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Old Aug 20, 2004, 04:45 PM   #1
TigerPRO
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Apple's New Keyboards

Does anyone besides me NOT like Apple's new design for their wireless and cabled keyboards? It's really not new, in fact, I think it was quite some time ago they revised them. But I find myself slightly irritated with this new batch of keyboards. It doesn't have nearly as much to do with appearance as it does functionality. Because I actually really like the looks of them; the clear glass/white color scheme, and really nice keys.

The difficulty I'm having is with the "edgeless" style. As you can see from the picture, the new keyboards have nothing but a thin piece plastic rising from the edges to "enclose" the keys. The problem I'm having with this, is whenever I go to pick the thing up, I'm accidentally pressing keys (especially eject & escape). Because there is no edge on the thing to grip it by. This is not a minor complaint, because for me, it literally happens almost every time I pick the thing up. Not if all you do is let it sit on your desk, then you probably aren't bothered by this, but if you're using the wireless model, and you like to pick it up, and use the thing remotely, it's infinitely irritating. And to make things worse, the edge is even a little sharp. I realize they where probably trying to do good by shrinking the size of the keyboard, but what is an inch or two compared with dreadful functionality?

Another practical downfall, is the fact that they left a huge space open to the bottom of keyboard on the right side. Making it very simple to drop and loose something in there. But the final issue I'm bothered by is the new location of the keyboard USB hub. Moving the ports to the back of the keyboard was a poor idea. It was so easy before to just plug right into the side of the keyboard. But now you have to stand up and look behind the keyboard to find the slots. And now you need more depth for the keyboard because you'll have your USB plugs protruding from the back. It was much nicer before when your USB cable fit elegantly into the inlets at the top.

I don't want to be a complainer, it's just disappointing when Apple takes good designs of looks and functionality, and turns them into failures. I wish there was a way to let Apple know about these shortcomings. It's like, for most companies they are constantly trying to reach a good design, whereas Apple usually already has one, they just are throwing them away. And they don't know it! It's frustrating sometimes.
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Old Aug 20, 2004, 05:51 PM   #2
Lincoln
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Thumbs up

I remember when the new "pro" keyboard came out. I think it debuted with the emac (even though the emac started out with the older design) and initially everyone assumed that it was a cost-cut to keep the price of the emac down. But surprise, surprise it became the new standard Pro keyboard!

Eventually I wanted an external keyboard for when I had my 12" RevA Powerbook. I tried and tried to get one of the older design's no-one had any left, I tried to get exdemo ones and I was willing to pay full price. I had to get one of the new ones. So I settled on the new design eventually.

As far as typing goes, the new keyboard is excellent BUT it is god awful to look at and I agree about the lame placement of the USB ports. The bit of plastice above the cursor keys looks like an afterthought too!

I just hope Apple have a re-think on their keyboards (don't get me started on the Apple Mouse!).
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Old Aug 20, 2004, 06:06 PM   #3
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And the winner is...

I have one of each. The older (black keys) is, in my opinion, a fabulous design. Imagine my disappointment when I ordered another one for my Windows machine at work and got the current keyboard. For the price, I felt like I had just been handed a cardboard keyboard. The keys respond fine, but the smoothness of the key shapes, the placement of the USB ports, the wide open "drop crumbs inside me" face, and the lack of those smooth, clear edges really made me wonder how Apple could take such a huge step backward.

Now - I believe there is a company out there that has licensed the design of the older (better) model. I believe it's called the "tactile pro" keyboard. If you're in the market for a new keyboard, I'd do a search and consider ordering one of these. I know I will when the time comes.

John.
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Old Aug 20, 2004, 06:11 PM   #4
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I have a Wireless one, and I actually like it. Yeah, it gets dirty, but that's not too bad of a problem. I don't really like the placement of the USB ports (on the wired ones), because you usually have to lift them to plug something in. Grrr.
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Old Aug 20, 2004, 06:18 PM   #5
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I love the old black key pro keyboard... best keyboard I've ever used. When my old one stopped working, I found two on ebay. So now I'm set for a while .
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Old Aug 20, 2004, 06:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iMax531
I love the old black key pro keyboard... best keyboard I've ever used. When my old one stopped working, I found two on ebay. So now I'm set for a while .
That's a good idea... I don't like the new G4 iPods (features are great, but I don't really like the style of the Click Wheel), so maybe I should buy some G3's on Ebay, because I like them better.

