I'm so very close to buying an iPhone but one thing is holding me back. I can't work on a device where the keyboard obscures over half of the screen. I need a device I can write with. Articles like this. Web pages. Pocket guides. Things that involve hundreds or even thousands of words and that I can do just fine on a small screen if I can bloody well see what I'm writing.
Do you mind if you can only read one line of text on your computer when you write? Of course you do. And whatever Koolaid-soaked idiocy may currently be circulating, it's stupid to have things that way on an iPhone. The happy, bouncy, anticipating virtual keyboard app that the iPhone includes is very cute, but it's terrible for real use. And, in fact, tests have now shown that people typing on the iPhone are reliably slower and more error prone than users of other handheld devices. iPhones can be used with a stylus; it's time that somebody did a keyboard app that is optimized for one.
So if you're a programmer and want your chance to get a popular app out on the iPhone, write a nice, practical virtual keyboard app. One that is only fifteen or twenty pixels high, one that plays well with other apps, adjusts well to shifting from landscape to portrait, and chooses readability over cuteness. And price it at five or six bucks. Don't make it free. The people who will want such an app will be the ones like me who value our time and productivity and won't mind paying a few bucks. I guarantee that as long as the conditions above are met and it's stable to boot, you'll make some real money. Leave extra features for the second release. We'll be perfectly willing to buy a new version with math symbols and multiple typefaces and the ability to do skins, but don't delay your product to do this. Get your app to market as soon as you possibly can.
Mark my words, the person who does what I say will get money and market position and respect and thousands of others will be sitting around spouting crap about "I coulda bin a contendah" because they waited too long so they could add dozens of frills to show how clever they are.
Don't be clever. Be smart. Write the app. Test the app. Sell the app. I and many other people will thank you.