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How about a standalone Macbook keyboard?

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
I like the design of the Macbook keyboard in that there are no gaps between the keys. So much dirt, dust and hair collects in my Apple Pro Keyboard. My keys also stick if I don't press them exactly vertically, which is really annoying. It feels like they are seizing up. I guess it's something to do with the key height. I like low down keys so you don't have to press them all that hard to get a response. I imagine it would make for quieter typing too.

On top of those things, I'd like to see some other features. The main one being to make it lighter and smaller (possibly have size options). I'd like a keyboard where I can reach all the keys including the numpad without moving my hands much. Does anyone remember the Psion palmtop:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/o/ASIN/B0000...T8GHJKFDS4KA02

I want a keyboard that small for my desktop. It might even be customizable for an ipod. If you're a writer maybe then you can write stories on the move or rename tracks.

I'd also like a return of the power key on the keyboard. The new Macs have power keys in really awkward places.
post #2 of 37
When the new Intel Mac Pro towers are released, I'd expect new screens and perhaps keyboards and mice then too.

The iMac still comes in white, but I'd expect Apple to start selling a Pro mouse and Pro keyboard as that is not overly complex, would probably be popular, and is an easy money maker.

Probably wouldn't be white though... rather Pro metals.
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post #3 of 37
The title of this thread is a bit unclear. Are you suggesting apple will/should bring out a new keyboard with the MacPro. Something more sleek and flat!
Do you think apple will bring out a new keyboard with the next iMac?

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post #4 of 37
Yes, there are tons of laptop keyboards for the desktop, but the Macbook keyboard is unlike most laptop keyboards.
post #5 of 37
I think the Mac Pro's keyboard needs to be designed with a tactile response just like the keyboards of Apple old...

http://www.matias.ca/tactilepro/
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post #6 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by DHagan4755
I think the Mac Pro's keyboard needs to be designed with a tactile response just like the keyboards of Apple old...

http://www.matias.ca/tactilepro/

$150?!?!
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post #7 of 37
I like the keyboard on the new MacBook. The one that ships with current desktop Macs is terrible. I got a G5 in November and never even took the Apple keyboard out of its wrapper. So, if you're suggesting Apple make a new one based on the MacBook design, I'm all for it. It needs to be flat though, not tilted back like the current Apple keyboard.
post #8 of 37
Thread Starter 
Yeah, sorry for not being clear enough. I was suggesting Apple should make a new keyboard to replace the ones they ship with their Macs.

I think I've always hated my Apple Pro keyboard.

I've looked at the other keyboards available and when I came across the tactile pro, I thought I might buy it. Then I looked at the price tag and thought the same as midwinter.

I've looked at so many keyboard alternatives - even the little frog keypad - but PC keyboards don't usually have USB ports and they tend to break easy. Plus they have the Windows keys on them and I wouldn't be sure everything would work as it does on the Mac keyboard.

Those slimline metal keyboards look great. I've never seen the need for media keys though. If they were just programmable buttons then ok but you could just make two rows of function keys.

Does anybody use a PC keyboard with their Mac? If so, what kind is it and does it work ok with everything?

The main things I want are low key height, USB ports and a small form factor. Does anybody know of a Mac compatible keyboard like that under £50?

I just found this one that looks quite good:

http://www.pcpro.co.uk/shopper/revie...oard-usb.html#

but as usual, I don't know if it's Mac compatible (i.e programmable for say volume buttons) nor if it has USB ports.

Here's one specifically for Mac:

http://www.fentek-ind.com/kbmmacusb.htm

but why are they always so expensive? Plus that one has tall keys again.

There's also:

http://www.cherrycorp.com/english/sl...e_g84-4100.htm

but people have had trouble with them with Macs.

The extra USB ports are not a big issue as I can get a hub but it would be easier if they had two ports built-in.
post #9 of 37
i THINK i can understand where your comming from, but REALLY... is it SO hard to ADAPT?

i play guitar and have several different types... id say the one i have played the most is my favorite.. but im just used to the sound and the FEEL. but it doesnt mean i cant adapt to the other ones when i play them.

i've had different types of keyboard when i was using a PC and they were ok, they were what i was used to .. but the mac keyboard (the standard white one you havent even opened to TRY) was a revelation... at first i missed a few keys cos its a LOT smaller IMO the keys are very close together... but after a week or so i just adapted now when i switch to the ibook or my brothers MBP i miss a few keys cos they are slightly different again.. but i ADAPT.

its not hard, but then i use the mac keyboard an atari keyboard and 2 PC keyboards (PC less and less) every day so im used to it.

no flame intended, i just get fed up reading all these people moaning about the smallest things

ADAPT and OVERCOME!