The black ones were the best, imo.
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Old Aug 20, 2004, 06:52 PM   #7
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Here is a link to the keyboard that jsalzer mentioned:

http://halfkeyboard.com/tactilepro/index.php

Price is a little high if bought direct at $99 + $20 shipping, but might be well worth it. (They have a 30-day money back guarantee)

{UPDATE}
OWC has it for $78.99 + shipping:
http://eshop.macsales.com/Catalog_It...&Item=MATFK102

Last edited by bshelly; Aug 20, 2004 at 06:57 PM.
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Old Aug 20, 2004, 07:05 PM   #8
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Best Apple keyboard

imho, the best Keyboard from Apple was the old ADB Extended keyboard. That thing was built like a tank and had the best keys. I still have 3 of them... Since then I've had every Apple keyboard and none of them come close. The worst was that blueberry compact keyboard. Fine for the imac I guess, but bad for any serious work. I have the black keyboard, is it different from the white one? I though they were the same, just different colors. Anyway, I just replaced the black one with the icekey. I think it has better ergonomics and is a whole lot quieter. Just wish they made it in a titanium or aluminum look though. White seems really dumb for a keyboard, since its the easiest device to get dirty and the most difficult to clean.

If your looking for something that is like the old extended, Matias makes a keyboard that has the same key switches. But it basically looks identical to the new Apple keyboards...just better keys. It also clacks just like old one.
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Old Aug 20, 2004, 07:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsalzer
I have one of each. The older (black keys) is, in my opinion, a fabulous design. Imagine my disappointment when I ordered another one for my Windows machine at work and got the current keyboard. For the price, I felt like I had just been handed a cardboard keyboard. The keys respond fine, but the smoothness of the key shapes, the placement of the USB ports, the wide open "drop crumbs inside me" face, and the lack of those smooth, clear edges really made me wonder how Apple could take such a huge step backward.

Now - I believe there is a company out there that has licensed the design of the older (better) model. I believe it's called the "tactile pro" keyboard. If you're in the market for a new keyboard, I'd do a search and consider ordering one of these. I know I will when the time comes.

John.
The black keyboards use membrane switches for the keys. The Matias uses the old Alps mechanical switches. I think the key travel distance is the same...but the feel is different.
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Old Aug 20, 2004, 07:19 PM   #10
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Convex Row

You know, I think what I appreciate the most about the older keyboards is how the keys on the bottom row are convex instead of concave. Even the Tactile Pro doesn't have this. It's a little thing that alters the entire user experience.
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Old Aug 20, 2004, 07:44 PM   #11
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I wish I could buy one of the PowerBook keyboards and use that as my primary keyboard. They are the best, in my opinion.
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Old Aug 20, 2004, 09:32 PM   #12
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I actually prefer the new keyboard over the old Pro keyboard... The old one hada nice design, but it felt rather flimsy, especially the support arm. The new keyboard feels much more solid, plus it matches the iMac's look better.
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Old Aug 20, 2004, 09:46 PM   #13
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Right on wide! It's simply the best keyboard I have ever used. And yes, that includes the ADB Extended that I sue on my Beige G3!
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Old Aug 20, 2004, 09:47 PM   #14
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I loved the Ice-White Pro ones, but I also truly love the Bondi Blue one the most. I don't know why... it just seemed sporty and for some reason I am getting all nostalgic for the late 90s. I'd use it if it matched my eMac, and sometimes I pull out my old iMac just as an excuse to use the mouse and keyboard.
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Old Aug 20, 2004, 09:52 PM   #15
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Another vote for the black pro keyboard. These new pro keyboard are minimalist to a fault.

As far as the best keyboard, am I the only one who loved the B&W keyboard with the mini F keys?
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Old Aug 20, 2004, 10:11 PM   #16
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I have to say that I like the current Pro keyboards the best.

The only problem is that they tend to have dust build up under the keys. All I do is run the vacuum cleaner over the keyboard 'bout once a month, keeps them nice and clean.

The other problem, and the one that pisses me off the most, is the length of the wire, someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think they are only like 2.5 feet (~0.75 meters). I like to have the keyboard on my lap when typing papers and stuff, but now I can't do that. I wish Apple would lengthen it, or at least include an extension, even if it is proprietary.....
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Old Aug 20, 2004, 11:46 PM   #17
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Personally, I love the new keyboards. The only gripe I have is the color. There's nothing more appealing than to sit down at the keyboard and know exactly where to put your fingers because of the the little dark spots from your fingers showing up. I know that the black keys would be getting just as dirty, but at least I wouldn't see it all the time reminding me.

