iLife ’08 and iWork ’08 from Steve’s recent keynote are already reviewed. Another new product I purchased as well is the new Aluminum Keyboard — I ordered the wired version which comes with a numeric keypad (unlike the wireless one). Though I try to have as little cables on my desk as possible, I went for the version with a full complement of keys — entering numbers is a lot easier with a numeric keypad and I like the document navigation controls as well, because they enable fast scrolling without having to switch to the mouse.
At first glance
Besides looking very nice, this keyboard seems to be relatively robust. Manufactured in a similar way to the new iMac, this keyboard is made out of one piece of aluminum with the bottom and keys made of white plastic. Though I’d not recommend to run it over with a car, I cannot imagine a situation in day-to-day office live that could destroy it other than kicking at it — which cannot possibly happen unintentionally, since it’s tied up to your desk thanks to its USB cable.
The letters are printed grey on the white keys which makes them easily distinguishable and it doesn’t demand eagle eyes to spot the one you may be searching for in case you’re not familiar with touch typing.
After closer investigation
I noticed before that I could type remarkably faster on the flat keyboards built into MacBooks and MacBook Pros and hated conventional keyboards for their loud tictac and keys that had to be pressed firmly until a letter appeared on the screen.
The new aluminum keyboards feel very much the same way the MacBook’s keyboard does — I love those low-profile keys with responsive feel. Since a gentle touch on a key is enough I can type for long hours on this keyboard without being exhausted afterwards — I have used too many keyboards that felt like you needed a sledge to type.
What seems strange is that there is no Apple logo on the command key anymore — as you can see in the video. Any thoughts on that? Feel free to leave a comment!
You may have noticed that there’s something special about the F-keys as well. Like the internal MacBook (Pro) keyboards they provide one-touch access to special Mac features — F1 and F2 control the brightness of any Apple display, F3 and F4 are the shortcuts to Exposé and the Dashboard.
The latter do not work for me — I’d like to know why. I’m using this keyboard connected to a MacBook Pro via an Apple Cinema Display, I think this the cause — but why does it matter? The keyboard update provided by Apple via the software update is already installed.
F7–F9 are new: They serve as shortcuts for rewind, play/pause and fast-forward while you use F10-F12 to adjust the volume. We know that this volume control operates system-wide — the other three function keys aren’t iTunes specific as well! You can also use them to control a Quicktime movie and the like — they do the same work the Apple Remote does: per default, they control iTunes. But when your active application is for example Quicktime or iPhoto, you can affect video playback or start a slideshow.
Then there is of course the Eject key and, since the keyboard is a little wider, there’s some more function keys.
Also worth mentioning: On both the left and the right side you’ve got USB 2.0 ports that provide instant connectivity for a digital camera and the like.
This new keyboard is a well designed piece of hardware and feels great. Especially if you’re like me and enjoy typing on flat but responsive keyboards I recommend Apple’s wired aluminum keyboard. In case you don’t need a fully-fledged keyboard, get the wireless one to avoid another cable from cluttering up your desk and gain more freedom.
All in all it’s great and I’ll upgrade as soon as there is a wireless version of the full keyboard. But I’d like it even better if the Exposé and Dashboard keys worked without having to press fn.
Do you prefer flat keyboards or do you like conventional keyboards better? Do you usually type on a laptop or do you use a desktop PC? What is your experience with typing on different keyboards and how long does it take to accustom to one you’re not used to?
Trackbacks & Pingbacks
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