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From The Road: Time For A New Keyboard

From The Road: Time For A New Keyboard



Apple Keyboard (Image property of OhGizmo!)
By Andrew Liszewski

I’ve been using the same Logitech wireless keyboard for a good 6 or 7 years now. While I’m sure it would easily last a few more years, I decided to replace it because I’m convinced there’s a complete self-sustaining biosphere lurking beneath the keys. So for the past few weeks I’ve been checking out keyboards here and there, but I kept coming back to the latest version from Apple, seen here at my local Apple Store. Now I’m a Windows guy, and intend to use the keyboard under XP and Vista, but I’ll gladly admit that Apple have become masters of product design. They’re pretty good at marketing too, but have a bad habit of letting their campaigns run a lot longer than they should.

Not surprisingly, the people at the Apple Store were as useless when it came to answering my questions as any other retail employee, but thankfully the keyboard works nearly flawlessly under XP. I’ll have to make a few registry changes to get my printscreen button back, but other than that I’m really liking the new keyboard. It’s exactly like typing on a laptop, which I know some people don’t like, but I have no problem with it. The position of the CTRL and ALT keys are swapped compared to my old Logitech keyboard, but I’m sure the muscle memory in my hands will soon adjust. In fact the only real complaint I have was when I tried to plug my Wacom into one of the keyboard’s USB ports and found that it didn’t supply enough power for the tablet to work properly. Unfortunate, but far from a deal breaker.









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  • John Deere

    “…the people at the Apple Store were as useless when it came to answering my questions as any other retail employee…”

    Let’s put this in context: You went to the store for company A to see if their product was compatible with something from company B; they couldn’t answer your questions.

    I feel your pain; I regularly go to a local BMW auto dealer to see if their accessories are compatible with my John Deere yard tractor. Wouldn’t you know it: they haven’t a clue either.

  • Ptarmigandalf

    Weird… mine has a tall and narrow Enter key that I keep missing (different from the one in the picture). Other than that, it’s a terrific keyboard.

  • David Dennis

    Not that we should really help someone who condones use of the Operating System of Evil, but the answer to your USB power question is simple, if somewhat obscure.

    1 Unplug all USB cables from your keyboard.
    2 Plug in the USB device that uses the most power first (this would be your tablet).
    3 Plug in your mouse, which uses less power.
    4 Enjoy.

    In short, maximum power is given to the first device plugged in and the second device gets the balance. So plug in the most power consuming device first.

    I think there’s an item on this in the Apple knowledge base, but I can’t really blame you for just figuring it was a normal thing, since many keyboards don’t do this.

    Hope that helps.

    D

  • Andrew Liszewski

    I understand your analogy, but I see it a bit different.

    Apple sells many products that work on both Windows and OSX, including this keyboard. If they didn’t intend for people to use the keyboard under Windows, why go to the trouble of adding the ‘alt’ text on their ‘option’ key. I wasn’t asking some in-depth question about DLL libraries or other Windows-centric concept, I just had some simple compatibility questions. Somehow I don’t see a Windows PC and a MAC PC being as different as a car and a lawn tractor.

  • Pablo

    Yeah that’s right, a MAC PC vs a Windows PC is just like a luxury car vs a tractor. I assume you must be an Apple store employee John Deere. The last time I checked Apple sold plenty of Windows compatible gear including this keyboard so maybe their geniuses (ha) should have a clue about the OS that a good majority of the world uses.

  • Ben

    Before you go for the Apple keyboard why don’t you take a look at the Logitech DiNovo Edge. It beats the hell out of the App;\le product plus you get a sweet touchpad with it.

  • Andrew Liszewski

    David, thanks for the suggestions. However, the Wacom tablet was the only thing plugged into the Apple keyboard, which is plugged directly into my PC. Since the Wacom is also my mouse, I don’t use a separate one. I’ve also experienced the same low-power USB error when plugging a USB memory card reader into the keyboard, though just flash drives seem to work fine.

  • http://www.s2999.com Jen

    While most of my friends prefer ‘normal’ keyboards, I love slim ones. Actually I got my current laptop-style keyboard for free from a guy who’d bought it for himself then hated it so much he couldn’t use it. I find it easier to type on a slim keyboard, and it’s also easier for me to switch computers (I regularly use a laptop and a desktop).

  • Matt

    I just sold my Apple keyboard like the one above. I couldn’t get the touch typing speed up to where I was on a regular keyboard. The keys on this keyboard just don’t have the feel or the travel of a regular desktop keyboard. After about 10-20 minutes of typing on the Apple keys, my fingertips hurt. The keyboard itself is very solid and it looks great, but it’s not a good keyboard for people who do a lot of typing. I have since gone back to my $20 Dell keyboard and it’s so much more comfortable and I can type about 20 wpm faster on it.