Sure way to improve Macs - keyboard design

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
I've just got my first Mac - a shiny new MacBook Pro. I'm very pleased with it, using it for fun and a back-up for work, most of which is done on my HP desktop. Zero compatibility problems with my Office using clients either so all is good.



What really sucks though is the keyboard. Not anything to do with the Mac specifics of it, but just because it's RECTANGULAR! I've used an ergonomic Natural Keyboard for many years and it is a terrible terrible regression to have to go back to a 'conventional' keyboard layout.



I know that 95% (?) of you use standard keyboards and think that ergonomic ones are for hard-core typists or something, but I am amazed that the industry has not gradually moved closer towards making real ergonomic keyboards (like the split MS 'natural' models) more common.



The day Jonathan Ives and Steve J start using them and get converted (as they could not fail to do), then maybe we'll see Mac do something REALLY brave, and bring out a laptop with a genuine split keyboard and a proper Mac-designed ergo keyboard for iMacs...



But I'm not holding my breath.



What do you think?

Steve

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    irelandireland Posts: 17,785member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bleausarduk View Post


    What really sucks though is the keyboard.



    The MacBook Pro keyboard design is the reason I have not bought one. The next MacBook Pro will have the black Air keyboard, which is 10,000% better. Though by that stage the Mac touch should be just around the corner.
  • Reply 2 of 18
    The Air keyboard will be the same shape, so that will suck too.



    IMHO...
  • Reply 3 of 18
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bleausarduk View Post


    The Air keyboard will be the same shape, so that will suck too.



    IMHO...



    Your O is not so H.



    In a couple years we'll all be using our computers on touch devices so you can arrange your typing keys any way you please.
  • Reply 4 of 18
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bleausarduk View Post


    I've just got my first Mac - a shiny new MacBook Pro. I'm very pleased with it, using it for fun and a back-up for work, most of which is done on my HP desktop. Zero compatibility problems with my Office using clients either so all is good.



    What really sucks though is the keyboard. Not anything to do with the Mac specifics of it, but just because it's RECTANGULAR! I've used an ergonomic Natural Keyboard for many years and it is a terrible terrible regression to have to go back to a 'conventional' keyboard layout.



    I know that 95% (?) of you use standard keyboards and think that ergonomic ones are for hard-core typists or something, but I am amazed that the industry has not gradually moved closer towards making real ergonomic keyboards (like the split MS 'natural' models) more common.



    The day Jonathan Ives and Steve J start using them and get converted (as they could not fail to do), then maybe we'll see Mac do something REALLY brave, and bring out a laptop with a genuine split keyboard and a proper Mac-designed ergo keyboard for iMacs...



    But I'm not holding my breath.



    What do you think?

    Steve



    So the complaint is not against the Mac then, but against ALL laptops, because all laptops use the rectangular layout.



    and if "95%" of us use that, then why would ives and jobs ignore 95% of the market and aim for that 5% that use ergonomic?



    and BTW (mixed metaphors aside) isn't "ergonomic" in the eye of the beholder?
  • Reply 5 of 18
    tailpipetailpipe Posts: 345member
    Personally, I'm looking forward to the day we can input data into a computer using just our thoughts. If that sounds far fetched the ability to read human brainwaves already exists, e.g. through polygraph testing. An in-between technology could be computers that use an onboard camera to lipread or straightforward voice recognition. As so many pundits have suggested, we're still at the dawn of the IT age not anywhere near the end.
  • Reply 6 of 18
    jimzipjimzip Posts: 446member
    I'd be interested to see Apple's take on adding an ergonomic keyboard to their notebook lines (& desktops, but we already know what that would look like..)

    I'm a designer but I'm always typing, and I tend to agree that rectangular is awkward, even though I can now type with my eyes closed, I wouldn't mind learning again if it meant a nicer feel.

    Somehow I don't think this is on Apple's list of priorities, but it would be nice to see.



    Jimzip
  • Reply 7 of 18
    elronelron Posts: 126member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bleausarduk View Post


    I know that 95% (?) of you use standard keyboards and think that ergonomic ones are for hard-core typists or something, but I am amazed that the industry has not gradually moved closer towards making real ergonomic keyboards (like the split MS 'natural' models) more common.



    I've never met anyone who thinks split keyboards are for hardcore typists. Everyone I know that uses them does so because they developed some kind of pain from using standard keyboards (does that make them hardcore typists?). Personally, I find them very uncomfortable and weird. The gigantic spacebars always seem to stick and I don't appreciate the odd size of the keys. I'm sure I could get used to them, but why bother? Anyway, that's just my two cents.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bleausarduk View Post


    The day Jonathan Ives and Steve J start using them and get converted (as they could not fail to do), then maybe we'll see Mac do something REALLY brave, and bring out a laptop with a genuine split keyboard and a proper Mac-designed ergo keyboard for iMacs...



    I think Apple would be wise to make an ergonomic keyboard of some variety, whether it's a split design or something different. That said, I really don't see how anyone will fit a split keyboard on a notebook. Ives is a master of miniaturization, so if anyone can do it, Apple can. I just don't see it happening though.
  • Reply 8 of 18
    mr. memr. me Posts: 3,221member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post


    ..., I'm looking forward to the day we can input data into a computer using just our thoughts....



