Late 2006 MacBook Pro keyboard versus the new unibody models

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Jessica Lares, Oct 31, 2009.

  1. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    #1
    What's the difference between the two? Is the new one thinner than the old? Is the connections the same? Etc, etc, etc?

    What I would like to do is maybe take out the original keyboard and replace it with the newer model, along with the new trackpad. Is this possible, or no? I don't care if the material is different, but I'm just wondering if it'd actually work?
     
  2. mrsir2009 macrumors 604

    mrsir2009

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    #2
    The keyboard would be impossible because the keyboard on the Unibody is built into the Unibody. As for the trackpad it might be possible...
     
  3. Jessica Lares thread starter macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    #3
    They sell it here: http://www.powerbookmedic.com/Top-C...embly-for-MacBook-Pro-15-Unibody-p-17233.html

    Which is why I was wondering. I'm not going to steal someone's and put mine on it, hahaha. I heard someone was able to put in an extra hard drive too. Just want to do something as it's out of warranty and I want it to last me another five years before I buy a new one. Have taken PCs apart and was able to open this machine easily the other day, so hey, why not do a bit of upgrading?
     
  4. iBookG4user macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

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    #4
    I do believe that it would be impossible to replace the trackpad, as I believe that they use different connections. As for adding a second hard drive, that is possible, although you have to take out the superdrive to do so. You'd want to use the optibay. And if you haven't already done so, maxing out the RAM would help you see an appreciable difference in performance.
     
  5. mrsir2009 macrumors 604

    mrsir2009

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    #5
    Yes, if you can do without the superdrive you can add another hard drive. It would also help maxing out all the specs you can, like RAM.
     
  6. Jessica Lares thread starter macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    #6
    Okay, now I see. I can put the keyboard prior to the newer models instead of the current one I have now.

    And yeah, of course I knew about the RAM thing. I was just wondering what I could do as to upgrades. I'm not going to spend $2,000 again as the machine is in working order. When the MagSafe stopped working, we opened it up and redid the wiring and added some electrical tape instead of paying the $80 to replace it.

    The keyboard isn't broken by the way, it's just the paint is in an unreadable state and the trackpad which is hardly used gets stuck a lot. I was just wondering if when I do get the money to replace my adapter, get an extra hard drive/upgrade the current 120GB, and upgrade RAM, what were my options with the keyboard.
     
  7. EndlessMac macrumors 6502

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    #7
    You might want to try one out before you even think about doing so. The new keyboards have the chiclet style flat keys and the surface material is the smoothest I've ever had on a keyboard. Because of this I'm finding that it's a little harder for me to type as fast and as accurate as I did on previous keyboards I've used. The chiclet style keyboards don't have cupped indents on the keys since they are flat surfaced so I find it harder to hit the center of the keyboard based on feel consistently and with the smoothness sometimes I slide more off center.

    What is interesting is that the Apple mini wired external chiclet keyboard I have for my desktop is made out of a more textured material and I find it easier to type on. It's not that much more textured but that little bit helps me. It also has a cushier feel which I also like better. The new MBP keyboards aren't bad but I personally wouldn't say they are the best keyboards I have ever used. Of course everyone has their own opinion as these are just mine so your preference may vary. That's why recommend you try them out before you take all that effort to get one...that is if it's possible.

    Just to name a few keyboards I've used are my Titanium PowerBook G4, Apple's old non flat external keyboards, Kensington SlimType, Microsoft ergonomic, Macally IceKey, Dell laptop keyboards, and Apple's new external mini chiclet keyboard. My PowerBook G4 is my favorite. The flat key surface is actually somewhat similar to Dell's laptops I've used which has only a slight cup shape. I never really like those keyboards too much either. Anyway it is a person preference choice and only you can make that decision.

    As for the trackpad. I really do like it. The glass surface is very smooth so my fingers don't stick like it did on my PowerBook. The one button whole trackpad clicking took a few minutes to get used to but it was easy once I did. In the system preference you can make function like a two button trackpad which I kind of do anyway because old habits are hard to break. ;)
     
  8. Jessica Lares thread starter macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    #8
    I've used the new keyboards, we have them at the college I go to, so are you saying that those are different to the ones on the newer MacBooks? Have used the soft Dell ones, they're nice.
     
  9. EndlessMac macrumors 6502

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    #9
    You posted this reply while I was typing. If you just want to replace your current keyboard because it has problems and you are not doing it because you have a thing for the new chiclet style keys then it might be possible if you can get parts from either broken laptop or a cheap used one of the same model.

    I don't know about your keyboard but the keyboard on my PowerBook was removable which meant that it probably was replaceable if I had a spare. I never did replace it so I don't know for sure. The new unibody keyboards are "built-in" as mentioned by someone.

    As for your trackpad problem, if you use your laptop mostly on a table or flat surface then you can plug in an external mouse and use that instead of your trackpad. With an optical mouse you can even use on your bed or any non-reflective surface. It would be cheaper and easier than trying to replace/fix the trackpad. I don't know if the trackpad is replaceable but it might be fixable.
     
  10. EndlessMac macrumors 6502

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    #10
    The new externals are a little different than the MacBook Pro laptops as I have mentioned above. I don't know which one you've used. Like I said it's a personal preference.

    The Dell laptop I'm using is an older one so I don't know if they have changed them since then.
     
