Typo, the Ryan Seacrest-backed iPhone keyboard, has returned with an iPhone 6 keyboard it says is designed to avoid incurring the legal challenges that forced the company’s first product off the market.
“We’re still in an ongoing litigation with them,” CEO Laurence Hallier said in an interview, declining to comment further.
As for the new product, it serves a similar purpose — to give the iPhone a physical keyboard — but uses a new design. Hallier said the physical keyboard layout is modeled on the iPhone’s own software keyboard.
The Typo 2 keyboard for iPhone 6, which sells for $99, started shipping last week. (An iPhone 5/5s version is also available for $79.)
Although the keyboard blocks the iPhone’s Touch ID feature, Hallier said that the Typo’s core base would rather have the fingerprint sensor blocked and be able to more easily tap out messages.
Typo is also working on a new kind of iPad keyboard, though that won’t be out until next year, Hallier said. The company didn’t offer full details, but shared a couple of images with Re/code. Hallier said Typo has spent two years working on it and invested over $2 million on the design.
“It’s a completely different take on a keyboard for the iPad,” he said.
Hallier said the company tried some iPhone 6 Plus designs but found its already considerable dimensions made an add-on keyboard quite the challenge.
“We designed one, but the phone is so big, it makes it top heavy,” Hallier said. The company is working on a new design, but doesn’t expect it to be out until the middle of next year.
Hallier said that Typo didn’t start out as a company.
“it was really just Ryan and I wanting to have a keyboard on our iPhone,” said Hallier, who has spent most of his career building various types of taxicab advertising.
However, the company has grown and now has about 20 employees, with its engineering efforts based in Taiwan. The company has sold thousands of Typo keyboards, he said, reaching 84 percent of the Fortune 1000 companies. One law firm in New York, he said, has mandated the Typo for their iPhone-touting lawyers.
“They make a lot less mistakes, and the mistakes they make aren’t accidental wrong words,” Hallier said.