Rod
post #10 of 37
Marvin, the MacAlly Icekey is very nice. Its scissor keys are good but a little stiffer than a PowerBook or MacBook keyboard. The Kensington Slim Type Mac is better but doesn't have any USB ports. I've used and "adapted" to both and they're nice keyboards. Both are designed for use with Macs.

Trandannoyer, yes I can usually adapt to any keyboard. I don't type a lot, so I can use anything for a time. However, the standard Apple Keyboard that ships with desktop Macs is poorly designed. It leans toward you instead of being flat or leaning away. This has been proven to contribute to wrist problems for those who type a lot. I tried one and immediately did not like it. So, since I have two others I like better, I never used the one that came with my Mac. Perhaps I should eBay it but that seems more trouble than it's worth.
post #11 of 37
What I thought you were suggesting at first - was a essentially a macbook keyboard as some sort of HTPC input sevice.

Now I realise this isn't what you mean may I suggest it - a MacBook keyboard - with track pad - bluetooth - small form factor and maybe the ability to control a few other devices similar to the harmony Remotes.

When I bought a mac mini to use with my plasma - I presumed there would be loads of wireless keyboards with track pads or tracker balls but there are hardly any (decent ones that is)
post #12 of 37
iDave agree ebay is likely more hassle than its worth.

ive been in "tempory accommodation" for the last while so to speak, and had the keyboard on an uneven surface... the result of which it was angled even MORE towards me.. having now moved it to an even more tempory room.. and have it on a flat surface... i find it VERY flat.. oh the irony

i dont type for a living but i have been doing a fair old bit this last few months.. i dont mind the keyboard.. but then i dont have the spare cash to go out and try different 'boards

my sisters b/f used the keyboard and decided to get one for his PC!

but then i think you might say theres no accounting for taste

hey ho... hope you find something suitable!

Cheers

Rod
post #13 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by Trendannoyer
hey ho... hope you find something suitable!

Oh, I did. I find the MacAlly IceKey and the Kensington Slim Type to be quite nice, slightly preferring the Slim Type even though it has no USB port. Marvin is hoping for a new MacBook style keyboard. If Apple designs one, I might have to get one myself just for grins. I definitely like the keyboard on the new MacBook. $30 give or take is nothing for something you use so frequently as a keyboard. That's why I've tried so many and why I don't mind shelving the one that ships with a new Mac if I don't like it.

You're right, it's all a matter of taste. Many people actually prefer a keyboard tilted toward them.
post #14 of 37
while i am still having problems NOT just hitting BUY on the macbook page for a laptop/notebook, its almost an impulse buy

i think the keyboard on it is ... mmm ugly... well for me it oscillates between ugly and ok, ugly and ok

i like my keys to have a scooped "hole" and NOT be all flat and horrible looking

good groth.. now I'M at it

bye
post #15 of 37
post #16 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Trendannoyer
ADAPT and OVERCOME!

I use a number of keyboards like iDave - powerbook, old g3 imac, Apple pro, some PC keyboards and out of all of them, I dislike the Apple pro one the most.

The other keyboards I use are soft and spongy - they feel more comfortable. As I type this, the keys are stiff and I make much more typing errors.

The powerbook one is my favourite of the ones I use.

Quote:
Marvin, the MacAlly Icekey is very nice. Its scissor keys are good but a little stiffer than a PowerBook or MacBook keyboard. The Kensington Slim Type Mac is better but doesn't have any USB ports.

Thanks, I was looking at those ones and they look pretty good. I like how the macally one has USB ports on the sides too like how the old keyboards were. If I couldn't get a smaller one, I'd probably just go for either of those.

How heavy are they compared to the Apple pro keyboard and are they about the same size?

Quote:
What I thought you were suggesting at first - was a essentially a macbook keyboard as some sort of HTPC input sevice.