  11. Jessica Lares thread starter macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    #11
    I have a thing for the new keyboards, which is what I was on about in the first place. There's a link in one of my posts, I found the part.
     
  12. Jessica Lares thread starter macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    #12
    Talking about these:

    [​IMG]

    And yeah, DELL ones I used were in 2003 and they were nice and soft.
     
  13. EndlessMac macrumors 6502

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    #13
    Okay I miss that part of this thread. The link says compatible with unibodies only so you might be out of luck.
     
  14. EndlessMac macrumors 6502

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    #14
    I have the mini version of the external keyboard (without number pad) for my desktop and it is pretty nice, but like I said it is a little different than the unibody laptop version.

    I mentioned the difference between the two in my previous reply but to sum it up quickly the external keyboard is softer and has more texture to its surface. Those two differences makes a real difference for me. If you have access to a unibody MacBook Pro somehow then you can try it out for yourself.

    Of the two I prefer the external keyboard over my unibody MacBook Pro so you might be disappointed if you did end up getting the unibody keyboard somehow.

    edited to add:
    What you can do is buy the external keyboard and plug that into your laptop USB port. That's probably the cheapest and easiest way to use that keyboard on your laptop. Put the keyboard on your lap or something and it might just work out for you. The problem is that you lose the portability but if you are at a desk most of the time then it might not matter.
     
  15. EndlessMac macrumors 6502

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    #15
    This morning I just tried plugging in my desktop Apple mini keyboard into my laptop and then placing it right over my laptop keyboard. It works really well this way and it doesn't seem to press any of the keys underneath.

    I think this is probably your best way to use the new external keyboards with your laptop and make it feel pretty close to being integrated into the laptop. You can even still use your trackpad this way but with you trackpad issue you probably want to use an attached mouse.
     
  16. Jessica Lares thread starter macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    #16
    The problem with that is that I use my external and have my iPhone plugged in at the same time. I would use a hub, but don't they actually add a bit of bulk to the system when doing so? I'm an audio engineer (well, I took the courses anyway), and this was the other issue I was thinking of before buying Pro Tools, the fact that I'd have to stick the mixer on one side, the iLok on the other and then nothing else. The external keyboard would be the big issue for me because I'd have no ports left, or does Firewire still work?

    I just need a Mac Pro in the end. :rolleyes:.
     
  17. EndlessMac macrumors 6502

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    #17
    Hubs come in all different sizes so you will have to decide if they are too bulky for you. Also some devices require you to plug the USB into the main port but things like keyboards and mouses should work from a hub. FYI apple's external keyboard has two USB ports underneath the keyboard. Most hubs aren't that expensive so you can try them out and see if they work for you.

    Also if you have nothing connected to your Firewire port then it will be free to use but not all devices are Firewire enabled. Some devices can use either USB or Firewire so you might want to check your devices. You can also get Firewire hubs too.

    Yes, that might be the way to go. ;)
     
  18. iBookG4user macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

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    #18
    Have you considered a USB expresscard adapter like this?
     
  19. Jessica Lares thread starter macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    #19
    That looks nice! Wish they'd make it a bit MacBook like, but that'll do.

    And oh, I forgot about the two USB ports on the keyboards, but would this effect OS X in any way? Like CPU/RAM usage?
     
  20. EndlessMac macrumors 6502

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    #20
    I completely forgot about the expresscard port. Good call on that one iBookG4user. :)

    It shouldn't really effect your computer unless you have something plugged into the keyboard ports. I haven't noticed any problems on my desktop using the keyboard.
     
  21. WardC macrumors 68030

    WardC

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    #21
    One is silver and one is black. The new keyboard on the unibody are much like the keyboard on the regular MacBook with the low-height flat keys. I tend to like my keyboard on my 2007 MacBook Pro much better...
     
  22. EndlessMac macrumors 6502

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    #22
    They are pretty close except as I have mentioned the MacBook Pro keyboard is a little stiffer and a little slipperier than the external keyboard. I prefer my PowerBook keyboard but of the two new keyboards I prefer the external one better. It has a nice soft feel to it.
     
  23. Jessica Lares thread starter macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    #23
    Yes, but what I was basically getting at, are they the same height/width of the ones in the previous models? Do they connect differently, etc? People have said that I simply just can't switch the two out, even if I did order the parts.
     
  24. WardC macrumors 68030

    WardC

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    #24
    Keyboards (with photos)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Sorry for the super-large images...

    You can clearly see the two keyboards are vastly different. They are not even compatible with each other. There are more differences than just the key height and color, which I previously mentioned. You can't interchange the two.

    The keys on the keyboards are actually different. Look at the function keys, and look at the "enter" key to the right of the space bar on the 2007 MBP. That key isn't even existent on the new unibody models, as seen in the photo.
     
  25. Jessica Lares thread starter macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    #25
    Then why is it possible to have this one then? As explained here: http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=2009050515550079

    [​IMG]

    I do notice (and thank you for those pictures) that the keys section is a little bit wider, which I was getting at. I was just wondering if the new ones are a bit thinner and if they'd either overlap the casing or be too small, that and the differences on the two or three connections hook up to the rest of the machine. The trackpad doesn't seem to have changed at all, except the bottom part. I can't tell if the speakers are smaller considering it's not a 15".
     

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