Apple Keyboard

OK, as USB keyboards go, this is relatively expensive. I paid £29.99 in my local branch of John Lewis, and I haven’t seen it for much less elsewhere. However, it’s a seriously nice piece of equipment. While previous Apple keyboards have tended to be slightly naff plastic thingies, this one is something else altogether. What we have here is a thin piece of aluminium with full-sized keys embedded in it. The keys have enough travel and positive feel for you to know you’ve pressed them, and with this being a dedicated Mac keyboard, there are some nice functions built in. Some of the function keys are set to do such useful things as control the volume and playback in media applications such as iTunes and QuickTime, though this can be turned off so they act as normal F keys if you use applications that make use of them. Whichever option you choose, you can get the “other” function of the F key in question by holding down the Fn key. I had a Microsoft wireless keyboard that reprogrammed the function keys, but making that behave normally required a press of a lock key, which caused me some occasional confusion. The way Apple have done it seems more sensible to me…

If you’re a “switcher”, you’ll get this kind of keyboard if you buy a new iMac or Mac Pro. The layout is similar on Mac laptops. If you follow my example and get a Mac Mini, you can of course use any USB keyboard, but if you want to learn the Mac way of doing things, getting a keyboard with the right labels on the keys seems like a good move to me. There is also a wireless version which lacks the numeric keypad on the right, so it’s more like a laptop keyboard. Interestingly, the wireless is of the Bluetooth variety – all the desktop Macs come with Bluetooth on board – rather than the wireless dongles used by most wireless Windows keyboards. I’ve seen one of those, and apart from lacking some keys and a wire, it’s much the same as this one.

This keyboard also has a couple of USB ports for mice or other peripherals, which is handy. It’s a nice bit of kit, and given the good “feel” and metal construction, not too outrageously priced.