Apple’s newest iteration of their wireless keyboard is one of the best pieces of design to have ever come out of Cupertino. For the past year this slim aluminum-milled chiclet-styled keyboard commands a central position on my desk (unlike, that is, any Apple mouse). It is simply one of those products that is so well made that if they end production I might have to buy several as replacements.
The minimalist design has been boiled down to the essence of a functioning keyboard. It lacks a numeric keypad (a feature that can only be found on Apple’s wired keyboard but that I have no need for anyway). It has none of the unnecessary battery draining features found on other third party wireless keyboards and features only one LED (for caps lock). This means that the keyboard can run for several months on two rechargeable AA batteries (I have charged it twice in 12 months) without ever having to turn it off. The pint-sized (12.8″ x 7.3″ x 1.4″) 11.5 ounce keyboard is dwarfed by other monster desktop keyboards but holds its own and has the added benefit of being small enough to slip into a laptop bag for on-the-go use alongside any Bluetooth-enabled device.
Outside of aesthetics, the keyboard provides one of the most pleasant tactile writing experiences. The angle of the keyboard’s surface (formed by the battery compartment) is perfect for extended periods of writing. The thin aluminum edge at the front keeps the keyboard close to the desk allowing my wrist to rest directly on the table unlike other raised keyboards and doesn’t dig into my skin or limit circulation. In addition, after a year of hard use (I am tough on my keyboards) it looks brand new with no wear showing on the keys. And because it doesn’t have the deep crevices between keys there is little room for cruff to get caught, and a simple spray with compressed air eliminates any residue.
Typing is fluid and easy and I believe Apple has perfected the amount of pressure required to push the keys down. The sound of typing is minimal and not distracting like some of the other hammer keys out there. Simply put, it is one of those products that disappears when in use, allowing you to do what you need to do efficiently.
As far as its wireless capabilities, the range of the Bluetooth wireless signal is impressive. I have managed to use it to pause music playing from two stories up (around 30 ft away). I was wary of using Bluetooth because in the past I have found it to be finicky, but in a year of use I haven’t had a single connection problem.
While many may groan at the sight of an expensive Apple product, I believe this keyboard is a peacemaker. It isn’t OS X exclusive (for those on PCs, the Apple-centric function keys simply revert to traditional F1-F12), it won’t require you to relearn how to use a computer, and it doesn’t even have an visible Apple logo (for all the haters out there).
But above all else it is the best keyboard I have ever had the pleasure of using.