Apple Hates Caps Lock

180px-applecapslock.jpgThere’s nothing worse than randomly turning on Caps Lock in the middle of writTING A DOCUMENT AND SUDDENLY YOU TYPE LIKE THIS.

To combad that problem, it would appear that Apple has made it hard to turn on Caps Lock on its new thinline keyboards that shipped with the iMac. Wolf Rentzsch discovered the change:

I’ve discovered something shocking. An anti-Caps Lock conspiracy silently bubbling up from the darkest trenches inside Apple:

Apple’s Caps Lock key has undocumented anti-jab protection.

Unique among the rest of the keys, Caps Lock doesn’t activate immediately upon strike. There’s a very small time window perhaps a quarter of a second where if you release the key inside the window, the keystroke is ignored.

He even shot a video to show how it works. Apple — they think of everything.

Via Daring Fireball

Image from Wikipedia

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  • Jon

    Well, good Lord! Just tried it and you’re right! Amazing :-)

  • Thom

    Brilliant. I’ve actually removed my caps lock key because I was so fed up of this.

  • Ian

    I removed my caps lock key too. I’m counting the days to getting the new keyboard.

  • Zang

    I’m not surprised. UI people have been talking about the uselessness of capslock for years, and have been itching to get rid of it (and other symbols like the tilde ) from the standard QWERTY keyboard for a while.

    Apple actually applies the same “timed keypress” for the eject key. A simple bump will not eject a disc, you’ve got to hold it down a second.

  • joemsak

    They did this with the “EJECT” button, too. It took me a while to get used to it, and in fact, I thought my eject button was broken for a while! But I love it now!

  • Ken

    Or you could just remap it to Control. >:)

  • seth

    neat, i kinda want one of those new laptops now; which the wireless one had a numpad though :/

  • Rich

    Didn’t Apple do this to the Eject key too ?

    I noticed a while ago you have to hold it down just a couple milli seconds longer now than you used to

  • Jimmi

    Sweet! I wished they had that on the laptops. I have that problem with my iBook. The notebook keys are too small.

  • imajoebob

    If somebody asks you why you bought a Mac, don’t bother with all the stability, virus resistance, quality stuff. Just tell them about this, and ask if this is the kind of thought they put into something so minor, how well do you think the big stuff works?

    “Sweat the details”

  • fukijama

    Any chance they can retrofit our macs for this with a firmware update? :-)

  • GoofyMonkey

    frrreeeeeeDDDOOOOMMM!

  • sdude

    what the heck is wrong with the tilde? it’s shorthand for approx. (my understanding of it anyway). i have used it off and on for ~ 20 years. i feel like starting a “save the tilde” campaign

  • KlausG

    The Japanese layout of the new keyboard not only features the “anti-jab protection” but also places the caps lock on the right side – in safe distance from the shift key.

  • Steve

    Re the tilde, how will I navigate to my webspace on multi-user computers (http://server.com/~steve)
    Or my home directory when I scp: scp something.txt steve@server:~/somefolder/
    Or approximate my age? I am ~25

    Save the tilde!

  • Tice

    There’s an easy solution to deactivate the CAPS-Lock key. Just open system preferences – keyboard & mouse – special keys (I guess) where you can deactivate it. Simple and good.

    http://blog.tice.de/beitrag.ph

About the author

Pete Mortensen

Pete Mortensen is a design strategist for consulting firm Jump Associates and the co-author of Wired to Care: How Companies Prosper When They Create Widespread Empathy, a book and blog that are significantly more interesting than you might initially think. Pete's particular Apple avocations are both around design--interface and industrial. Follow him on Twitter!

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