Until the iPhone came along with its multitouch interface, virtually every cell phone known to mankind had a physical (typically plastic) dialing keypad, if not also a more complete QWERTY-style keyboard, to bang out e-mails and text messages. The iPhone dispenses with both.

The iPhone removes the usual physical buttons in favor of a multitouch display. This display is the heart of many things you do on the iPhone, and the controls change depending on the task at hand.

Unlike other phones with touchscreens, don't bother looking for a stylus. You are meant, instead — at the risk of lifting an ancient ad slogan — to "let your fingers do the walking."

It's important to note that you have at your disposal several keyboard layouts in English. The layout you see depends on the app you're working in. For instance, the keyboards in Notes differ from the keyboards in Safari:

  • Notes: All these keyboards are variations on the alphabetical keyboard, the numeric and punctuation keyboard, and the more punctuation and symbols keyboard.

  • Safari: These keyboards are similar to the keyboards for Notes, but including symbols most often used for this particular application.


What's more, if you rotate the iPhone to its side, you'll get wider variations of the respective keyboards. This figure shows an example of a wide keyboard in the Notes app.