Now I realise this isn't what you mean may I suggest it - a MacBook keyboard - with track pad - bluetooth - small form factor and maybe the ability to control a few other devices similar to the harmony Remotes.

I hadn't considered that but that would be a good idea. Someone at work got a wireless Mac keyboard but it's a big hefty Apple pro one again. I don't see much point in it being wireless because it's not very portable. A small multi-functional wireless keyboard would be ideal and again, having keys like the Macbook pro would make it sturdier and less likely to collect dirt inside.

Quote:
Many people actually prefer a keyboard tilted toward them.

That's actually another annoyance with the pro one because Apple have removed the choice as to which way you sit your keyboard. Of course it may mean a flimsy add-on. I think they should have designed them flat if they wanted it one way or the other. You can always tilt the keyboard up but you can't tilt the Apple pro one down.

Maybe we need a whole new style of input device altogether. Just one large SED touch panel that shows images of keys based on what app you use and it would have no physical keys at all. Something like this idea:

http://www.artlebedev.com/portfolio/optimus/

but the keys are virtual. That way the trackpad could be integrated too. Maybe Apple's recent multi-touch screen patent could be used for that. I think I'd probably prefer tactile keys though.

Quote:
i like my keys to have a scooped "hole" and NOT be all flat and horrible looking

Haha, adapt and overcome .
post #17 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by Marvin
How heavy are they compared to the Apple pro keyboard and are they about the same size?

I don't know about weight.

The IceKey is about the same size as the Apple Keyboard. The Slim Type is smaller and narrower since it doesn't have the full size arrow, home, page up, page down section of keys between the letter section and number pad section. That's another reason I prefer it over the IceKey.

I used to really like the black keyboard that came with early iMacs because it was nice and small. However, I decided I don't like black keys because they're hard to see when the light's not good. I'm a touch typist but I still have to look now and then.
post #18 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by iDave
The IceKey is about the same size as the Apple Keyboard. The Slim Type is smaller and narrower since it doesn't have the full size arrow, home, page up, page down section of keys between the letter section and number pad section. That's another reason I prefer it over the IceKey.

I used to really like the black keyboard that came with early iMacs because it was nice and small. However, I decided I don't like black keys because they're hard to see when the light's not good. I'm a touch typist but I still have to look now and then.

Hmmm, I would prefer if the middle bit with home key etc was missing. It seems they have put those keys just to the right of the return key. Plus they haven't squashed the arrow keys into a small space like the old imac keyboard. I'd just need to get a small hub to make up for the lack of USB ports.
post #19 of 37
2 things that the next Apple Keyboard should be -

1. USB 2.0

2. Backlit as on the Powerbook/Macbook Pro keyboards.
post #20 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by ajprice
2 things that the next Apple Keyboard should be -

1. USB 2.0

2. Backlit as on the Powerbook/Macbook Pro keyboards.

1. Yes

2. IMO a useless gimmick. I had a PowerBook with that once and only turned it on once, to try it out. It actually made the keys harder to read in medium light. If I wanted to be able to see the letters on the keys I had to turn all of the lights off in the room. Who does that and how often? Again, it's a matter of taste as usual. I'm always amazed how many people are clamoring for that feature in all of the portables. Give me more RAM instead.
post #21 of 37
I use my backlite keyboad most days - work in bed at night & can turn the lights off so my wife can sleep whilst I sort through my many Emails etc that don't get chance to do during the day - it is great & makes typing so much easier - wouldn't be without!
post #22 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by drnat
I use my backlite keyboad most days - work in bed at night & can turn the lights off so my wife can sleep whilst I sort through my many Emails etc

Yeah sure, checking e-mails while the wife's asleep . The "etc" says it all:

http://www.coolbuddy.com/videos/video_clip.asp?id=67

(you need flip4mac for that clip)

On a laptop, I wouldn't see much use for the backlight because the display illuminates the keys but on a standard keyboard, I think it would be ok. On the other hand, it's not good to use your computer in the dark because it hurts your eyes so I tend to have the lights on anyway. But the choice is always welcome.
post #23 of 37
I was waiting for the comments

The screen isn't good enough to light the keyboard...
post #24 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Ireland

OK, I just bought a keyboard like this. It was an Advent keyboard (ADE-KBW100) with the scissor keys, aluminium look. I knew of possible issues beforehand such as the Windows key not being in the same place as the command key and I had considered the Kensington slim-type but I was in a store today and they had these for £20, so I just decided to get it. They are so light compared to the Apple Pro keyboards.

