I’m sitting in an Apple Store at the moment, trying out the new keyboard they have. It uses a keyboard scheme more similar to the MacBook keyboard, which may look “weird” to folks used to most keyboards… the keys are a bit more spaced out, so people wonder if it would be hard to get used to, or have trouble reaching keys. Or, at least, I was wondering. Hence this post — it’s a writing exercise, something that will give me a sense of the keyboard response and how the keys “feel” — whether or not I can tell when I’ve been hitting a key or not, or mistyping or similar (I mean, other than my usual typos of course). So far, it feels pretty good. I’m typing at a pretty fair clip (not the fastest I’ve ever typed, but still not very slowly either), and it feels pretty good under my fingers. Despite the “slim” look and feel, I can definitely tell when I’ve hit a key, and on a purely aesthetic level, the keyboard LOOKS sharp: metal case and white low profile keys. I should really check the site to see if it has key illumination (too bright to tell of course — the curse of trying things out in a retail location). Unlike the previous desktop keyboards, rather than having the sound controls over the number pad, the entire upper row is function keys, and then it functions more like a laptop keyboard, with the first twelve or so also controlling hardware (which, of course, you can reconfigure if you want).
I started railing about the lack of the Fn key (which is used by the system to delineate whether you want the key to access the keyboard control, or whatever the function key is supposed to do), but then I finally noticed where it is: it seems to have replaced one of the “magic six” keys that sit above the arrow keys, between the main keyboard and the number pad. Going from memory, I think it took over “insert”, and now delete is on the bottom row instead of the top. Not sure how I feel about that. I’m sure I’d get used to it, though.
Final prognosis? If you’re in the market for a new keyboard, it’s well worth checking out: on board usb2 is nice, it’s got a good form factor, and I’ve felt pretty comfortable typing all this out, and for $49, it’s fairly competitive with other quality keyboards out there (and markedly less than most specialty keyboards). Had I the cash, I’d probably head home with one now!