Linked by alcibiades on Mon 9th Feb 2009 15:26 UTC
Apple Lately I bought the Apple Aluminum Keyboard, and thought people might be interested in how it worked out after extended use. It was bought because it is quiet. If your priority is quietness, its far and away the best that's readily available. Tried out in a store you could tell it would do the trick on quietness. It seemed it would probably be OK to type on. But this is something you only find out by long sessions.
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FellowConspirator
Member since:
2007-12-13

The Apple Keyboard has the @, #, and | keys in the same place as any other keyboard (specific to the region model of the keyboard, there are different layouts for different country's default keymaps). For example, here's the US keyboard (note the keys are where they are expected): http://tinyurl.com/keyboard-apple .

Reply Score: 3

REM2000 Member since:
2006-07-25

The author is refering to the keyboard keeping it's USA layout regardless of what country you purchase it from.

For example im in the UK, UK keyboards have the quotes on the number 2 button, however the mac keyboard has the @ symbol on the number 2. It's something im used to and just ignore the button logo.

I love the metal apple keyboard, i use it both at work on my Windows PC and at home obviously on my iMac.

I love it because of two reason, the first is that i can type for long periods of time, i can type quickly and also accurately. Ive found the keyboard hard wearing and also responsive. The two USB ports underneath are also quite handy.

The second reason why i like the keyboard is that it is styled in laptop/notebook fashion, in that the keys are exactly the same as my macbook and the newer macbook pros. Meaning when i swap from my imac to my macbook the keyboard is exactly the same size (key spacing) and has the same key tactile feedback.

Reply Score: 1

jack_perry Member since:
2005-07-06

I'm not sure, but I think the comment you replied to is prompted by this remark in alcibiades' article:

When you decide to use a Mac keyboard you have two choices about key mappings. The first is to arrange the mappings so the keys conform to their labels. This will lead to one kind of irritation. There is no # key label. Keys like `, @ and " are in the "wrong" places. The | key seems to be over on the right, which would be very irritating. These people, you think, must never use pipes or comment their code!


I've never seen a Mac without those keys, or with those keys in "nonstandard" places. The comment requires some explanation: where did alcibiades obtain this keyboard? Did he inquire about the discrepancy? In the US you can by different keyboards: US English, Western Spanish, French, or Japanese. What keyboard variants do they sell where alcibiades lives?

Reply Score: 3

alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

Bought my aluminum keyboard at John Lewis - a department store that is a fairly large Apple dealer.


keylabels on aluminum keyboard

shift+2 = @ and also euro
there is no key labelled #. Promise!
| key is right next to the return, shifted
" is one to the left of | with ' under
tilde is bottom left, next to left shift

keypad

top row goes numlock = / *

keylabels on standard UK keyboards

shift+2 = "
# is right next to return
| is bottom left next to shift, shifted
tilde is bottom right, shifted #
@ is bottom right, shifted, next to #

keypad

top row numlock / * -

Its not a big deal, but this is why you have to choose between having the keys where you are used to them, or having them correspond to their labels.

Edited 2009-02-09 21:01 UTC

Reply Score: 2

jal_ Member since:
2006-11-02

Bought my aluminum keyboard at John Lewis


It would be nice if you told us in which country.

keylabels on aluminum keyboard shift+2 = @ and also euro there is no key labelled #. Promise! | key is right next to the return, shifted " is one to the left of | with ' under


That's where they are supposed to be, if you have a US keyboard. See the tinyurl a user posted on page 1.

From article:
There is no # key label. Keys like `, @ and " are in the "wrong" places. The | key seems to be over on the right, which would be very irritating. These people, you think, must never use pipes or comment their code!


That's an incredibly ignorant remark, given that for me, all keys seem to be in their rightful places. It may be irritating for you to use a US keyboard layout, but to claim that this is the 'wrong' layout is silly at best.


JAL

Reply Score: 1

alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

It is not ignorant at all. I am reporting facts as they are in the ground in the UK. It may be that you are unaware that British English keyboards differ from US English keyboards? Here is a careful explanation of what the situation is.

First, there is only one sort of Apple keyboard on sale in the UK and it is laid out as I describe. I cannot seem to find any large size pictures of it. This is the one on the Apple site:

http://www.apple.com/uk/keyboard/

But this is not the one on sale in J Lewis or elsewhere in the UK. Don't ask me why they do not put up a picture of the variant of their keyboard which is actually for sale in the UK! Why is this not the one they sell?

