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External Apple keyboards
DeveloperApple Inc.
TypeKeyboard
WebsiteApple Mice & Keyboards

Apple Inc. has designed and developed many external keyboard models for use with families of Apple computers, such as the Apple II, Mac, and iPad. The Magic Keyboard and Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad designed to be used via either Bluetooth and USB connectivity, and have integrated rechargeable batteries; The Smart Keyboard and Magic Keyboard accessories for iPads are designed to be directly attached to and powered by a host iPad. All current Apple keyboards utilize low-profile key designs, and common modifier keys.

Layout and features

The modifier keys

To serve the functionality of the Macintosh operating systems (and because of historical differences), the Apple Keyboard's layout differs somewhat from that of the ubiquitous IBM PC keyboard, mainly in its modifier and special keys. Some of these keys have unique symbols defined in the Unicode block Miscellaneous Technical. Features different from other keyboards include:

Image of US keyboard layout

Usage of function keys

F1 F2 F3 F4 F5 F6 F7 F8 F9 F10 F11 F12
(2003–2007) 🔅
Brightness down
🔆
Brightness up
🔇
Mute
 
🔉
Volume
down
🔊
Volume
up
Num Lock Display switch All windows (Exposé) Application windows (Exposé) Show desktop (Exposé) Dashboard
(2007–2011) Exposé Dashboard ⏪️
Rewind
 
⏯️
Play/
pause
⏩️
Fast
forward
🔇
Mute
 
🔉
Volume
down
🔊
Volume
up
MacBook Air (2010) ⏪️
Rewind
 
⏯️
Play/
pause
⏩️
Fast forward
🔇
Mute
 
🔉
Volume
down
🔊
Volume
up
⏏️
Eject
 
(2011–2020) Mission Control Launchpad Keyboard backlight down Keyboard backlight up ⏪️
Rewind
 
⏯️
Play/
pause
⏩️
Fast forward
🔇
Mute
 
🔉
Volume
down
🔊
Volume
up
(2020–) 🔎
Spotlight
🎙️
Dictation
🌙
Do not disturb
(Big Sur)
Focus (Monterey)

Current keyboards

Magic Keyboard (2nd generation)

Main article: Magic Keyboard (Mac)

A green Magic Keyboard (A2450), bundled with the green M1 iMac

The Magic Keyboard is Apple's current design of external keyboards designed for use with Mac computers. It can use either wireless Bluetooth connectivity, or a wired connection via a USB to Lightning cable. It utilizes scissor-switch key mechanisms, and comes in several layouts and colors, including the option of a Numeric Keypad, Touch ID fingerprint authentication, and colors to match each color variant of the M1 iMac.

Smart Keyboard for iPad

iPad Pro (2nd generation) on a Smart Keyboard

Released in November 2015 alongside the iPad Pro (1st generation), the Smart Keyboard is Apple's first keyboard cover accessory for iPad.[7] It is powered by the iPad's Smart Connector, and does not require separate charging or batteries. Its keys use a butterfly-switch mechanism, with its keys covered by a fabric material. When unfolded, the Smart Keyboard only allows for one viewing angle position; when folded, the Smart Keyboard only protects the front of the iPad.[7] The Smart Keyboard is compatible with iPad Pro models from 2015 to 2017, the iPad Air (3rd generation), and iPad models from 2019 to 2021. At release, it received criticism for its high price tag.[7][8]

An updated design, named Smart Keyboard Folio, was released alongside the iPad Pro (3rd generation), with support for two viewing angles and back protection.[9] The Smart Keyboard Folio is compatible with 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models from 2018 and later, and iPad Air models from 2020 and later.

Magic Keyboard for iPad

iPad Air (4th generation) on a black Magic Keyboard

On March 18, 2020, the Magic Keyboard was announced alongside the introduction of mouse cursor support for iPadOS 13, and includes a trackpad and front-and-back protection, as a more capable alternative to the Smart Keyboard.[10] Like the Smart Keyboard, it uses the Smart Connector to draw power, and also comes with a USB-C port for pass-through charging of the iPad Pro. Its keys are backlit and use a scissor-switch mechanism. It attaches magnetically to the iPad Pro or iPad Air, which sits above a cantilever that allows adjusting the viewing angle.[10]

Several revisions of the Magic Keyboard have been released, in black and white colors, and are compatible with 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models from 2018 and later, and 10.9-inch iPad Air models from 2020 and later. A non-floating version, named Magic Keyboard Folio, was released for the iPad (10th generation).[11]

The new thinner design Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro 11-inch and 13-inch (exclusively with M4 chip) was introduced on May 5, 2024, with the general availability on May 15, 2024. It features the larger trackpad with haptic feedback and the 14-key function row previously used on the iPad (10th generation).

