The New Apple Keyboard Review

Sleek and stylish like an ostrich walking across water

When Apple revealed the new iMac at its Town Hall meeting, I was less than impressed. Sure, the design was cooler and the speeds were increased, but it still looks an awful lot like my iMac G5 with iSight. However, with the new iMacs came new Apple keyboards. Slim as hell and packed with improvements, it takes on the style of keys that the Macbook uses. Of course you don’t need to buy a new iMac to have the new keyboard, so let’s look over this baby with a magnifying glass.

The first thing you’ll notice is that compared to the old Apple keyboard, there’s no place for crumbs to go. The keyboard is flatter than Michelle Tanner and any mess you might make can easily be remedied by turning the keyboard upside-down. Problem solved.

Next thing you’ll notice is the new style of keys. As I mentioned earlier, Apple decided to stick with the Macbook-style of keys and typing on them is fantastic. You can type quickly and precisely due to the fact that there’s not a big chunk of plastic to press on. ::Tap tap tap:: you’ll hear for hours on end. It’s a pleasant break from keyboards of the past.

Included on both the wired and wireless version are new function keys. F1 and F2 control brightness levels on your display, F3 is Expose, F4 is Dashboard, and F8 through F12 are dedicated music control keys. Skip track, play/pause, and volume adjustments make iTunes easily accessible when you’re busy raiding in World of Warcraft or just browsing the web. You’ll have to install a software update when you buy the keyboard before you can take advantage of these. A minor inconvenience, nothing more.

The numpad works fine and there’s nothing new here. It’s worth mentioning that if you are picking up the Apple Wireless Keyboard, you’ll be getting it sans numpad. For some reason, Apple decided to just do away with the numpad on the Wireless Keyboard. Perhaps to keep it small and economical? Who knows. Just keep it in mind.

One of the overlooked features of this keyboard is that it has two USB 2.0 ports on each side. You’d think with this on the Apple website, they’d be a godsend:

Completely redesigned, the included Apple Keyboard perfectly complements your iMac. Its ultrathin anodized aluminum enclosure features low-profile keys that provide a crisp, responsive feel. The keyboard includes special function keys for one-touch control of Mac features, and two USB 2.0 ports for high-speed connectivity to your iPod,

Oh sweet! I can use my iPod on my keyboard now? Awesome! I plugged mine in and guess what showed up on my Macbook and iMac? “USB Low Power Notice.” Thanks for lying out your ass Apple. I’ll stick to using the keyboard for my mouse and a card reader.

Well, having a .33-inch thick keyboard rocks, but is it worth $49.99 + tax? Not really. If your old keyboard is fine and you don’t need a new one anytime soon, then ignore and don’t even bother. If both USB ports on the keyboard could power an iPod, then maybe I’d be more inclined to urge you to buy one.

However… if you are in the market for a new keyboard and already have an Apple desktop, then it’s worth a trip around the block to the Apple Store. Need a longer keyboard? Get this one. Apple has included a USB extension cord in case you use a Mac Pro. The function keys really help with productivity and the new keys allow for much faster typing. In the end, it comes down to whether or not you’re comfortable with it.