Apple Aluminum Keyboard (USB)

I needed a new USB keyboard for my iMac. Long story short – can’t boot from CD, alternate disk, or alternate partition with a wireless keyboard by holding the option or “c” keys. It’s a real pain to move a USB keyboard around and with Boot Camp being added to the iMac it was time for a change. A wireless mouse makes sense for me, but the keyboard cable won’t be in the way. My existing USB keyboard was bought for emergencies and was therefore the cheapest I could get. Not a daily user.

I’d already seen the keyboards at the Apple store and knew the key travel and feel was good. Still, the keyboard seemed like it might be too low to be comfortable at my desk and for extended use. That wasn’t something I could easily tell at the Apple store. I was a bit concerned that Apple chose form over function. Yet I liked their Mighty Mouse (I think I might be one of the few who like it) so I decided to take a chance and ordered the $49 Apple Aluminum Keyboard.

It arrived Friday, I hooked it up Saturday and I’ve been using it since. The bottom line is I really like typing on it. I find I type faster on it. Although, with the quality of my typing that isn’t always a good thing, yet I do seem to be making fewer typos too, at least I’m hitting the keys more squarely. (My previous keyboard was the previous model wireless keyboard.)

Installation was a bit annoying. There’s no software in the box but I knew there were updates. So after plugging it it I ran software update. Sure enough, the Keyboard Software Update 1.2 was waiting for me. All 26MB of it. So I installed it. My normal practice with most new software and hardware is to use the default settings for awhile and so far I’m still on the defaults.

Some things will take getting used to. The hardware functions (eject CD/DVD, volume, pause/play, etc…) share the function keys. In addition to the old hardware keys Apple has added screen brightness, FF, RW, Pause/Play, expose and dashboard. I find it interesting screen brightness gets two keys (one increase, one decrease). I can’t remember the last time I changed my screen brightness. This is a desktop keyboard, I doubt many people will move it around. By default the hardware functions take precedence and the <fn> key must be held to use the “F” keys. This can be swapped in system preferences.

As I mentioned there’s an <fn> key which is new. Also new are the <F17>, <F18>, and <F19> keys. The command key loses the Apple logo and gets the word “command” in it’s place. The <F7>, <F8> and <F9> keys have the new hardware functions of rewind, pause/play and fast forward.

It still annoys me that there’s no num lock key and the numeric keypad doesn’t work under Windows (Parallels or Boot Camp) but it’s not a huge issue since I’m rarely in Windows and it’s even rarer for me to be doing data entry. Still, I’m annoyed.

The only thing I ordered was the Apple keyboard yet the box it came in was huge. The keyboard was on the bottom, almost lost underneath balls of brown packing paper. Then I opened the first brown box only to find a smaller box inside. This box finally had the keyboard.

The keyboard includes a USB extender in the event the attached cable is too short.

I’m extremely happy with Apple’s new Aluminum keyboard and find it a pleasure to type on. My concerns of it being being too low were unwarranted.

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