I made the purchase of the Apple wireless keyboard late last week with the intentions of giving you lovely people my first impressions of this keyboard. However, that never materialised because of a few circumstances out of my control. The keyboard costs £57 in the United Kingdom and $69 in the United States. This article will be a mix of first impressions and the little niggles that I am finding with the keyboard. I am more than well aware that I will be called an Apple “fanboy” if I give this keyboard a good to decent rating and that I will be called an Apple “hater” if I dare to give my honest opinion on the product. The only detail that has been overlooked is the fact that I couldn’t care less. This is an honest review from my perspective.
The Apple Experience
I decided to test this keyboard out in one of my local Apple stores because there was enough doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t like it. So I thought that I would go to a store to see and test the keyboard to see if I would be fast enough with it and if it would suit my purposes — my purposes being writing these articles with something ultimately more portable than a laptop. I have heard many complain about not being able to touch type on the iPad’s on-screen keyboard and I have never had a problem with it. I’d just rather use a physical keyboard when I am typing out articles — I’m sure that’s an autistic trait in some form or another.
The front of house staff were pleasant enough with Apple taking the decision to “walk the walk” with regards to how its computers can be used in a sales environment (there were iPads telling you what every product was, how much they were, and even giving you the option to call over a specialist without the need to walk over and ask). The store staff do not crowd you and force you to make a decision. I believe that the Apple retail mantra is that you do not need to sell an Apple product but that it will sell itself. I could be wrong in that aspect, but I believe that is the mantra.
I was — and still am — surprised by just how small and compact the keyboard is, but it still manages to keep full-sized keys and is actually larger than the keys and key-spacing on my regular workhorse, a wired and cheap Logitech keyboard. The keys have nice tactile feedback as well as a quiet — but still audible — click. It really feels like a nice and stable platform to do typing on. Syncing the keyboard to my iPad 2 was as simple as you would expect from Apple and I have no complaints with that. The only two complaints I have with the keyboard are the opening of the battery compartment is a bit fiddly — but that could just be me being pedantic — and the on/off button is a little too easy to push by accident. I managed to push it by accident this morning, but thanks to the tactile feedback, I realised almost instantly.
I probably am being a little too pedantic with this review, but these little things will annoy me when I am using this device. It wouldn’t be fair if I said that this keyboard is good just because it comes from Apple. However, this keyboard feels nice and is certainly comfortable to type on even if you are — as I am currently — out and about yet still working. The main annoyance about this keyboard is the placement of the @ and ” keys. In the United Kingdom, they swap places from our American counterparts. The ” key should be on the 2 key and the @ key should be with the ‘ key. This keyboard is supposed to be the “British layout,” but it will take some getting used to since it’s more akin to the American layout. There are a few reviews on apple.com that say that the spacebar doesn’t work if you hit it anywhere bar dead centre. I can tell you that they are mistaken; the spacebar works no matter where you hit it!
There are also reviews which state that there is no delete key. This is not completely accurate. There is a delete key, but it is deleting backwards (it’s the backspace key) and to get that key to delete forwards (your typical DEL key), you will have to use the “shift delete” method. I can understand why there was an outcry from the Apple faithful about the lack of a typical delete key. However, If you have been taught how to touch type, then you’ll more than likely use the backspace key instead of the typical delete key as it is faster and more efficient! If you find the typical delete key more efficient, then this keyboard is not for you.
- It’s an Apple product
- It’s got nice tactile and audible feedback
- The battery lasts a long time (anywhere between a week and a month)
- It’s small and thin
- Connecting via Bluetooth is easy
- It’s an Apple product
- It’s expensive at £57
- The on/off button is too easily pressed by accident
- The battery cover can be a little fiddly to get back on
- In the UK the @ and ” keys are in the wrong place, and I did buy the “British version”
I do like this keyboard and think that I can certainly use it to type out many articles. However, there are a few niggles that could perhaps be fixed by Apple. The main annoyance is the @ and ” keys being in their American position. The rest of the keyboard and its layout are nice enough and certainly feel sturdy enough. The keyboard is also amazingly light! You do feel like if you don’t type hard enough the keyboard will just float away of its own accord! I’d give this keyboard four Chris Pirillo heads out of five. There are certainly some improvements that can be made to this keyboard, and I hope Apple will listen. What’s your favorite keyboard and why?