Maybe I'll just need to get into the same habit I have with my guitar, and wipe it down after each use.
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Old Aug 21, 2004, 12:04 AM   #18
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I really hope next Tuesday sees a new metallic keyboard, both wired and wireless, for the new iMac and availably seperately so I can get one in someting but white.

Wouldn't mind seeing the wired one have illumunated keys...
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Old Aug 21, 2004, 12:06 AM   #19
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I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned the fact the the height of the newer Pro keyboards is not adjustable, as it was with the older ones.

However, aside from this one gripe, I actually like the newer keyboards: minimalist look, and an excellent feel while typing - much more solid feeling than the older ones that everyone seems to prefer.
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Old Aug 21, 2004, 02:37 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aswitcher
I really hope next Tuesday sees a new metallic keyboard, both wired and wireless, for the new iMac and availably separately so I can get one in something but white.

Wouldn't mind seeing the wired one have illuminated keys...
I second that motion for an announcement at MacWorld Paris. They need to make a keyboard complimentary to the G5.

My concern also is having a skin to cover the keyboard for protection. The oil produced by the skin seems to decrease the ability to clean very well.

The illumination would look nice also, somthing in blue.
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Old Aug 21, 2004, 04:05 PM   #21
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my thoughts

1. i was really not happy that they abandoned the Pro keyboard in favor of the new non-adjustable one;

2. i did not like the membrane switches, and if they moved away from them, good. You got them wet, and you were probably screwed...

3. the best keyboard that Apple made had to be the ergonomic split keyboard, which they only made a small quantity of;

4. I actually liked the small iMac keyboards, they packed in function keys but kept it small enough to match the iMac... That said, i've always replaced them with Pro keyboards because i don't have children's hands.

paul
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Old Aug 21, 2004, 05:01 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsalzer
I have one of each. The older (black keys) is, in my opinion, a fabulous design. Imagine my disappointment when I ordered another one for my Windows machine at work and got the current keyboard. For the price, I felt like I had just been handed a cardboard keyboard. The keys respond fine, but the smoothness of the key shapes, the placement of the USB ports, the wide open "drop crumbs inside me" face, and the lack of those smooth, clear edges really made me wonder how Apple could take such a huge step backward.

Now - I believe there is a company out there that has licensed the design of the older (better) model. I believe it's called the "tactile pro" keyboard. If you're in the market for a new keyboard, I'd do a search and consider ordering one of these. I know I will when the time comes.

John.
It appears I'm not alone on this keyboard issue. Thank you for mentioning that "Tactile Pro keyboard", I had never seen it before. If I have the funds, and I ever need a keyboard, that's the one I want to get! But hopefully Apple will redesign the current keyboards soon. I don't doubt that they have already seen there poor design and functionality.

It would definitely be an easy and cool thing for Apple to make the wired keyboards backlight just like the powerbooks. And for the price they are charging for these latest models, you'd expect at least some novel features, and a half decent design. But no, as it stands, it's just an above average quality "run of the mill" keyboard; hardly worth $50.
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Old Aug 21, 2004, 05:35 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexf
I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned the fact the the height of the newer Pro keyboards is not adjustable, as it was with the older ones.

However, aside from this one gripe, I actually like the newer keyboards: minimalist look, and an excellent feel while typing - much more solid feeling than the older ones that everyone seems to prefer.
yeah, I like it too because of the simple look - which is just like apple, and I think it looks good too. in fact, im ordering a wireless keyboard with my powerbook.

I used all types of apple keyboards through my years of school, and I really liked the lastest Pro style better than most of the other ones.
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Old Aug 31, 2004, 10:40 PM   #24
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Matias Keyboard

Has anyone tried the matias tacile pro, is it worth the money? Also does anyone know how loud the clicking is? I am in a dorm now and wondered if it would disturb anyone. think you could mod a keyboard so it would have the backlight keys?
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Old Aug 31, 2004, 10:55 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave__
Has anyone tried the matias tacile pro, is it worth the money?
Definitely yes, if you like the older style of clicky keyboards.
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Also does anyone know how loud the clicking is? I am in a dorm now and wondered if it would disturb anyone.
If you type like most poeple, it would be about as annoying as having someone play with a clicky ballpoint pen. It really, really bothers some folks, others don't care at all.
Quote:
think you could mod a keyboard so it would have the backlight keys?
You can buy keyboards like that. Most of them are cheesy, but HP used to make a nice one that I think has been discontinued.
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