eBay Purchase Price: $230.50 AUD
Country of Origin: Australia
A recent purchase that happened to be from the same seller I bought my Macintosh LC II. I don’t see too many of these around, and even more so complete with box and no missing items. This keyboard dates back to 1992 when it was priced at $219 US, a couple of years before Microsoft released their Natural Keyboard, both aimed at improving ergonomics for touch typists.
Opening the trapezoid-shaped box, everything is placed over three layers reminding me of a Japanese bento lunch. One contains the primary keyboard with palm rests, another with the extended keypad and its own palm rest, and finally the driver disk, cables, and paperwork in another.
The keyboard felt sturdy, thanks to having a metal backplate to support adjustments to the angle of the keys. The palm rests are prone to come off easily upon lifting the keyboard though. As with Apple’s Extended Keyboard of the same era, I find it lovely to type on as the Alps switches give it a mechanical key feeling. However, the layout of keys in conjunction with the keypad would take a little getting used to. The escape and function keys are not traditional keys nor placed in their usual place. It’s also somewhat unusual to be given 15 instead of the standard 12 function keys, though could be handy if one wanted to assign AppleScript macros for specific tasks. A thin piece of clear plastic is held by pegs over the function and special keys (e.g. Home and Page Up etc.) that can be taken off to label the keys if you wish to do so. Sound volume and record buttons also feature to the right hand side of the keyboard.
Connecting to a Macintosh was via the typical ADB (Apple Desktop Bus) port and only required System 6.0.7 or later installed. Both the keyboard and keypad have ADP ports on either side offer flexibility as to how you wish to have it positioned with your mouse. Below are snippets taken out of the user’s guide illustrating different combinations and suggestions on when you might want to use one.
I’ll be looking at plugging this into a beige Power Macintosh G3 when it arrives in the mail.
InfoWorld’s May 1993 issue had a short dedicated review, mostly focussing on the negatives with this keyboard.