    That makes nice science fiction, but a poor product. I can't speak for most people, but I can speak for myself. I tend to think about multiple things at once. Thought control requires thinking only about the data being entered into the computer.
  • Reply 9 of 18
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    Don't tell anyone but i snapped this pic while at 1 Infinite Loop this morning. It's the Apple branded Adjustable keyboard:



    [center][/center]
  • Reply 10 of 18
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,503member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Outsider View Post


    Don't tell anyone but i snapped this pic while at 1 Infinite Loop this morning. It's the Apple branded Adjustable keyboard:



    [center][/center]



    And it was a cumbersome piece of crap like all ergonomic keyboards.



    Please oh please!!! This piano I cannot play!! The keys are in a rectangular pattern!!!



    No. you just have no musical talent and can't "type" the keys.
  • Reply 11 of 18
    splinemodelsplinemodel Posts: 7,311member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bleausarduk View Post


    I've just got my first Mac - a shiny new MacBook Pro. ...



    What really sucks though is the keyboard. Not anything to do with the Mac specifics of it, but just because it's RECTANGULAR! I've used an ergonomic Natural Keyboard for many years and it is a terrible terrible regression to have to go back to a 'conventional' keyboard layout.



    How do you expect a split keyboard to be put on a notebook/laptop?



    As far as the desktop keyboards are concerned, you can hook up any number of split keyboards to macs. I don't see how this is a problem: it doesn't need to have an Apple logo on it to work with your mac.
  • Reply 12 of 18
    isomorphicisomorphic Posts: 199member
    I've written millions of lines of code, on every keyboard imaginable, from Apple ][s to giant Sun keyboards with four zillion keys to Model Ms to four different kinds of split ergonomics.



    Right now I'm using the bog-standard last-gen Mac keyboard with the crystal shell. I might be using a Logitech G15, but half the keys don't work, defeating the purpose.



    The MacBook Pro keyboard is very comfortable to type on--IMHO, much better than the MacBook's "chiclet" keyboard. (Note, however, that I also own an Apple Wireless keyboard with the chiclet keys.)



    Like Splinemodel says, those MacBooks come with USB ports. You can plug pretty much anything into them.
  • Reply 13 of 18
    rem#1rem#1 Posts: 67member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Outsider View Post


    Don't tell anyone but i snapped this pic while at 1 Infinite Loop this morning. It's the Apple branded Adjustable keyboard:



    [center][/center]



    Take a look at the Apple symbol, its multi colored, This was a keyboard that apple put out about 15 years ago and they sold very very few. not because it was bad people just didn't want it
  • Reply 14 of 18
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    Well duh. I remember using it on a Centris 610. I was joking. My point was Apple tried this market; why bother when 3rd parties can take care of it so much better now.
  • Reply 15 of 18
    messiahmessiah Posts: 1,689member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Outsider View Post


    Well duh. I remember using it on a Centris 610. I was joking. My point was Apple tried this market; why bother when 3rd parties can take care of it so much better now.



    Oh man, that keyboard is a bast from the past. I bought one and ended-up using it closed all the time because it was so slow, cumbersome and uncomfortable to use it open!



    A complete waste of time (and money).
  • Reply 16 of 18
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Walter Slocombe View Post


    ...and BTW (mixed metaphors aside) isn't "ergonomic" in the eye of the beholder?



    I for one absolutely despise the 'ergonomic' keyboards and find that they tend to be more uncomfortable than ANYTHING I use to type - including a crappy Nokia 2610 keypad.
  • Reply 17 of 18
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Staedtler View Post


    I for one absolutely despise the 'ergonomic' keyboards and find that they tend to be more uncomfortable than ANYTHING I use to type - including a crappy Nokia 2610 keypad.



    Just to give my eurocent to a few of your comments:



    Yes, I know I can plug say, an MS ergonomic keyboard into my MBP, but that kind of defeats the object of a laptop doesn't it.



    How do I expect them to integrate an ergo keyboard into a laptop? I don't know. I'm not a designer. I'll leave it to Mr Ives, I'm sure he can do it.



    And Walter Slocombe said:

    So the complaint is not against the Mac then, but against ALL laptops, because all laptops use the rectangular layout.



    Yes, I guess you're right, but I only have a Mac laptop and I would not expect PC makers to be bold enough to attempt to build an 'ergonomic' laptop for what is still a tiny niche market.



    and if "95%" of us use that, then why would ives and jobs ignore 95% of the market and aim for that 5% that use ergonomic?

    Unfortunately, the same goes for this point. Mac isn't bold enough either. The reactions of the die-hard ergonomics haters on this thread show why. They know people are resistant to change, even when it's good for them! :-)



    and BTW (mixed metaphors aside) isn't "ergonomic" in the eye of the beholder?



    Unless you're some kind of mutant Walter, I don't think so. We are all formed in such a way that certain tools can be shaped to fit the way our bodies will 'naturally' try and carry out certain tasks. Keyboard and mice are classic examples of where that holds true. So i still find it incredible that the industry is still not addressing this - MS's laudable efforts aside - and that so many people still bang on about how about how terrible ergo keyboards are. That you are all USED to your horrible rectangular things and that the transition is painful, OK, but very few people who make it ever look back.

    But as a few people here said, it's almost certainly not on the cards. Sigh...
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