All the standard keyboard functions work out of the box as I'd expected but as I'd also suspected, some of the special keys don't work, like the media keys. It's weird because the stop key mute/unmutes the system volume and pause/break and the key beside it act as brightness increase/decrease.

So some of the media keys work, they just don't do what I want. I didn't really want to have to install drivers because they can be unstable but I use the volume controls quite often especially in programs that go fullscreen where it's otherwise quite tricky to change system volume and it would be nice if I could get these working.

I've looked at a few pieces of software and installed the drivers but none of them seem to work. Most seem to be designed for mice and don't offer options for just keys.

I don't understand why Apple don't have a keyboard mapping utility. I know they have that system pane but what I'd like is have a panel of unicode keyboard hex codes and whenever you press a key on whatever keyboard you have, it would highlight the keycode it represents. Then you choose a function to map to the key. There is a key layout mechanism built into OS X but it require writing an XML file manually. I found a program called Ukelele, which helps do this with a GUI but it only seems to do standard keyboard functions.

Even if I could bind the volume change keys to some of the function keys. I never use F1-F8 anyway.
post #25 of 37
I just want to make some things sure here, so I know what you are talking about.

The "Apple Pro Keyboard" is the old, black one which came together with the black Apple Pro Mouse with the iMac G3s etc.
Edit:Apparently there is a white variant of this one too. Did that one come with the iMac G4s?

The "Apple Keyboard" is the current white one.

Right?
post #26 of 37
Double post.
post #27 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by Zandros
The "Apple Pro Keyboard" is the old, black one which came together with the black Apple Pro Mouse with the iMac G3s etc.
Edit:Apparently there is a white variant of this one too. Did that one come with the iMac G4s?

The "Apple Keyboard" is the current white one.

Right?

Yep, I believe you've got the names right. The Apple Pro keyboard came in black or white and would sit flat on your desk with the option to raise the back if you wanted.

The newer white only Apple Keyboard sits like a (wide) wedge on your desk, raised in back, and is non-adjustable. It's the worst keyboard Apple has ever made, IMO, and right up there with the hocky puck mouse.
post #28 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by iDave
Yep, I believe you've got the names right. The Apple Pro keyboard came in black or white and would sit flat on your desk with the option to raise the back if you wanted.

The newer white only Apple Keyboard sits like a (wide) wedge on your desk, raised in back, and is non-adjustable. It's the worst keyboard Apple has ever made, IMO, and right up there with the hocky puck mouse.

Oh, great.

Actually, I much prefer the current keyboard to the Pro Keyboard. The Pro Keyboard feels so stiff and unsensitive. Actually, I do believe the current keyboard to be one of the best standard keyboard (non-laptop style) I've ever tried, though it has some few quirks, namely that you need a perfect keystroke to get the key down smoothly and that it doesn't react to the stroke until the key is at the absolute bottom. Irritating when you need to press the key for a long time, like in some games.
post #29 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by Zandros
Oh, great.

Actually, I much prefer the current keyboard to the Pro Keyboard. The Pro Keyboard feels so stiff and unsensitive. Actually, I do believe the current keyboard to be one of the best standard keyboard (non-laptop style) I've ever tried <snip>

It's interesting how peoples' tastes and preferences are different.

I've never been particularly sensitive to the way a keyboard feels, i.e. how hard or soft the keys are. What annoys me about the keyboard Apple currently ships with its desktops is that it's tilted toward you. This makes for uncomfortable typing (at least to me) and has been proven to cause wrist problems for those who type a lot and who are predisposed to wrist problems. If anything, the keyboard should be tilted away from you, or as I prefer, flat.

That said, I know a lot of people prefer their keyboards tilted toward them for some reason.
post #30 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Zandros
though it has some few quirks, namely that you need a perfect keystroke to get the key down smoothly and that it doesn't react to the stroke until the key is at the absolute bottom. Irritating when you need to press the key for a long time, like in some games.

