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New Apple Keyboard: My Impressions

Discussion in 'Apple' started by Ronald Epstein, Aug 23, 2007.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    [​IMG]

    I go through keyboards as fast as a baby goes through disposable
    diapers. For me, the keyboard is the single most important experience
    for the computer user. There must be absolute comfort, feel and ability
    to type with an abundance of speed.

    I have gone from using something as bland as the Logitech S530 keyboard/mouse
    combo to something as expensive as the Logitech DiNovo which sells for $200.

    This new Apple Keyboard is something rather spectacular
    for what it is with one big shortcoming.

    Arriving in a HUGE box that gets shipped from Apple (this must be
    their idea of a joke), beneath the mounds of packing paper is a
    small sliver of a package that contains this tiny marvel.

    Setting up the keyboard was easy. Apple even included a USB
    extension. Though I detest wired keyboards as a rule, I suddenly
    don't seem to mind to have this wired keyboard on my desk --
    though it's so tiny compared to anything I have had before it.

    This keyboard is ultra-responsive. I had read many reviews in
    advance of this purchase, and people were not kidding when they
    said typing speed is dramatically improved thanks to the spacing
    of the keys. The overall touch is firm and responsive. The keyboard
    is a work of beauty.

    The big problem here, which Apple users are screaming about
    across the Internet, is the USB support. There is a USB plug on this
    keyboard (see photo above) that is advertised as USB 2.0 support.
    It is not powerful enough to power an iPod or many other such products.
    Don't buy this keyboard thinking you'll be able to add a peripheral to it.

    Does this $50 wired keyboard compare to a $200 DiNovo keyboard?
    In terms of overall function, absolutely not -- though it enhances my
    overall typing experience just as much. This Apple keyboard is very
    stylish, performs well (except USB) and I am rather satisfied with the
    purchase.
     
  2. ErichH

    ErichH Screenwriter

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    Thanks Ron

    How would you compare this to the MacBook Pro keyboard?
    It certainly looks like the same stroke. I like the action of the older powerbooks, but have no experience with the MacBook.
     
  3. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Thanks Ron, for the review.

    I too felt that the keyboard, while different from previous Apple keyboards [I own 2 of the black ones and one newer white one], felt faster. I knew of the problem with the old keyboards having USB 1.1 and not being able to power iPods, etc. But I really hoped that with the pronounced advertisement of "USB 2.0" on this rev. of the keyboard that Apple had finally caught up to the latter half of the 20th century and put full USB 2.0 support on their keyboards.

    I guess I was wrong.

    I really want to buy this new keyboard, but I just know that since they advertised USB2.0 and people are now screaming about it, they will probably issue and update. I'll have to wait for that one. They never had to worry about it before because they could always say "hey it says on the box USB 1.1 and so it doesn't have to be able to power devices". But this time, they actually advertised 2.0 and my understanding is that includes full compatibility with the 2.0 spec, which does provide power to 2.0 devices.
     
  4. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    What's the fuss over an unpowered USB 2 keyboard? USB 2 doesn't require power: I've got an unpowered USB 2 hub and it works dandy with self-powered devices. Have USB keyboards normally provided enough power to e.g. recharge an iPod?

    Also, this keyboard is like the MacBook keyboard. From owning an MBP and playing with the MB and this keyboard at the store, I think they're quite different. (I think the MBP is much better and don't like this keyboard at all. You might feel the opposite [​IMG])


    How do you like the new Function Key layout for Expose, etc.? I've seen some online consternation on this, but it seemed pretty sensible to me.
     
  5. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    I agree that the shape is like a Macbook as far as placement, spacing and layout, but the key response is different, at least from the Macbooks that I tried a year ago when I was deciding on which laptop to buy. Maybe the new Macbook key response is the same, I don't know.

    But with regards to the USB aspects, since I spend 90% of my time on my MBP, and I would like to buy as few peripherals as possible, it would be nice if the keyboard acted as a true USB powered hub so that I don't have to buy yet another device (USB hub). And by Ron's response: it doesn't sound like this new keyboard plays nice with peripherals.
     