Doubtless because there is a need for the £ character, this being the currency in use in the UK!

As far as I know, there only ever has been one sort of Apple keyboard here. I have several of varying ages, and they are all exactly the same. They all have no # keycap, and they have a £ keycap which is upper case 3.

This is quite well known, and there is a correspondence about it here:

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=383690.

Second, the US English keyboard is different from the British English keyboard. You can see images of them here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keyboard_layout#UK

The problem is, the Apple keyboards sold in the UK are a thing unto themselves. They are not a pure US layout. Neither are they pure US International. They are closer to a US layout however than they are to a British English layout.

The problem you have, and it is not one of my making, its just the way things are, is that if you have learned to type on what in the UK is a standard UK English keyboard, which is what 95%+ of keyboards in the UK are like, you expect it to look like the one in Wikipedia for the UK in the link above. Your fingers know where things are.

This is why, when you go from a standard British English keyboard to a UK Apple keyboard, you have, as I said, two choices. One is remap the keys, so they correspond to the labels on the caps. The other is to leave the keys where they are, in which case they are where you expect them to be, but they do not correspond to their labels.

Its not a huge deal, but it is an actual fact, and I do not expect to be called ignorant for reporting it!

Yes, your apology is accepted. Thank you.

Reply Score: 3

jal_ Member since:
2006-11-02

Its not a huge deal, but it is an actual fact, and I do not expect to be called ignorant for reporting it! Yes, your apology is accepted. Thank you.


If it were not for the last sentence, I'd've kept quiet, but you do not seem to understand what I was referring to was your remark that "These people, you think, must never use pipes or comment their code!", as if it were impossible to use pipes or comment your code without a UK keyboard layout.

Yes, it is incredibly stupid of Apple to sell a UK keyboard that's more like a pound sign-fitted US keyboard, and I understand the inconvience for someone who is used to the UK keyboard layout, but it is still perfectly possible to use pipes and comment ones code with the US layout.


JAL

Reply Score: 1

FellowConspirator Member since:
2007-12-13

You probably wanted the International English model (MB110Z/A). The keyboards come in various key layouts: International English, British English, German, Belgian, Danish, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Swiss, Swedish, and Norwegian. You probably got a British or Dutch version. In Britain, the American layout (what Apple calls "International English") is actually pretty common, but Apple sells the British model. Both are available to the UK (the part number for the International one is MB110Z/A and for the British one is MB110B/A). It could also be a Dutch one, which is very close to the British model.

Reply Score: 1

dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

For example, here's the US keyboard (note the keys are where they are expected)

Some of Apple's non US keyboards have always been a bit unique. I don't have an example handy at the moment, but I do recall that at least on the laptops I've seen the layout has been slightly different from just about every other keyboard.

Reply Score: 2

the old extended
by Adurbe on Mon 9th Feb 2009 15:54 UTC
Adurbe
Member since:
2005-07-06

I continued to use my old extended kyb for YEARS!

eventually it had to be passed over as my machines moved to USB only. I dont see why apple (or another company) cant remake what, to me, was a wonderful product with a couple of updates (usb port and usb connectors)

Reply Score: 2

RE: the old extended
by alcibiades on Tue 10th Feb 2009 08:47 UTC in reply to "the old extended"
alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

You can get the keyspan, ADB to USB adaptor. This is what I use and it works fine.

Reply Score: 2

Das Keyboard & G15
by evert on Mon 9th Feb 2009 16:16 UTC
evert
Member since:
2005-07-06

This comment is written using Das Keyboard. A superb keyboard if you have to write letters, papers, or other lengthy documents.

For gaming, multimedia, typing in the dark, and other fun I recommend the Logitech gaming keyboard G15, although the older G15 (blue keys) was IMHO better than the newer model (with orange keys).

I also own a Microsoft natural keyboard. Some Microsoft keyboards are nice, but the natural keyboard only collects dust in my room. The keys need too much pressure, it is not pleasant at all to use it for creating long documents. Maybe the Logitech natural keyboards are better, but I don't own one.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Das Keyboard & G15
by averycfay on Mon 9th Feb 2009 16:55 UTC in reply to "Das Keyboard & G15"
averycfay Member since:
2005-08-29

Interesting. Microsoft natural keyboards are my favorite, at least the ones they were selling like ~10 years ago (I mistakenly bought a 5 pack at a really good price). I've been using them ever since and now hate using any other keyboard.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Das Keyboard & G15
by ggeldenhuys on Tue 10th Feb 2009 07:42 UTC in reply to "Das Keyboard & G15"
ggeldenhuys Member since:
2006-11-13

I also own a Microsoft natural keyboard. Some Microsoft keyboards are nice, but the natural keyboard only collects dust in my room. The keys need too much pressure, it is not pleasant at all.

