As anyone will admit, the new iMacs look stunning. But since I’m not in the market for a new computer, it’s the new keyboard that has my attention.
Since I already have a wireless desktop I didn’t even consider the new wired keyboard. But that doesn’t make the wireless version the obvious choice. Because – unlike white plastic keyboards of yesterday – there is a big difference between these new wired and wireless keyboards.
The wired keyboard connects via USB 2.0 and has a full complement of keys, including document navigation controls, a numeric keypad, and special function keys for Mac features such as brightness, volume, eject, play/pause, ExposÃ©, and more.
The wireless one connects via Bluetooth 2.0, and in the words of Apple –
Giving you the freedom to work or play up close or across the room. […] Intelligent power management conserves battery life by automatically powering down the keyboard when you’re not using it and turning it on the instant you start typing.
But the big blaring difference between the two is the missing buttons over on the right hand side. Primarily there’s no delete and there’s no number pad; supposedly for the sake of mobility.
Form and Function
What did Apple have in mind when designing the wireless keyboard?
- Mobility: During the keynote Steve told us that a lot of people get the bluetooth keyboard so they can put it on their laps. Say hu? I highly doubt that. I don’t know one person who owns a bluetooth keyboard for use on their lap. Just try it for a minute. It’s uncomfortable and un-natural. You can’t type from there, and the mouse is now 18 inches away instead of 6. It also says on Apple’s website that you can “work from across the room”. I like the ability to move my keyboard around if I need to, but I’ve never wanted to type up a word document from 8 feet away. We all know that the reason we go wireless is so we can be just that: wireless.
- Battery Life: It seems as if this was Apple’s primary influence for the design of the new wireless keyboard. It only needs 3 AA batteries instead of four, and it has a new intelligent power management which conserves battery life by turning off the keyboard when you’re not using it. But honestly, I don’t think battery life is much of an issue. I have Apple’s original bluetooth keyboard and only replace the batteries about once every 6-8 weeks. My bluetooth MightMouse uses more batteries than that.
Same Trick. New Product.
I was actually surprised to see a wireless version of the new keyboard get released today.
I assumed the new keyboard refresh would be the same as when the MightyMouse came out.
If you remember – when Apple introduced the MightyMouse you could only get it as a USB device. It was until a few months later that Apple released the bluetooth version. So if you wanted a bluetooth mouse bad enough then you had to get the original single button.
The new wireless keyboard is just like that single button wireless mouse was. It’s missing some unnecessary features, but who cares?! It’s bluetooth!