Wednesday, November 11, 2015

On Keyboards and Thinness

Riccardo Mori:

The other day, my friend Alex Roddie pointed me to this article on MacRumors: Apple Patents Switch-Less Force Touch Keyboard, Could Lead to Thinner Macs. Alex’s further comments were: I know Apple patents things all the time, but this one seems particularly ominous. — I think they have an end goal in mind of paper-thin (or completely insubstantial) computers for the sake of fashion. — And the rest of the industry will inevitably copy Apple, as it always has.


Except for the PowerBook Duo 280c and the eMate 300, typing on all these keyboards has been, overall, a great experience and a better experience for my fingers, hands, and wrists than typing on more recent Apple keyboards. In some cases — like the PowerBook G3 and the iBook — the shape and design of the laptop’s top case really helps and works in synergy with the keyboard in making the typing experience pleasant. It is precisely the absence of thinness and flatness (of the computer and the keys) that makes typing better.


Perhaps all these keyboard designs weren’t as stylish as the latest flat and thin Apple trend, but they were certainly keyboards that did their job quite well, no matter how long the typing session. And, most importantly, they were keyboards that didn’t need ‘adjusting’. I spent years typing on them and my fingers, hands, wrists are still pain-free and stress-free. Three days typing on a 12-inch retina MacBook, and my fingertips hurt as if I had been tapping on a block of marble.

After trying the new MacBook keyboard, I share his concern about the future of Apple keyboards. However, I don’t miss the old Apple notebook keyboards at all. In my view, the current MacBook Air/Pro and non-magic wireless keyboards are terrific.

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[…] I fear that Apple is going to trade some or all of those for thinness, while also making the keyboard and trackpad […]

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