I also own a MS Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 (one of many keyboards). I also found that it needs too much pressure when typing. My Dell Inspiron 9100 laptop has a brilliant keyboard and I started looking for something similar, but for a desktop computer. I found the Enermax Aurora which is a brilliant match. I love this keyboard! Sturdy, heavy, flat, nice keyboard travel and quiet. This one will stay with me for a while.

I must note that I never use the default keyboard layout. I touch type and only use the Programmer Dvorak layout (software switch able). The only real important key layout for me is the arrow keys and Ins/Del/PgUp/PgDn etc... I prefer the upside down T layout and 2 rows of 3 keys.

Reply Score: 1

Spring keyboards forever
by Machster on Mon 9th Feb 2009 16:18 UTC
Machster
Member since:
2007-05-15

I use the Matias Tactile Pro and will never give it up. That and my IBM M for my PC are only the ones I use. I can't stand mushy keyboards regardless of how pretty they look. If sound is a problem there is an easy solution: buy everyone around you ear plugs!

Reply Score: 2

RE: Spring keyboards forever
by liber on Tue 10th Feb 2009 07:16 UTC in reply to "Spring keyboards forever"
liber Member since:
2008-10-26

They'll have to pry my model M from my cold dead hands. The tactile response this keyboard gives is actually amazing. I hate most membrane keyboards (especially the apple ones. Those I hate with passion), because I always end up pressing the keys too hard just to be sure I reached the bottom.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Spring keyboards forever
by Arawn on Thu 12th Feb 2009 14:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Spring keyboards forever"
Arawn Member since:
2005-07-13

Hear, hear!!

I will probably die before my Model M does. Best keyboard ever. Loud?? Hell yeah!

Model M FTW!

Reply Score: 1

The bluetooth model
by darknexus on Mon 9th Feb 2009 16:21 UTC
darknexus
Member since:
2008-07-15

I use the aluminum bluetooth version of this keyboard, and love it. No USB ports or numpad, but the thing is small, and it's absolutely identical to my macbook's keyboard. I don't use the numpad anyway, so that's no loss for me, and as for the USB ports... with two d-link 7-port self-powered USB hubs on my desk, I have more USB ports than I think I'm going to need for quite a while ;) . It's a good wireless keyboard for the money, if you're looking for a bluetooth one with good battery life, and in all other respects (key spacing/travel, etc) it's identical to the wired one reviewed here. It's a good balance, imho, not the top of the line in comfort but nothing to sneeze at either.

Reply Score: 2

smashIt
Member since:
2005-07-06

What's the bottom line? What should you recommend when people ask? What do you say about it?


get a cherry g80 and you will never buy another keyboard

Reply Score: 2

Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

I did want one of their Happy Hacking printless micro 88-key keyboards, but for some bizzare reason they don’t have a straightforward version, with all sorts of odd limitations. This one - for Mac http://www.notestation.com/smk-88.htm has two USB plugs, one for the keyboard, and one for pass-through to the hub on the keyboard!! Madness.

I’ve not been able to find such a keyboard that doesn’t compromise somewhere. My ideal keyboard would be a printless 88-Key micro bluetooth keyboard using Mac layout.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by Kroc
by Kroc on Mon 9th Feb 2009 16:40 UTC
Kroc
Member since:
2005-11-10

My only complaint with the Apple Aluminimum Keyboards (I have the wired, and wireless ones) is that the function keys are messed up, after Apple decided to put Exposé on F3 and Dashboard on F4 - most annoying, as all the F keys I use the most F8-F11 I have to use with Fn—which is fine on the Bluetooth keyboard, but horrendous on the wired one where the Fn key is where the Home key is on a PC keyboard.

Other than that, I find both excellent in every manner.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Kroc
by dragossh on Mon 9th Feb 2009 18:30 UTC in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
dragossh Member since:
2008-12-16

You know you can change this in System Preferences, right?

