ISO non-chiclet keyboard with powered USB ports

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by hakr100, Mar 11, 2014.

  1. hakr100 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Location:
    East Coast
    #1
    I’m on a quest to find a new, full-sized wired keyboard for my late 2013 series iMac, one that has USB 2.0/3.0 ports that supply power to plugged in devices.

    I simply do not like the flat, chiclet keyboards Apple is providing these days. I like the old-fashioned keyboards, like the “Tactile Pro” Matias sells. But the Matias keyboard’s USB ports do not supply the power necessary to charge an iPhone, and I require that ability, too.

    I’m not trying to save a buck or two here. If the Matias keyboard’s USB ports were capable of charging my iPhone, I would have bought one by now, and they sell for about twice what the full-sized Apple wired keyboard sells for. Curiously, Macally makes some cheap keyboards that have keys I like, but, again, its USB ports are not powered.

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040

    FreakinEurekan

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2011
    Location:
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    #2
    I've never seen a keyboard with a powered USB hub. All that I've ever used are bus-powered, which means they won't be useful for charging.

    Maybe there's one out there, but if I were you I'd just find a keyboard you like, and get a small powered hub (if you need multiple ports) or a short USB extension that leads back to the iMac directly if you just need one port.
     
  3. hakr100 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Location:
    East Coast
    #3
    The Apple wired keyboard has two USB ports that will charge up my iPhone and not give me error messages that tell me the iPhone is not charging. Unfortunately, the Apple wired keyboard's keys are chiclet keys, and for an old-time touch typist like me, just plain lousy.

    Apple used to have a decent keyboard, incidentally. And then it went to the "flat" style. I guess it was more...stylish. :D
     
  4. RMo macrumors 65816

    RMo

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    #4
    Apple's keyboard uses the same trickery that iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch use to request extra power. Standard USB 2.0 can provide only 500 mA at 5 V; Apple added the ability to request 1100 mA, which lots of iDevices do. The Apple keyboard can also request this from the computer. In this case, the Apple keyboard can put out up to 500 mA on either of its two ports if an attached device requests it (but not both at the same time: the other is limited to 100 mA in this case, and presumably the keyboard itself uses most of the remaining power). See https://support.apple.com/kb/ht4049.

    I think it is unlikely that you will find another USB keyboard that implements Apple's non-standard USB extensions--I'm sure any other keyboard will act like a hub and will only be able to distribute the 500 mA it can request from the host across any of its ports, minus some power for the keyboard itself. Of course, USB 3.0 devices can request more power, so if anyone knows of a USB 3.0 keyboard with a built-in hub, it should be technically possible there even in a standard implementation. That being said, since there is no (other?) advantage I can think of to a USB 3.0 keyboard, I doubt anyone will make one any time soon. Most hubless keyboards aren't even USB 2.0.

    I'd say your best bet is a USB hub, most likely externally powered if you charging needs require it (though I have an iPhone on the cheap AmazonBasics 4-port USB 2.0 hub along with a couple other low-power devices, and it's fine unpowered).
     
  5. hakr100 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Location:
    East Coast
    #5
    Thank you for that terrific, detailed explanation. I never had any notion of any of it. I've not had much luck with unpowered USB hubs in terms of them working properly with i-devices.
     

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