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An iPhone with slide-out keyboard?

A Taiwanese site that's had its share of legit Apple product leaks says Apple is deciding among three iPhone 5 prototypes for the final product to be shipped this year. One of them is an iPhone with a slide-out keyboard.

Would Apple really add a slideout keyboard after pushing the virtual kind on its iPhone for so long?
Would Apple really add a slideout keyboard after pushing the virtual kind on its iPhone for so long? CNET

Would Apple really consider a slide-out keyboard for its next-generation iPhone?

So goes the latest rumor. A Taiwanese blog,, says it has its hands on information pointing to three different models being considered for final production as the iPhone 5, expected to be released this summer (here's a Google Translate link).

One has a physical keyboard that slides out, and another is said to be like an iPhone 4 in styling but with a longer-lasting battery and a better camera. The upgrade from an iPhone 4 to that model of iPhone 5, according to the report, would be similar to the modest improvements from iPhone 3G to iPhone 3GS.

Obviously the report is to be taken with a grain of salt or two, but the site has gotten some reliable leaks in the past. It's been wrong too, according to Apple Insider.

Steve Jobs has expressed his distaste for physical cell phone keyboards in the past. When the original iPhone was introduced in January 2007, Jobs told the MacWorld audience that Apple chose to use a multitouch virtual keyboard in lieu of a physical one, in part because once a keyboard is put on a mobile phone, it's there forever and hard to change the buttons to work with different applications.

Not that Jobs has never changed his mind before. But Apple is also carrying the banner for all things touch-related, which likely extends to iPhone keyboards for the foreseeable future.