A physical keyboard would be going backwards, but I understand the need for buttons. For those just making the transition, it's a leap of faith that they will grow acustom to typing with nothing but a flat surface beneath their fingers. But that's goingto be what everything is heading towards. Everyone needs a little push.
Personally, I think not offering that option of a keyboard was a smart move by Apple. However, Apple needs to step up a little to keep with other features that should have been included from the beginning.