It’s been over a year since I got my beloved MacBook Pro (when I joined Intel Software Network). For most of that time, I’ve been using one of the previous generation Apple Wireless Keyboards – the one with the white keys and transparent base. It’s been a great keyboard (even though the white keys get filthy, and the transparent housing lets you see all the disgusting gunk, dust, and board chow that gets caught in there). A couple of weeks ago, I was helping our department admin order an Apple keyboard for someone else in the group, and she asked if I wanted one. What do you think I said? 😉 A day or so later, in email, she asked if I wanted wired or wireless. I thought for a minute – the new Apple Wireless Keyboard doesn’t have the full size separate number pad, arrow keys, and PgUp/PgDown/Home/End keys (the wired USB version does). Could I live without those? I decided to give it a try.
Last week, the new keyboard arrived, and I’ve been blown away by it ever since.
It’s Bluetooth, which means that it will work with more than just Apple computers. It does have some Mac-specific keys, though, like ExposÃ© and Dashboard. It also has the traditional Apple volume up/down/mute, and eject keys, and this latest version adds media shuffle controls – Play, Next, Previous, etc. – which to my delight work to control iTunes even when I’m in another application (like right now, writing this in MarsEdit). But the amazing part of it is just how freaking thin and light it is:
It is much smaller than the previous full sized keyboard. The little roll at the top/back holds 3 AA batteries. One end of the “roll” unscrews for battery access, and the other houses the power/pairing button.
The keyboard is almost exactly the same size as the actual keyboard on the MacBook Pro:
So how has it been to use it for a few days? It took some getting used to. My fingers had to relearn the spacing/layout of the new keyboard, but that happens with any keyboard. And now that I’ve gotten used to it, I’m in love. The feel is wonderful. Even though the keys are shallow, and the whole thing is very thin, the tactile response of each keypress is lovely. The old keyboard feels mushy and stiff (at the same time) and bouncy by comparison.
Do I miss the full size number pad? Not really. Once, today, I was typing a phone number or a zip code or something, and my hand went to reach for it, then realized it wasn’t there. Not a big deal. The arrow keys are in roughly the same place (and exactly the same place as on the MBP itself), and the trick of using Fn+Left, Right, Up, and Down for Home, End, PgUp, and PgDn is the same thing you have to do on the integrated keyboard, so that, too, isn’t really a big deal. I do kind of miss the dedicated forward Delete key, but again, Fn+Backspace does the trick, just like on the MBP.
Overall, I love this little keyboard. I pick it up and wave it around at people, just to marvel at how thin it is. And it just looks so darn cute sitting on my desk, being all tiny next to the huge stuff that surrounds it (the old Apple Wireless Keyboard, my 24″ monitor, my MBP, etc.).
This would be the absolute perfect home theater PC/living room computer keyboard if it had some sort of integrated pointing device or trackpad. So thin, light, and beautiful! Now, if they would only update the design of the Mighty Mouse to match it’s thin, aluminum companion…