It is hard to imagine, but a former Apple engineer is saying that the original iPhone almost had a physical keyboard. Previously we had heard that there were prototypes which included physical keyboards, but that Steve Jobs quickly vetoed that idea in favor of a higher tech solution.
Tony Fadell, the former SVP of the iPod division at Apple and a member of the team working on the original iPhone says that it happened differently. He says that the Apple team seriously considered having a physical keyboard as part of the original iPhone design, though he personally didn’t want that.
He didn’t say whether it would have been a slide-out keyboard or a portrait QWERTY like BlackBerry phones. Fadell also said that there were three main prototypes that were considered. One was an “iPod + Phone”, a device that was called the iPhone, and then the iPhone that was actually released in 2007. The iPhone might have been completely different had they made a different call. Eventually it would have been ditched and we would have what we have now I’m sure.