I have an unwritten rule that I will not talk about the iPhone until I actually own one, though I have mentioned the adverts for the device and had a go at MacWorld.
Currently someone is trying to sue Apple for patent infringement regarding the ‘keyboard’ on the iPhone. I don’t think it will get very far. Apple has some claim to ‘prior art’ with the ‘keyboard’ that was part of the Newton interface. If anyone can send me a link to a picture of it on screen, I’d appreciate it.
The patent that is claimed to be infringed was registered in 2000 but that is not the point, it’s irrelevant as far as I can see, interface or interaction wise.
The QWERTY lay out was invented by C.L. Sholes in 1870 something. It was designed to stop the most commonly used keys from striking each other. Which certainly has a greater claim to prior art.
I don’t understand copyright law in this context but can you imagine a situation where every keyboard manufacturer has to invent their own layout to avoid copy right infringement? It’s a pretty nasty thought. I still have to search around for an @ key on a PC and RDM has pretty good take on that, and the silly ‘Windows Key’.