OT: I used to use a big, clunky, plastic keyboard until a year ago when I decided to buy the Apple Aluminum one. It's the perfect keyboard for me. I can type both fast and accurately, as opposed to typos-all-the-time with the old keyboard. Oh, and it is silent!

Edited 2009-02-09 18:35 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Apple Keyboard
by whartung on Mon 9th Feb 2009 18:22 UTC
whartung
Member since:
2005-07-06

I have this keyboard, I bought it specifically because I liked the feel of the MacBook keyboard I was using.

Also, I think it's much better than the older Apple keyboard, which I found a bit sticky for me.

I was disappointed that the keyboard map out of the box didn't "work" on my Mac Pro, but I did whatever I did and the "keys match" now. I don't recall the details.

Reply Score: 2

siraf72
Member since:
2006-02-22

I used to use a Das Keyboard II. I loved using it very retro. Had a lovely satisfying CLACK! to each key stroke, and there was the added geekiness of having an all black keyboard (added bonus: my wife couldn't use my machine ;) ).

About half a year ago I switched to the wireless apple one. Though its been slated in some of the reviews, I enjoy using it and its my main keyboard now.

Reply Score: 1

Cherry
by MamiyaOtaru on Mon 9th Feb 2009 19:56 UTC
MamiyaOtaru
Member since:
2005-11-11

I am using a Deck Legend keyboard with Cherry mechanical switches. It uses the linear switches instead of the tactile ones (that give a click when the threshhold is passed) because it is meant as a gaming keyboard, and the linear switches also last longer. So there's no click as you press down, but there is a pretty hefty thid when you bottom out, so I'm sure it wouldn't be welcome in a lot of offices.

It feels pretty good to me typing. I pound it a lot harder than I did my old Cherry keyboard (which was ironically a membrane keyboard), but I like it. And it's great for gaming.

In the end, the individual LEDs behind each key and the n-key-rollover (I can press every key at once and have them all register) put it over the top. The price puts it right back under the top though ;)

Reply Score: 2

Love It !
by PLan on Mon 9th Feb 2009 19:58 UTC
PLan
Member since:
2006-01-10

I absolutely love the Apple aluminum keyboard, it is a vast improvement over the previous plastic model. In fact I'm considering getting another.

My previous keyboard (PC) was an expensive buckling spring model M clone from Unicomp, and although I have no complaints about it, it just isn't in the same league as the current Apple model.

Reply Score: 1

Repetitive Strain Injury
by kiddo on Mon 9th Feb 2009 21:16 UTC
kiddo
Member since:
2005-07-23

It might be of interest to some of you that I (and at least two other persons on this planet) have found the Apple Aluminium Keyboard to be a cause of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI syndrome) on the fingers. I detailed my findings and methods on that matter over a year ago: http://jeff.ecchi.ca/blog/?p=519

So I sold the keyboard and went back to a "cheap" generic Dell keyboard (the plastic ones that come with desktop computers). I'm quite happy with it.

Reply Score: 2

Model M
by StephenBeDoper on Tue 10th Feb 2009 03:54 UTC
StephenBeDoper
Member since:
2005-07-06

From TFA:

The Model M is at something of an extreme, too clunky for most.


I've found that most of the people who prefer the Model M also learned keyboarding on a typewriter - so they're used to keys that require more force than (most) computer keyboards. Which makes sense, since the Model M is quite similar to the keyboards on IBM's old electric typewriters.

Reply Score: 2

Alternative Keyboards
by lfeagan on Tue 10th Feb 2009 04:54 UTC
lfeagan
Member since:
2006-04-01

I have a few HHKB Professional II keyboards and absolutely adore them. The feedback from the keys is wonderful. The key pressure to me seem "just right". They are not too soft, as I feel the Apple keyboards for the Macbook Pros are. I spent years (nearly a decade) searching for the right keyboard. I must own or have tried nearly every keyboard from low-end to very high-end, such as DataHand and Kinesis.

The HHKB is my favorite keyboard and I carry one with me on extended business trips. I also carry a Wacom Intuos3 6"x11" on most trips. I have tried quite a few mice over the years as well. I own a few Intuos3 in various sizes for home and work as well.

As a programmer who uses ViM heavily, the lack of a dedicated number pad hardly phases me, especially when paired with Vimperator for Firefox. The commonly used modifier keys just seem to come so naturally with the compact HHKB layout. I really adore it. Key combinations to control KDE and Konsole are a breeze.