  6. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Yes, I see where you're coming from. My desire to reduce plug-ins took me to a couple of USB 2 hubs. An unpowered hub for my Airport Extreme for networked printer & drive. A powered 7-port hub for my MBP gives me iPod, digital camera, keyboard, and mouse.

    Short of a docking station, this is the best I can get. Three plugs to "dock": power, sound, and one USB and I've got everything available.

    A bluetooth keyboard and mouse would be cool, but I've not seen a design I love.
     
  7. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    But that would require an external wall wart, like any other powered USB hub on the market.
     
  8. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    I apologize, I think USB powered hub is the wrong phrase. You can be a true USB hub without being powered, but being robust enough to power USB products. That's what I meant. To add insult to injury, here's the item description on Apple's own site/store for the keyboard:
    which directly contradicts Ron's experience.
     
  9. Eric M Jones

    Eric M Jones Second Unit

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    Don't really see the issue here with the new keyboards USB. I currently can't connect my ipod thru the older keyboard. Although it works fine for downloading with my digital camera.

    Glad you like the new toy Ron. You sure have become a full on Mac Geek!

    -EJ
     
  10. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Eric, the issue is that with other devices with USB 2.0 connectors, you CAN connect your iPod. Apple's excuse with the older keyboards was that it was USB 1.1. Should have been remedied with this one. Apple's own language (which is in my quote above) says that you can use your iPod with it.

    You don't see any issues when a manufacturer says a product will do something, and then it doesn't do it?
     
  11. Eric M Jones

    Eric M Jones Second Unit

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    Ooops. Guess I misunderstood this. I didn't realize that the older keyboard like mine wasn't 2.0. I always thought it was more to do with it not being powered (like a hub). If they're claiming full 2.0 compatibility and it's not well then yeah that's a problem. Has anyone seen an reviews similar to Ron? Just wondering if it's an overall product problem or maybe just isolated to Ron's keyboard.

    -EJ
     
  12. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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  13. ErichH

    ErichH Screenwriter

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    Between This and the gloss screens - ooOps!
     
  14. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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  15. ErichH

    ErichH Screenwriter

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    I like that - malfunction
     
  16. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    How is the key action of the keyboard? The previous Apple keyboard is completely useless to me since I constantly get multiple letters, no matter what I do. I don't know what about how I type causes this, but I was about to smash the damn keyboard when I tried to use it. Unfortunately, most keyboards are very mushy these days. I miss my rock solid KeyTronics from the pre-usb days.
     
  17. McPaul

    McPaul Screenwriter

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    malfunction at the junction...

    I ordered myself a Logitech Wave keyboard from the Dell Canada Deals week. We'll see how that works. I am, however, getting used to this MBP keyboard. I'd just like something to protect the front of the keyboard from my wrists.
     
  18. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    It's difficult for me to define "mushy feeling."

    Let me put it this way....

    The keyboard sits on a hard desktop surface. Since the keyboard is
    so thin, it relies on the hardness of the desktop rather than itself. For
    that reason, keystrokes hit hard with no bouncing effect.

    I also find that I get a lot less errors when typing because the keys
    are spaced a little farther apart than standard keyboards. In fact, if
    you start reading a lot of reviews on this keyboard you'll find a common
    denominator where most people feel their overall typing speed has
    increased because of the spacing. This keyboard does allow for faster
    and more accurate typing.
     
  19. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I look forward to your comments, Paul. The Wave keyboard looked interesting.
     
  20. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Well crap, if it doesn't look like Apple will be remedying this, I might have to buy it. I really do like the slimmer profile (it will allow me to carry it around with my MBP) and the key spacing and action are to my liking.

    I guess in a worst case scenario I can plug my mouse into the keyboard (since that doesn't draw much power) and that will still leave one free USB on my MBP for the iPod. I really don't want to buy a hub to have to carry around if I don't have to...
     

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