keyboard.
|Physical QWERTY keyboard
|Rounded keys like old Blackberry devices
|Battery built into case
|Up to 30 hours of use per charge
|Full iOS shortcut support
|Use keyboard shortcuts found in iOS apps
For those less enthused by physical smartphone keyboards, Clicks has drawn some critiques. TechCrunch dismissed the accessory, stating most iOS users won’t look back after adjusting to on-screen typing. Some comments say Apple already “conquered” Blackberry years ago by popularizing all-touchscreen iPhones.
Creators Leverage iPhone Accessory Ecosystem
Clicks arrives as a growing iPhone accessory ecosystem caters to niche demands. The company behind Clicks aims to reach former Blackberry users who still prefer physical keys. Recent examples like camera controller Halide Mark II and music production app Sector indicate a lucrative iPhone accessory market.
Apple maintains strict control over core iPhone hardware. But MFi-certified Lightning and USB-C accessories offer opportunities for customization. For example, the Shiftscreen second screen case essentially adds a MacBook-style Touch Bar. Camera controller Moment sells smartphone lenses with manual controls.
|Other iPhone Accessories
|Halide Mark II
|Advanced camera controller
|Audio production app & accessories
|“Touch Bar” second screen
Accessory creators likely see potential in Apple’s estimated 100 million iPhone 14 users. By comparison, Blackberry has not manufactured its own phones since 2016. The niche keyboard case aims to serve lingering Blackberry fans unwilling to give up physical keys.
What’s Next for Clicks
Early reactions indicate an uphill battle for mainstream success. But niche iPhone accessories have seen loyal user bases. For example, camera apps like Halide have received high praise in pro photography circles.
Clicks’ lightweight plastic design keeps costs low, possibly attracting some pragmatic users. Its QWERTY layout even supports iOS shortcuts. If receptiveness grows, we could potentially see Clicks iterate with premium metal builds or trackpad accessories.
Of course, turning back the clock too far could undermine innovations like large touchscreens and software keyboards. iPhone owners today expect an all-screen, pocket-sized design. Still, for those still clinging to tactile keyboards years later, Clicks offers a dose of nostalgia. It caters to a passionate, if not huge, user base unwilling to give up physical keys.
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