Thoughts on the new Apple keyboard

Apple Keyboard

Lana went all the way to the Southampton Apple Store at the weekend, just to buy me the newly released Apple keyboard. That’s why I’m marrying her. The fact she was also going there for her hen party is just mere coincidence 😉

The keyboard is one aspect of Apple hardware I’ve never been entirely happy with. I’ve owned the black keyed version which came with the G4 PowerMac range and both the wired and wireless versions of the most recent design. In all cases I’ve struggled with the rather heavy nature of the key action, and also the way they seemed to be too closely packed together for my hands. Hence I was immediately interested in the new keyboard when it was surfaced on Engadget, and then announced last week.

The concept of putting a laptop style keyboard into a standalone form-factor is genius, and the thing really is unbelievably thin, but at the same time very sturdy. When you put it side-by-side with the old keyboard it makes the old one look positively obese. It’s truly a triumph of design. However, with any keyboard, the proof is in the typing. I must admit that I’d always looked at the keyboard style of the current Macbook range with some skepticism (and hadn’t really spent any time using one) compared to the more traditional laptop keyboard design of the MBP and the Thinkpads I’m used to using at work. Despite my earlier comment, the spacing between the keys just didn’t look natural. However I pleased to say that it works like a charm and my typing on the new keyboard is smooth and quick. There is a satisfying feel and response to the keys, and you certainly don’t get the feeling that you have to press them down hard like I did with the old style Apple keyboard.

I went for the wired version for the extra keys (most notably a numeric pad) and simply because I have no need to go wireless. Aesthetically, I have to say that the new silver and white design, whilst probably made to look good with the new iMac, works very well with the older one with the silver of the iMac base and white of the main unit matching the base and keys of the iMac perfectly. Check for yourself:

Apple Keboard with iMac

Apple have released a software update for OS X 10.4.10 (the minimum supported level for the keyboard) which adds support for some of the new buttons for Expose and Dashboard. Some people have complained that some functions have moved F-keys, but I don’t find this to be an issue. I’m also particularly please that the Apple key has been officially labelled as “Cmd” as I always struggled with remembering that Command=Apple.

Overall, I’m very impressed. I’m seriously considering buying a couple to use in work…

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