I've recently (December 2022) learned that Apple no longer sells wired keyboards. My touch-typing has become extremely optimized for one of their USB keyboards and I'd like to find a suitable replacement. I use older Linux hardware, so anything with a battery or wireless-only features is not suitable, nor am I interested in increasing the number of adapters and dongles in my apartment to fit a new wireless keyboard to older hardware (these can be lost, and introduce points of failure).
I do not know the official name/# of this model, but it can be described as: Aluminum body, USB-A cable, ANSI layout, shallow profile, slight angle, thin keys, numeric keypad, and essentially indestructible until you spill coffee on it.
I would like a replacement that replicates the discontinued keyboard in terms of
- Wrist and posture ergonomics: A similarly shallow profile and slight angle, identical hand position when typing.
- Matching kinematics: Keys of comparable size, position, thickness, force profiles, travel distances, and acoustic and mechanical properties associate with key-press and release.
- Matching features: USB-A ANSI layout with navigation keys and numeric keypad.
- Nothing too lightweight: something that will stay in place on the desk.
- No wireless features or batteries, thank you very much.
- Durable enough to last ten years with a fair amount of mechanical abuse.
Nice to haves:
- Coffee proof
- Easy to source in the UK
- From a manufacturer with a good reputation for buy-it-for life hardware, professionalism in business transactions, and respecting their users.
- Backlit? Maybe? If it can be achieved without compromising performance/durability?
Would anyone happen to know of any keyboards that approximate these specifications?
I can provide arguments defending my sensorimotor inflexibility and arbitrary hardware preferences, but I trust this community is sufficiently familiar with diversity, both neurological and in terms of practical and aesthetic technology preferences (:
Other possibly relevant notes:
- The keyboard will be used with older PCs running Linux
- I'll need to buy it in the UK, but really do need the ANSI layout: I cannot for the life of me type on the ISO layouts with their weird vertical enter key (it requires shifting hand position on the home row and violates some other textbook best-practices for human-computer interface design). I spent three years trying: Thought-train derailing typos every three minutes, and never recovered typing proficiency. Everything went back to normal when I switched back to ANSI. I guess a neuroplasticity window closed.
- I have looked on Ebay for old copies of the desired model, but the ANSI version just isn't common in the UK secondary market.
- US layout preferred but as long as the key geometry matches the form US-layout USB-A ANSI Apple aluminum keyboard with numeric keypad, it will be good.
Before @Tetsujin's answer, I impulse bought an aluminum keyboard from a company called Matias, which claimed to be making clones of Apple's old keyboards. The keyboard arrived. It resembles the apple keyboard, but isn't sparking joy.
- Yes, the key spacing and profile matches, but the manufacturing quality is simply good, not excellent. The keys themselves are not uniformly aligned with the cutouts in the aluminum plate.
- The keys feel "off". I'm not sure what it is, it feels like they are slightly higher, or have slightly further travel distance, or are in some other way weightier and more sluggish. I keep glancing the edges of the keys, suggesting they have further travel distance or are less rounded on the edges. Apple keyboards do wear in over time, so part of this might be me comparing an aged Apple keyboard with something new. But we'll see. There was just something about the old Apple keyboards that allowed extremely rapid typing (I suspect it was minimizing the weight of the keys, and optimizing the travel distance and force to provide unambiguous tactile feedback while minimizing force and motion)
However, I can confirm, per @Tetsujin's answer, that the keyword "Apple A1243 US" does return some suppliers on eBay within the UK. I will be ordering one of those now.
In the long term, the secondary market for "Apple A1243 US" will dry up, in which case the search remains open for a keyboard that is:
- Robust, Low profile, high-quality ANSI 109-key layout or similar with
- Spacing, height, force, travel distance comparable to Apple's old keyboards
I suspect that the answer is pretty simple and there are some default keyboards e.g. from Dell or something that will meet these requirements with a bit of "neural recalibration".
I think for my purposes the low profile, low force, and low travel distances, will be the most important for preventing inflammation and pain in the small joints of the fingers. Obviously matching other aspects of geometry and kinematics would be a plus for allowing over-trained touch-typing motor programs to transfer, but I'll admit that other physical parameters might allow even fast pain-free typing with some practice.