MARCH 7, 2020


I recently bought a mechanical keyboard and I've become obsessed with the idea of attaching my phone to it and creating a little miniature word processor that I can take with me wherever I go.

I don't know why it's been so hard to find a solution that will let me do that, but it certainly has. Maybe it's because when the iPhone came along we all forgot how good keyboards felt and simply never looked back.

I think about the weird iPhone keyboard that tried to make happen. Or the way that Kim Kardashian was laughed at for holding on to her Blackberry in the age of all-screen devices.  

Part of the reason that I love the idea of putting my iPhone in a little mount behind a mechanical keyboard has to do with the way it would make the phone a secondary device. It feels so rare for that to be the order of things, these days. The phone, or the tablet or the computer — it's always primary.

I’ve made my dream come alive by putting the keyboard on my lap and the phone in a little stand. It’s not the same, but it reveals why I want this strange setup. Just a minute ago while writing, I got distracted looking out the window and watching cars go by. In a typical circumstance, I may have returned from my daze and idly swiped over to Twitter without even thinking about what I was doing. With a keyboard in the primary spot and the phone itself pushed behind, my mind was drawn back to the act of writing words.

Pairing a clunky mechanical keyboard to the iPhone impairs the phone in delightful ways. If you pick it up and try to, say, type an app's name into Spotlight, you'll realize that the software keyboard isn't going to pop up. You'll be forced to slowly type 'T-W-I-T' out on the physical keyboard like a weirdo, and the payoff of the distraction isn't nearly as rewarding or instanteous.

How often would we be better off moving our devices to a secondary space?

Would it make the central nature these devices hold less central, or less convenient?

I’m going to build my weird keyboard setup and find out.