So I bought a new Apple Keyboard this week. Well, last week. I actually bought it the morning it was announced, straight off Apple’s online store. Because I’m just that cool. And it arrived on Wednesday.
That’s what it looks like. Only bigger. But just as flat. You see, this keyboard is very very low, and very very thin. It’s pretty much a sheet of aluminium with buttons. There’s nothing much underneath it, apart from the plastic backing and the moulded bar that raises the top of the keyboard up to create the keyboard’s slope. This bar also serves a second purpose – it houses two USB 2.0 ports, one at each end. The keys are all square (apart from the function keys), and are also very low, jutting out of the metal like little flat stones.
Despite the low profile, I’m finding the new keyboard quite easy to use. Being so low, it actually results in the desk becoming a wrist-rest. This is much kinder to the arms than the old style keyboard, which kept the wrist suspended – something I found quite uncomfortable over long stretches of time.
I’ve also found that the keyboard’s layout has made a noticable difference to my typing speed. The keys, being similar (identical, even) to those found on MacBooks, don’t require too much pressure to register, so I’m able to fly over the keys much faster than on the traditional styled keyboards. My typing is also marginally more accurate. As you can see in the image above, the keys jut out of the aluminium sheet, each in its own little hole. This means one of the biggest issues with keyboards – that of rogue crumbs, hairs and bits sneaking under the keys and hiding – is solved. It’s near-impossible for anything to get under the keys, so cleaning should be much, much easier.
My one problem is with the new special function keys. The keyboard’s F3 and F4 buttons now activate Mac OS X Tiger’s Dashboard and Expose functions, and F7 to F12 control various media functions (an important selling point for me). F1 and F2 control the screen’s brighness settings. The media and screen brightness features work. They’re no problem. But the Dashboard and Expose keys don’t do what they ought to, even after the updated keyboard software is installed. Though I haven’t often used these keys in the past, and probably won’t in the future, this is an obvious problem, and one that’s been experienced by others as well as myself. I assume that this problem will be addressed in a future software update.
My verdict? Excellent. The new Apple keyboard is much more user-friendly than the older style Apple keyboards, and all other traditional keyboards I’ve used. I find it quite efficient, and the media keys are very useful – they’re something I’ve been looking for since I got a Mac. Though there is that slight problem with the other function keys, I don’t find them to be a serious issue, so haven’t in any way degraded the experience for me.
So, if you’re in the market for a new keyboard, have a Mac, and aren’t averse to a slab of (nicely designed) metal sitting on your desk, I highly reccommend taking a look at the new Apple keyboard.