Apple Revisits Ergonomics with a New Compact Keyboard
Posted Mar 09 2009 4:10pm
Apple just introduced a wired, compact keyboard that gets rid of the number keypad on the right, making it more ergonomic for users. From my perspective it’s a great step, but not everyone agrees — some rely heavily on those number pads and don’t want to be without one.
The new compact keyboard certainly isn’t Apple’s first attempt toward ergonomics. Early in the 1990s, Apple had an adjustable and compact keyboard (pics here). The early model split in the middle to match the natural spread of a typist’s hands, and didn’t have a side number pad. It wasn’t received well by users, however, in part because it apparently wasn’t durable. Or as Macworld put it, “the most comfortable position for the Apple Adjustable Keyboard was as far away from the user as possible, dooming Apple’s ergonomic wonder to obscurity.”
A while back Apple reintroduced another compact keyboard, but as a wireless keyboard it’s a bit pricier than the new, wired version. The wireless version costs $79, while the new wired version is a good bit less at $49, the same price as the regular number-pad-included keyboard. Check out the Apple store to see them both.
Both keyboards appear similar to other compacts on the market, which range widely in price. For example, you can check out some in our store here for comparison, ranging from off-brand styles at $12, to recognized brand names that come with separate keypads and other features at $82 to $129, like this Kensington one.
Even though lots of third-partyy options are available, it’s nice to see Apple stepping up in its own style to meet the ergonomic needs of users. It’s funny, too, to compare the Apple compact keyboard to Microsoft’s ergonomic, split keyboard. Apple’s is scaled-back, simplistic, and cut down on features, while Microsoft has extra buttons falling off the edges, and a very wide footprint. The different keyboards really illustrate the two very different company’s overall styles.
Being small myself, and a Mac user anyhow, I happen to like Apple’s compact idea better.