Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Apple Keyboards and Mice

Apple desktop keyboards suck. When I came back into the office yesterday I plugged an G4 keyboard that we had laying around into my iBook. I'd been using the Dell keyboard which I was issued a couple of years ago with my Latitude D600, but wanted an Apple keyboard with the Apple and Option keys in the right place.

I finally gave up on the Apple keyboard after a day and a half of use. The feel is horrible – mushy with poor tactile feedback. The keyboard on my iBook feels better, as does the one on my brother's 12” PowerBook. I found that with the G4 keyboard I was making a lot more typos than normal. The Dell keyboard is back in place.

The keyboards which came with the G5 towers were very similar to the one I just disconnected. I don't know how the board which come with current Macs are, but I suspect they're basically the same.

Mice and keyboards are Apple's biggest weak points. Everything else about their hardware is very well designed. Luckily, Macs Just Work with regular USB keyboards and mice intended for Windows boxen. On a PC keyboard, the Windows key subs for the Apple key, and the ALT key subs for they Option key. Two-button mice work without any special configuration; I've used a Logitech and currently have a Dell mouse plugged into my iBook.

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