Reply Score: 1

ggeldenhuys
Member since:
2006-11-13

I have quite a collection of keyboards. As a programmer for many years, I am very fussy about what keyboard I user. Comfort, key travel, silence, layout etc. are all very important to me. I'm not one for multimedia keyboards.

Anyway, a few months ago, I came across the Enermax Aurora keyboards. They are absolutely brilliant. A brushed aluminium design, very heavy for it's size (so it doesn't move), very flat, laptop style keys with small travel, normal arrow/pgup/pgdn etc. layout, USB 2.0 ports and even Sound & Mic ports. A brilliant keyboard and types extremely nice. Another really good thing is that it is about half the price of the Mac aluminium keyboard.

I bought the US layout keyboard, but I can't really comment on the key layout. I touch type and only every use the Programmer Dvorak layout, no matter the keyboard. So RSI is not an issue for me - Dvorak layout is absolutely brilliant.

Product information
http://enermax.de/products/peripherals/aurora-premium/?L=2

One of many reviews
http://www.trustedreviews.com/peripherals/review/2006/08/19/Enermax...

Edited 2009-02-10 07:18 UTC

Reply Score: 1

alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

If the prices in the review are still current, the enermax is more expensive than the apple. The apple is a bit under £30 in the UK, the enermax seems to be quite a bit over £40.

Reply Score: 2

ggeldenhuys Member since:
2006-11-13

If the prices in the review are still current, the enermax is more expensive than the apple. The apple is a bit under £30 in the UK, the enermax seems to be quite a bit over £40.

Umm.. I didn't really pay attention to the price in the review. Here in South Africa, the Apple Aluminium (wired) keyboard is around R900 and the Enermax Aurora (black) is R450. These were current prices from about 6 months ago.

I just had a look at www.ebuyer.co.uk and your were right. Amazing how pricing structures differ. Clearly we are being ripped off in South Africa when it comes to Apple products! :-(

Edited 2009-02-10 10:19 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Another View
by J-freebsd_98 on Tue 10th Feb 2009 10:50 UTC
J-freebsd_98
Member since:
2006-01-01

The keyboard I use was only in
production a short while. Still
found secondhand some places. I
don't want to mention it in case
the supply worsens !! I read
several threads on keyboards a week
and years !! go by without a mention
of the particular style.. A few
similar are in production, but appear
to be not quite as cool

Reply Score: 1

cato_minor
Member since:
2006-02-13

Alcibiades, thank you so much for this article which comes exactly at the right time for me! After using an Extended keyboard with a Griffin iMate ADB-USB adapter for years, I'm now in the situation where I have to be as silent as possible while typing.

At university we had Sun keyboards (type-6, I think), they felt quite soft, but more "standard" than notebook-like, and were rather silent. Does anyone know how silent current Sun (type-7) keyboards are? (You can get them with "PC layout" these days, with Control and CapsLock at the usual places.)

Reply Score: 1

disappointed owner
by karolus on Tue 10th Feb 2009 22:40 UTC
karolus
Member since:
2006-06-13

I am really disappointed with that (usb+numpad) keyboard after about few hours of typing.
This one is not for touch typist. I still could not recognize the keys position by touch, which leads to miss or double presses.
Also lowest-row keys are so much harder to use ... space-alt-ctrl etc.

the only advantage is that its much more silent, even comparing to T40 series thinkpads one.

Reply Score: 1

KVM a no-go
by veebis on Wed 11th Feb 2009 19:02 UTC
veebis
Member since:
2009-02-11

FYI, this keyboard will not work with most KVM switches. See http://discussions.apple.com/message.jspa?messageID=5259865 for discussion. I bought two of these and had to return them (thanks, Amazon!) after my PCs said "Keyboard disconnected" and wouldn't boot. Apparently, KVMs show up the same as "passive" hubs, and only a powered version will work. Nice feel, tho I do agree with the author and prefer my ThinkPad for extended writing (workstations are mostly for graphics work).

Reply Score: 1

Cherry lover
by biffuz on Thu 12th Feb 2009 09:37 UTC
biffuz
Member since:
2006-03-27

I got a mechanical Cherry with my Olivetti 286 in 1989, and then another one from Vobis in 1994. Always loved those keyboards. Any chance to get a wireless USB one like those?

Reply Score: 1