A student in a "globalized world". I hope Apple can help me with my new purchase.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by igmolinav, Aug 9, 2007.

  1. igmolinav macrumors 65816

    Aug 15, 2005

    First of all, sorry about the silly title of my post. I don´t like it. I just wanted to try to catch your attention for a second in the best possible way.

    I called the Apple store on 5th Ave. in New York and asked about
    buying a new Mac Book with a different language keyboard - the "swiss" keyboard. They said they couldn´t help me with that matter and suggested to call customer service. Customer service was a bit busy and I decided to write this post before I go to run some earrinds.

    I need a new Macbook with a "swiss" keyboard. The keyboard for
    Switzerland integrates the three official languages (italian, german, french), which are languages that I use.

    I am also working part time to go to China next year. I have found a wonderful girl who is helping me for free to learn the language. So it would also be very helpful to get a keyboard with chinese characters to start to learn to write the language.

    It would be so cool and helpful to be able to order what one needs without any major hassle. I need to have additional language options for my keyboards. Hopefully, Apple will help me : ) !!!

    Thank you very much,

  2. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Hi, and welcome.

    1) Getting the Swiss keyboard -- you can do it. You just can't pick it up at the store, for two reasons: (1) they don't really customize Macs at the store, and (2) it's not like they carry a stock of every non-US localization keyboard. Even the online store only by default lets you get the Western Spanish or US/English localizations. I'm sure, however, that you can get the CH one if you call Apple and order via phone for direct shipment.

    2) Have you considered using Pinyin entry or another phonetic system to enter Chinese characters? They really work quite well, many Chinese people use them themselves, and I'm not so sure that having a Chinese keyboard will particularly facilitate you (I use kotoeri for Japanese). The other thing is that swapping back and forth between the Swiss and the Chinese keyboards, I think, is not super trivial. On the iBook, this was extremely easy -- a 1-2 minute affair, with no real need for tools. I think it's more complicated on the Macbook. So, while you can change it, I don't think you'll want to constantly swap back and forth.

    In the end, OS X is very good at integrating functionality for inputting alternate languages at the software level. It's probably not a realistic solution for you to constantly change keyboards to get the perfect experience for each language. If the Swiss languages are your primary usage, then get a CH keyboard, and then use Pinyin to enter Chinese. If you really want to get better at Chinese, get a Wacom tablet and use handwriting recognition software.
  3. pianoman macrumors 68000


    May 31, 2006
    I suggest ordering online and buying an external keyboard for whatever extra languages you want.
  4. amoda macrumors 6502a

    Aug 9, 2006
    Can't add anything more than what mkrishan said but i just wanted to give you kudos for being quadlingual maybe even pentlingual soon. That's a pretty great achievement.
  5. igmolinav thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 15, 2005

    Thank you very much to all your help.

    Yes, I own an ibook now. So sweet and compact, and one can fairly easy change the keyboard. Unfortunately I´ll have to sell it to buy the new Mac Book. I need to work faster with Windows and the virtual PC can be a bit slow with the ibook. (I only have 512 Mb of RAM, so I don´t know if to have a "faster" virtual PC depends on having more RAM, say 1 GB that is the maximum for the ibook).

    I will call the apple store and I will ask them for the "swiss" keyboard. My chinese friend says she´ll show me a keyboard with "chinese caracters" the next time we meet, that is next week. Tentatively, a keyboard with chinese characters would be used as additional keyboard, however I would like to check out the Wacom Tablet.

    Do you think the Wacom tablet could easily recognize characters like: "ä, ö, ü, ç", (or as easy as the chinese characters) when they are hand writen on the tablet ??

    Thank you,

  6. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    1) Virtual PC will be faster with more RAM but it will still be dog slow compared to Parallels, VMWare, or Bootcamp solutions on a Macbook.

    2) I was wrong about built-in handwriting recognition... sorry.... It supports English/French/German (so you get your accent characters, and you can do this by just plugging in the tablet and turning on inkwell in sys prefs), but it doesn't seem to support Chinese out of the box. I think there are threads here discussing other options.

    3) I still think you should ask her to show you Pin-Yin... don't get too far ahead of yourself. As you understand, even with a Chinese keyboard, it still is not like the actual characters you'll be using are on the keyboard, since there are far more characters than space on the board. Here are resources for Pinyin in Simplified and Traditional.

    If you really want an electronic device that can recognize handwriting, a very parsimonious solution might be to get a handheld that does Chinese.
  7. vhardono macrumors newbie


    Oct 22, 2005
    I ordered a new iMac from Singapore Online Apple Store and would like to have a Swiss German keyboard as well.

    Tried to call the Apple Online and send e-mail, but they said that is impossible to do:

    Unfortunately, we are not able to change your keyboard language type as it only comes in a standard type. If you wish to switch the language, you can configure the setting to enable you type in other languages.

    Do you have any idea where can I bought the CH keyboard
  8. duskdawn macrumors newbie

    Aug 2, 2007
    I might not be able to help you with other questions but as a Chinese I tell you 99% (if not all) of Chinese keyboards come with American letters only. We use exactly same keyboards as English speakers. There are no such thing in 21st century called Chinese keyboard. Most people use Pinyin to type characters, super fast and easy.

  9. Ugg macrumors 68000


    Apr 7, 2003
    Is there some kind of overlay you could use? Like laptop protectors?

    I type in German sometimes and while I've mostly gotten it memorized, I always have problems finding some of the symbols.

    What would be great too would be something I could print out and tape above my computer.
  10. igmolinav thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 15, 2005
    Thanks to all for your help again !!!

    I'll also be trying to get the overlay and to write onto it.


  11. igmolinav thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 15, 2005

    By the way, where can I get this overlay, is it also possible to buy it online ??

    Thank you,


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