That's the problem right there. I actually have the current Apple keyboard, which I presumed was called the Apple Pro Keyboard. It seems Apple's site just calls it the Apple keyboard but 3rd party ones call it the Apple Pro. I actually didn't mind the flat one all that much.

Anyway, I now have the thin silver keyboard above and I'd like to know if anyone has any info about getting media keys working. I actually managed to install USB Overdrive and I got the volume up and down working with my 4th and 5th mouse buttons so for the time being, I have all the functionality of the current Apple keyboard since holding f12 ejects discs too.

I never liked the eject key anyway because I kept pressing it accidentally so this is still better. I've never really been keen to use media keys to be honest but now that I have them, I can think of things they'd be quite useful for like controlling iTunes or 1-press screen capture.

I could of course use the function keys for this sort of thing if I knew of any good software to map those too. So does anyone have any recommendations?
post #31 of 37
Thread Starter 
Ok sorted, I just bought this software:

http://www.orderedbytes.com/controllermate/

for £8 and it recognises all the media keys. I can even attach Applescripts to each of the keys so I can launch programs from the media keys. The keyboard even has a power key, which I've been missing from the Apple keyboard for a long time.
post #32 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by Marvin
for £8 and it recognises all the media keys. I can even attach Applescripts to each of the keys so I can launch programs from the media keys. The keyboard even has a power key, which I've been missing from the Apple keyboard for a long time.

Sounds great. Glad you got it worked out. It's a nice looking keyboard too.
post #33 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by iDave
Sounds great. Glad you got it worked out. It's a nice looking keyboard too.

Yeah, the brushed metal look goes with the Apple products quite well. Admittedly, it does feel a bit cheaply made but it's extremely light and with the low keys, it's quite comfortable. I'm actually going to like having the media keys. I've assigned 15 of them so far - 3 don't work yet, not sure why. But I have enough. I also have 3 Windows-type keys customized so that's 18 custom key functions on top of the 12 F-keys.

I have stop, play and track skipping assigned so I just hit play and itunes starts up in the background and I can control itunes at the touch of a button. I have buttons for sleep, shutdown, start screensaver, mail, spotlight and safari shortcuts and screen capture.

No USB ports unfortunately so I'll have to get a USB2 hub but I was going to get one anyway.
post #34 of 37
Why not a standalone Macbook Pro keyboard instead, I dig the backlighting.
post #35 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Placebo
Why not a standalone Macbook Pro keyboard instead, I dig the backlighting.

I know, Apple should really make one. After using the Macbook one, I have to say I prefer it though. It would be good if they went the route of the super light, slim aluminium keyboard. I'd also like if they added media keys. A few people were annoyed that Apple stole their function keys for things like Dashboard, Expose, Volume, brightness etc. especially on laptops. What's the point of a function key if you have to press the fn key too?

They could have media keys that are by default assigned to those features with icons but customizable. What I don't get is why does Apple still not have a mechanism for assigning function keys built into the System prefs?
post #36 of 37
Quote:
Originally posted by Marvin
What's the point of a function key if you have to press the fn key too?

You can swap that setting. System Preferences -> Keyboard & Mouse -> Keyboard -> Use the F1-F12 keys to control software features

Quote:
What I don't get is why does Apple still not have a mechanism for assigning function keys built into the System prefs?

They do. System Preferences -> Keyboard & Mouse -> Keyboard Shortcuts -> + -> Keyboard Shortcut:

You can put any F key there. Or combine an F key with something else.
post #37 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Chucker
You can swap that setting. System Preferences -> Keyboard & Mouse -> Keyboard -> Use the F1-F12 keys to control software features

Sure but then you have to use the fn key for Dashboard and Spotlight.

Quote:
Originally posted by Chucker
They do. System Preferences -> Keyboard & Mouse -> Keyboard Shortcuts -> + -> Keyboard Shortcut:

You can put any F key there. Or combine an F key with something else.

I think you can only assign menu items to the keys though for custom apps and in global settings, it seems you can only allocate the actions Apple has defined. I would much rather have a set of Applescripts or whatever to allow full customization.

One major reason I had to buy 3rd party software was that I couldn't reassign my volume keys otherwise. Perhaps it's yet another ploy by Apple to get you to buy their proprietary jamming, uncomfortable keyboards with the notch cut out of the USB connector so you can't use their extension lead with anything else.
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