New wired aluminum keyboard - USB issue

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
I've seen bits and pieces about this issue in other threads but there doesn't seem to be any one thread specifically about this. People need to be warned that the new wired keyboard does not work as advertised with all Macs. Specifically... I believe that the HUB is non-powered USB 1.1 with G5 iMacs. Apple just added this note to the keyboard page on their website...



"* Devices that draw high power from the USB connection, such as iPods, hard drives and some flash drives, can only be used with the new keyboard when it is attached to the aluminum iMac."



I have a G5 iMac and I was shocked that even my tiny little flash drive could not be "powered". That was the ONE thing I was looking forward to using those ports for. I was very upset. I had a wireless before... so I was really looking forward to no longer having to dig around back to plug in my USB flash drive. Now... instead of gaining two USB ports... I've actually lost one.... essentially. Now... in the back 3... I have:



- USB Hub (1.1... 2.0 hubs were rare when I bought this iMac)

- Cable for my digital camera (so I can transfer at 2.0 speeds)

- The new Keyboard



So now... not only do I have to dig around behind my computer to plug in my USB thumb drive... now I have to UNPLUG the digital camera cable first. Jezz.



Anyway... this is what I would like to see from Apple...



1. A LIST showing EXACTLY what the keyboard it capable of with every iMac model (i.e... is the keyboard hub 1.1 or 2.0 and will "powered" devices work when connected to a G5 iMac)



2. A LIST of exactly what USB flash drives WILL work when your keyboard is hooked up to an older machine. I don't care about "high power"... I don't even had an iPod... but if my keyboard hub DOES run at 2.0 and there are flash drives that WILL work with it... I will go out and buy a new flash drive.



I'm still scratching my head as to how my tiny little 4GB Sandisk Cruzier Mirco can be considered a "High Power" device?!?!?! But I guess... if the hub is 1.1 anyway (still not clear on that)... then it doesn't matter anyway.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    There is no way that any hub manufacturer would provide an exact list of supported and unsupported devices. There are simply too many combinations of computers providing the power and devices consuming power. The best anyone can do is suggest which categories of devices won't work and which are likely not to work.
  • Reply 2 of 26
    takeotakeo Posts: 415member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dfiler View Post


    There is no way that any hub manufacturer would provide an exact list of supported and unsupported devices. There are simply too many combinations of computers providing the power and devices consuming power. The best anyone can do is suggest which categories of devices won't work and which are likely not to work.



    That would be fine too. It would just be nice to have some idea of which flash drives might work and which might not. All Apple says is that "some" flash drives might not work. That was one of the main reasons I bought this keyboard... was so I would no longer have to dig around behind my iMac to plug in my flash drive. Pretty shitty if you ask me.
  • Reply 3 of 26
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    That list would have to be cross-referenced to every model of computer because the computer's usb power circuitry is the bottleneck here. Imagine the costs involved in testing every combination. On top of that, differing use patterns would draw different amounts of power. Meaning, that even after testing, they could only suggest which devices might work with which computer.



    If absolutely all usb ports and devices were engineered and manufactured to tighter tolerances, guaranteed compatibility would be possible. But unfortunately that just isn't the nature of usb.
  • Reply 4 of 26
    takeotakeo Posts: 415member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dfiler View Post


    That list would have to be cross-referenced to every model of computer because the computer's usb power circuitry is the bottleneck here. Imagine the costs involved in testing every combination. On top of that, differing use patterns would draw different amounts of power. Meaning, that even after testing, they could only suggest which devices might work with which computer.



    If absolutely all usb ports and devices were engineered and manufactured to tighter tolerances, guaranteed compatibility would be possible. But unfortunately that just isn't the nature of usb.



    I'm not disagreeing with you. How about this... if anyone out there HAS a flash drive (2-4 GB) that works on the new keyboard with an old iMac... let me know what model it is so I can buy one. Bottom line is... I find it pretty crazy that a tiny little memory chip is considered a "High Power" device. And Apple is guilty (on the store page at least) of false advertising.
  • Reply 5 of 26
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    I understand your frustration but that page clearly says that "some flash drives" can't be powered through the keyboard. (unless you have an Al iMac)
  • Reply 6 of 26
    takeotakeo Posts: 415member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dfiler View Post


    I understand your frustration but that page clearly says that "some flash drives" can not be powered from your computer.



    FYI... that text was a VERY recent addition... precisely BECAUSE apple has been getting a FLOOD of complaints from people who have come across this issue. That note was NOT on the keyboard page OR the store page when I bought the keyboard. It was only added yesterday. Up until yesterday, the page said ONLY this about the USB hub...



    "Two USB 2.0 ports enable you to easily connect your Mighty Mouse as well as a high-speed peripheral such as a digital camera or printer."



    Again, the only added the disclaimed sometime within the past 24 hours.
  • Reply 7 of 26
    takeotakeo Posts: 415member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Takeo View Post


    FYI... that text was a VERY recent addition... precisely BECAUSE apple has been getting a FLOOD of complaints from people who have come across this issue. That note was NOT on the keyboard page OR the store page when I bought the keyboard. It was only added yesterday. Up until yesterday, the page said ONLY this about the USB hub...



    "Two USB 2.0 ports enable you to easily connect your Mighty Mouse as well as a high-speed peripheral such as a digital camera or printer."



    Again, the only added the disclaimed sometime within the past 24 hours.



    Actually... they changed the copy more than I thought. They added the disclaimer... but they ALSO removed the copy about the port being able to power in iPhone or iPod... which it cannot do on ANY machine. Up until yesterday, the store page said you could run an iPod or iPhone from the keyboard.
  • Reply 8 of 26
    jasenj1jasenj1 Posts: 903member
    That seems pretty odd. The power drain of various devices ought to be pretty knowable. Can't they just rate the keyboard/hub with something like "supports up to 500mA of power"?



