Third Party Keyboards w/ Apple Support

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by gwohl, Jul 19, 2007.

  1. gwohl macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2007
    Location:
    Fairfield, CT / Bloomington, IN
    #1
    Hi guys,

    First post here, long time lurker. This place has a plethora of knowledge for Mac newcomers like myself. I just wanted to say hi and thanks for the wonderful information!

    So, until about two years ago I was a dedicated Gentoo Linux user. My box used a wonderful keyboard - a classic IBM M Model keyboard with extremely clicky keys and a fast response. The thing had no Windows key, either! (A definite plus :D). When I decided to go Apple and pick up a MacBook Pro, I made every attempt to use this keyboard with my laptop. I bought a third party PS/2-to-USB adapter to plug this ancient keyboard in, but found that the keyboard wasn't as functional as I thought it would be. For starters, the keyboard lacks the apparently necessary third operator key (in this case, I believe that by default it is the "option" key). More importantly, however, the keyboard is unable to process two different keystrokes at once. Now, for those who don't understand the necessity of this function: Imagine you're playing a computer game, such as Quake 3 Arena, where you wish to press both up and left, in order to move diagonally-left. With this IBM keyboard plugged into my MBP, this is not an option; it will only process one key at a time. I have been able to tolerate this for a while, but it is getting bothersome.

    So, the two issues I mentioned must be fixed. However, when searching for a new keyboard, I found none that were both Apple-compatible AND had a similar feel to the elite IBM keyboard. I am willing to pay a good deal more than I should have to ($100?) in order to replace the feel of this IBM keyboard with a more modernized version with Apple-ready functionality and features. I would like the ability to hold down two keys at once, preferably, as I do love to break out Quake 3 Arena every once in a while during a lunch break.

    If any of you MacRumors veterans could help a newbie out, I'd be ever-so appreciative. I hope that I can have this issue resolved so that others in my situation may be able to find a guiding light as well. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. iMeowbot macrumors G3

    iMeowbot

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2003
    #2
    The Matias Tactile Pro is probably the closest you'll find to your model M. Not exactly the same type of spring, but the Alps-type switches have the same sort of clackety deal going.
     
  3. blackstone macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #3
    I second the recommendation of the Matias. It doesn't have the same feel as the IBM Model M, but the ALPS keyswitches are the same as the old Northgate keyboards, which had a bit of a lighter touch. Clickety-clackity bliss!

    If you're dead-set on buckled spring keyswitches, then you should also take a look at Unicomp, Inc., which manufactures USB keyboards that are essentially identical to the Model M. I don't think they offer them with Apple keys, but they'll work just like any other PC USB keyboard.
     
  4. gwohl thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2007
    Location:
    Fairfield, CT / Bloomington, IN
    #4
    Thank you to both iMeowbot and blackstone for responding to my thread!

    I appreciate the recommendations greatly. The other thing I like about the Model M is that the keys are a bit wider than most modern keys. Most modern keyboards feature keys that slant a bit thinner towards the top. I like the liberal amount of space that the IBM Model M offers.

    I have grown very used to the feel of this keyboard, and perhaps it would just be best if I lived with this keyboard until it finally ceases to work. I am not sure if paying $100, without even receiving the same "feel" as this current keyboard, is worth it. I suppose I should look into the Matias and read the reviews. Does this company generally have a good track record in regards to build quality and customer service? Those are very important things to me...

    Thanks again for the help, guys!
     
  5. blackstone macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #5
    I know that my Matias is considerably more sturdy than any new keyboard I've seen -- it has a decent heft and feels pretty solid. That said, it is not a tank like the IBM Model M. With a Model M, I feel like I could probably use it as a blunt force weapon without damaging its functionality. I can't say the same of the Matias.
     
  6. xsphat macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2007
    #6
    I just got a Model M for free, went to RadioShack and bought a $15 adaptor and I haven't stopped typing on it since. I have read that these keyboards draw a lot more current than the crappy ones of today, so you may have burned out the adaptor right away. Try a better one before you scrap that awesome old keyboard.

    I just wrote a blog post about my experience, check it out:

    http://boundup.wordpress.com/
     
  7. mavherzog macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2005
    Location:
    Columbus, WI
    #7
    You simply need one of these. The cheapo ones won't do.
     
  8. Jake-1 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    #8
    Keyboards and adaptors

    The Matias Tactile Pro 2 isn't a very good keyboard, which I discuss here, but the Unicomp Customizer is a modern IBM Model M, as discussed here, complete with explanation about remapping keys for Macs. That's the one you want if you're going to avoid the hassles of lacking a command key and needing a specific adaptor.
     

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