| Cult of Mac

Every keyboard Apple ever made — ranked!

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Mac keyboards in a pile.
Clockwise, from top: Apple Extended Keyboard II, Macintosh Plus Keyboard, Apple Keyboard (G4), Apple Keyboard (Aluminum)
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

In the 40-odd years that the Mac has been on the market, very few people have actually used all of Apple’s keyboards. I haven’t either, but I’ve come close. Here is my review of every Apple keyboard I’ve got my hands on — ranked from worst to best.

Today in Apple history: Apple’s last mechanical keyboard is a winner

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The Apple Extended Keyboard II might be Cupertino's finest keyboard of all time.
This could be the best Apple keyboard ever.
Photo: University of Chicago

November 15: Today in Apple history: Apple Extended Keyboard II is Apple's last (and greatest) mechanical keyboard November 15, 1990: Cupertino wins a design patent for the Apple Extended Keyboard II, arguably the greatest computer keyboard of all time.

Delivering the perfect combination of durability, feel and a pleasing click-clack sound, the Extended Keyboard II will become a mainstay of pro-grade Apple setups during the early 1990s — and perhaps the best-loved keyboard in Apple history. Courtesy of an ADB-to-USB adapter, some people continue to use them today.

Use classic Mac keyboards and mice with these adapters [Review]

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Extended Keyboard II and ADB Mouse II connected to my MacBook Pro and Cinema Display
You can use classic Mac keyboards and mice with a modern machine thanks to clever adapters and apps.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Apple’s modern keyboards are perfectly adequate but pretty unremarkable. They are anything but fun. But thanks to the wide selection of modern USB adapters from TinkerBOY, you can liven up your setup with long-lost keyboards and mice of yore.

You can use the legendary Apple Extended Keyboard II, with its unique key switches that make typing an almost ecstatic experience. You can get an adapter for the original Macintosh Mouse, for clicking and dragging like it’s 1984.

I get a fair share of products for review at Cult of Mac but none had me excitedly checking the mailbox every day like these. Read on for my experience using TinkerBOY’s keyboard and mouse adapters with a modern Mac.

The best keyboard Apple ever made, but smaller? [Review] ★★★★☆

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The Matias keyboard on my desk. The Mac sits on the mStand next to an Apple Cinema Display and Magic Trackpad.★★★★☆
The Matias keyboard is the spiritual successor to the greatest keyboard of all time, the Apple Extended Keyboard II.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

In its entire 46-year history, Apple has made only one truly great keyboard: the Apple Extended Keyboard II. Dating from 1987, the Apple Extended Keyboard II has been dubbed “the greatest computer keyboard of all time.

For me, the Extended Keyboard is the ultimate Goldilocks keyboard: it offers the perfect amount of travel, feel and sound. Alas, it was discontinued in 1994 and Apple hasn’t made a mechanical keyboard — with switches and springs beneath each key — since.

But fear not. The Matias Mini Tactile Pro keyboard is the Extended Keyboard’s spiritual successor: a modern mechanical keyboard in a mini package that plays nice with modern Macs.

But is it any good?

Satechi’s new extended keyboards gives you Apple looks on a budget

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Satechi Aluminum Bluetooth Keyboard
Satechi's Aluminum Bluetooth Keyboard is the perfect match for your Apple setup.
Photo: Satechi

Accessory maker Satechi has been around for years, offering a wide range of charging solutions, headphones, dongles, and computer peripherals for both Mac and PC. Their newest Mac accessories, the Aluminum Bluetooth keyboard and Aluminum USB keyboard offer Apple-inspired design at a fraction of Apple’s keyboard prices.

How to turn Apple’s best keyboard into a fully-functional PC

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The Apple Extended Keyboard II
You can turn your Apple Extended Keyboard into a full computer. Photo: University of Chicago
Photo: University of Chicago

We never cease to be amazed at all the amazing DIY projects that Mac fans do with old Apple hardware. Case in point: see this vintage Apple Extended Keyboard? It’s not hooked to a computer. It is a computer, thanks to the embedded Rapsberry Pi inside.

Das Keyboard Model S Professional For Mac Is Like A Jackhammer For Typing [Review]

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There’s a certain kind of computing nostalgia that holds that the art of typing has been steadily wussified since the late 1980s, when the venerable IBM Model M and Apple Extended Keyboard went out of favor.

These keyboards, it is held, were the last of a breed of keyboards for men. Like a vintage Underwood typewriter, these mechanical marvels were made for those who meant for their words not just to be heard, but to be felt: the hefty chunk of each key smashing into the mechanical switch underneath shouldn’t just make a letter light up on a screen; it should land with such authority it shakes your teeth loose.

For the last month, I’ve been trying to become one of these burly typist he-men. I put my Apple Wireless Keyboard — as pale, thin and pretty as the world’s most anemic twink — and have instead replaced it with the Das Keyboard Model S Professional for Mac. Now when I type, it sounds like ten tiny John Henrys working away under my fingers, pounding spikes through the invisible gold-plated key switches beneath each key.

It’s not really for me. Not most of the time.