    - Jasen.
  • Reply 9 of 26
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dfiler View Post


    I understand your frustration but that page clearly says that "some flash drives" can't be powered through the keyboard. (unless you have an Al iMac)



    That''s what I love about Forums.



    You seem to be able to read enough to get the wrong end of the stick but not the actual words of the poster, which were quite clear. Preconception overruling perspicuity.



    Apple by contrast, not believing in perspicuity, is a master of the misleading loud suggestion of superior performance with sotto voce caveats to catch out their consumers. Using webpages, which are highly editable, facilitate this and they have drifted away from posting pdf specifications which could be held against them.



    I take it as a very long term Apple user that there always is a catch, having run into nearly all of them at one stage or another.
  • Reply 10 of 26
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gastroboy View Post


    That''s what I love about Forums.



    You seem to be able to read enough to get the wrong end of the stick but not the actual words of the poster, which were quite clear. Preconception overruling perspicuity.



    Apple by contrast, not believing in perspicuity, is a master of the misleading loud suggestion of superior performance with sotto voce caveats to catch out their consumers. Using webpages, which are highly editable, facilitate this and they have drifted away from posting pdf specifications which could be held against them.



    I take it as a very long term Apple user that there always is a catch, having run into nearly all of them at one stage or another.



    Ironically, your rant about perspicuity is non-perspicuitous simply by using the word perspicuity.



    Perhaps you missed how he clarified that Apple had indeed changed their advertising. They advertised non-existent functionality for a few days before fixing the problem. Solution? Refunds for people who were misled and no longer want the keyboard. I don't think apple would have any problem with that.



    However, there is still no way that any hub manufacturer is going to test the power output of every computer and then cross-referenced that with the power consumption of every usb device.
  • Reply 11 of 26
    l33r0yl33r0y Posts: 94member
    Quote:

    "Two USB 2.0 ports enable you to easily connect your Mighty Mouse as well as a high-speed peripheral such as a digital camera or printer."



    In theory the above is correct, provided the second device gets its power requirements from anywhere except the USB bus.



    What I would like Apple to do is to detail exactly how much mA are available for other USB devices once the wired mighty mouse is used, so we'll have a better idea what unpowered devices can be plugged into the second USB socket in this typical configuration - (i.e. 500mA - [combined draw from keyboard and MM]). In theory, any non-bus powered device should be usable with no issues.



    Takeo, have you considered using a bluetooth mouse, therefore freeing both USB ports AND allowing the full USB power minus only the draw from the keyboard?
  • Reply 12 of 26
    sequitursequitur Posts: 1,892member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gastroboy View Post


    That''s what I love about Forums.



    You seem to be able to read enough to get the wrong end of the stick but not the actual words of the poster, which were quite clear. Preconception overruling perspicuity.



    Eschew obfuscation. Elucidate perspicaciously.
  • Reply 13 of 26
    From http://www.apple.com/keyboard/



    *Devices that draw high power from the USB connection, such as iPods, hard drives and some flash drives, can only be used with the new keyboard when it is attached to the aluminum iMac.
  • Reply 14 of 26
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dfiler View Post


    Perhaps you missed how he clarified that Apple had indeed changed their advertising.



    Didn't miss it at all.



    Perhaps he just lacked the elementary skill of being able to see into the future when he bought it.
  • Reply 15 of 26
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rychencop View Post


    From http://www.apple.com/keyboard/



    *Devices that draw high power from the USB connection, such as iPods, hard drives and some flash drives, can only be used with the new keyboard when it is attached to the aluminum iMac.



    Did you even read the thread before posting that? Hint: The original poster mentioned that in his first post. I commented on the text as well. At which point the original poster confirmed that the text was added recently. (and even clarified that in his first post)



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gastroboy View Post


    Didn't miss it at all.



    Perhaps he just lacked the elementary skill of being able to see into the future when he bought it.



    It seems you're trying to argue about something on which there isn't disagreement.
  • Reply 16 of 26
    kennywrxkennywrx Posts: 141member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Takeo View Post


    I find it pretty crazy that a tiny little memory chip is considered a "High Power" device.



    Actually, it is NOT a high power device. If it works with the Alum iMacs but not with the G5s, it may just be a software/firmware issue. We'll have to wait and see...
  • Reply 17 of 26
    I suspect, although I could be wrong, that one might overcome the limitation by connecting the keyboard to a powered USB hub.
  • Reply 18 of 26
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by KennyWRX View Post


    Actually, it is NOT a high power device. If it works with the Alum iMacs but not with the G5s, it may just be a software/firmware issue. We'll have to wait and see...



    I think it may be that the new iMac's circuitry has higher current ports intended to support a wider range of devices through the keyboard's ports. That would explain the disclaimers.
  • Reply 19 of 26
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    I think it may be that the new iMac's circuitry has higher current ports intended to support a wider range of devices through the keyboard's ports. That would explain the disclaimers.



    But then this implies that the G5 are not able to power devices like USB flash drives and portable HDs... is this true?
  • Reply 20 of 26
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by KennyWRX View Post


    But then this implies that the G5 are not able to power devices like USB flash drives and portable HDs... is this true?



    They can power it single devices, but the difference is that the keyboard acts as an unpowered hub. The new keyboard acts as a USB 2 hub now, the old one was USB 1. USB 2 allows higher power draw, and the port on the computer needs to be able to handle the keyboard and two devices that might have a higher power draw.
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