The new Clicks keyboard case for iPhone, unveiled at CES 2024, garnered significant attention for its novel design bringing back physical keys to Apple’s smartphone line. With both millennial nostalgia and productivity in mind, the Clicks aims to appeal to those missing their old BlackBerries while still seamlessly integrating with modern iPhone features.
Hands-on Impressions Praise Innovative Design and Typing Experience
Early hands-on impressions published across several tech sites highlight the Clicks keyboard’s slick and innovative design. The case perfectly matches the contours of the latest iPhone models while adding a tactile QWERTY keyboard reminiscent of past favorites like the BlackBerry Bold.
“The keys have a satisfying click to them when pressed and a surprising amount of key travel given the thinness of the case.”
Meanwhile, Laptop Mag highlights the versatility of the case:
“The case felt natural to type on laid flat, but you can also tilt the screen up and type at an angle more akin to a tiny laptop.”
This ability to adjust between different use cases seems paramount to the Clicks value proposition.
Creator Aims for Perfect Hybrid of Old and New
Clicks Creator founder Jane Wallace notes that her inspiration came from missing the tactile keyboards of older devices while still appreciating the power and capabilities of modern touchscreen devices.
“I loved my old BlackBerry Bold but couldn’t give up my iPhone,” Wallace told CNN. “I still sometimes found myself longing for that physical keyboard, though, so I decided to just combine the two!”
This ethos of adapting old favorites to integrate seamlessly with new devices permeates the Clicks keyboard case design. The case uses the iPhone’s built-in magnets to instantly snap into place or detach. The keyboard itself then communicates using the iPhone’s Smart Connector port – the same interface used by accessories like external storage devices. Wallace notes this should enable an experience almost like the keyboard came integrated with the iPhone itself.
Clicks Aims to Boost Mobile Productivity
While inspired by smartphone keyboards of the past, Clicks Creator clearly designed its keyboard case to enable increased productivity on the iPhone. The tactile keys enable faster and more comfortable typing compared to glass touchscreen keys. The company claims users can type 5-10 times faster on the Clicks keyboard.
CNN’s hands-on review found the productivity claims largely accurate:
“I was able to type significantly faster with the Clicks keyboard attached than when using the iOS software keyboard on the iPhone screen.”
Meanwhile, AppleInsider called the productivity boost “significant” while The Verge notes specifically how the keyboard can enhance emailing from the iPhone:
“If you still do a lot of emailing on your iPhone and have been looking for a more tactile experience, then the Clicks keyboard will undoubtedly improve your mobile typing.”
Physical Keys Meets Modern Conveniences
Even while recalling past physical keyboard designs, Clicks Creator integrates nicely with the iPhone’s modern software and conveniences. The keyboard features dedicated shortcut keys for controls like switching apps and adjusting volume and brightness. The iPhone’s autocorrect, dictation and predictive text features all work seamlessly with typed input as well.
Clicks Keyboard Special Function Keys
|Return to iPhone home screen
|Display open apps to switch between
|Adjust screen brightness
|Control volume up, down and mute
|Activate iOS dictation to speak text input
|Open emoji keyboard overlay
|Launch camera app
|Initiate iPhone search and highlight text for copy/paste
The keyboard charges via USB-C when connected to the iPhone itself and offers an estimated 30 hours of use between charges.
Designed for Work and Play Alike
While including many productivity-focused features, Clicks Creator also very intentionally designed the keyboard case to faciliate more casual use cases. The attached kickstand enables using the phone as a quasi-laptop while gaming or binging Netflix. The Verge and Engadget reviews also note how pleasing the retro design feels for those missing their old keyboard phones.
“It charmingly taps into nostalgia for things like BlackBerry phones with physical QWERTY keyboards” raves Engadget.
CNN similarly highlights the nostalgia element while CNET focuses on the entertainment use case enabled.
What The Future Holds for Clicks
Clicks Creator CEO Wallace notes that the initial launch focuses solely on cases for the latest iPhone models, with the goal of establishing strong sales and feedback before expanding to other devices. Based on initial hands-on responses, demand looks very strong. Several sites muse about an eventual iPad version enabling a true mobile workstation experience.
Wallace herself hopes to eventually expand Clicks cases to Android devices from Samsung, Google and others – though significant differences in size and design pose additional challenges. Software improvements could also enable tighter iPhone integration and more advanced productivity features.
For now, Clicks Creator looks to start taking pre-orders for its iPhone cases within the next month. Given the overwhelmingly positive hands-on reactions, nostalgic BlackBerry lovers, mobile productivity seekers, and retro design fans alike have much reason for excitement. This innovative keyboard case could soon enable a whole new era of physical key typing on modern touchscreen iPhones.
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