Discontinued keyboards

Apple Numeric Keypad II (A2M0056)

Apple Numeric Keypad II
Apple Numeric Keypad II

The Numeric Keypad II was Apple's first external keypad. Originally created by Micheal Muller at The Keyboard Company in 1977 at the request from Steve Jobs for the Apple II. In 1980, Apple purchased The Keyboard Company and became the Accessory Products Division.[12][13]

Apple Numeric Keypad IIe (A2M2003)

Apple Numeric Keypad IIe

The Numeric Keypad IIe was released as an option specifically for the popular Apple IIe computer in 1983, it helped correct some of the II series' shortcomings. Later, the Platinum IIe would incorporate the numeric keypad into its built-in keyboard.

Lisa Keyboard (A6MB101)

Lisa Keyboard with Lisa Mouse

The first keyboard not to be integrated into the case like the Apple II and III series before it. It was designed for and came with the Apple Lisa. Like the Apple III before it, it was intended to be a business computer and included an integrated numeric keypad. Like all Apple computers before it, it came in a beige case to match the Lisa and connected by a unique TRS connector. In addition it carried over the use of the "open" Apple key from the Apple III as a command key (though it was represented by the "closed" Apple character) and included a pullout reference guide hidden under the keyboard.

Macintosh Keyboard (M0110)

An ISO-layout Macintosh Keyboard

Introduced and included with the original Macintosh in 1984, it debuted with neither arrow keys to control the cursor nor an integrated numeric keypad. It used a telephone cord-style RJ-11 connector to the case (also used with the Amstrad PCW series of computers). The keyboard pinouts are "crossed" so it isn't possible to use a standard telephone cord as a replacement; doing so will result in damage to the keyboard or the computer.[14] The keyboard also introduced a unique command key similar to the "open" Apple Key on the Lisa.

Macintosh Numeric Keypad (M0120 and M0120P)

Macintosh Numeric Keypad

Like the Apple IIe before it, the Macintosh provided an optional external keypad which also included arrow keys that daisy chained to the computer via the telephone-cord connectors. Though introduced with the Macintosh in January 1984, Apple did not ship it until September 1984 at a retail price of US$99. The M0120P version of the numeric keypad, compared to M0120, uses symbols on the Clear and Enter keys, instead of text.

Macintosh Plus Keyboard (M0110A)

Macintosh Plus Keyboard

Introduced and included with the Macintosh Plus in 1986, it was an extended keyboard that had a built-in numeric keypad. In 1987 it was updated to Apple's new Platinum gray color. It continued to use the telephone-cord style connector to the system and was interchangeable with the M0110. Though Apple switched all other keyboards to Apple Desktop Bus connectors by this time, this keyboard was manufactured unchanged for four more years until the Plus was discontinued in 1990.

Apple Desktop Bus Keyboard (A9M0330)

Apple Desktop Bus Keyboard

This was the first Apple keyboard to use the new Apple Desktop Bus (ADB) connector first seen on the Apple IIGS. Designed to be compatible with both the Macintosh and Apple product lines, it was the first to combine both the Macintosh command key and Apple II "open" Apple key legends. Entirely Platinum gray in color (later Macintosh Plus keyboards had a platinum gray case with darker gray keys called "Smoke"), it was also the first to use Snow White design language that was similar to the Apple IIc. However, it duplicated the extended design established by the Plus. It was also the first to include an external power/reset button and an extra ADB port.

Apple (Standard) Keyboard (M0116)

Apple (Standard) Keyboard

Also known as the Apple Standard Keyboard, it was the first to officially use this name. Apple would later reuse the name for a series of successive keyboards. The Apple Keyboard was a more solid version of the Apple Desktop Bus Keyboard and optionally included with the Macintosh II and SE in 1987. The heftier design solidified visually the power performance embodied by the upgraded Macs. Aside from weight the main difference was the significantly thicker frame width. It was the first keyboard to be sold separately from the system, giving the customer a choice of the basic or advanced keyboards offered by Apple.

Apple Extended Keyboard (M0115)

Apple Extended Keyboard

Main article: Apple Extended Keyboard

Apple's advanced keyboard, the first to be sold optionally, was essentially a redesigned version of the Apple Keyboard, with an enhanced extended keyboard with FKeys and other PC-style keys. It included template guides above the top row of function keys to accommodate shortcut key references which accommodate many software packages. It was the heaviest of all the Macintosh keyboards and set the standard for many typists. It was sold separately from any Apple computer and retailed for US$163.

Apple Keyboard II (M0487)

Apple Keyboard II

Introduced and sold with the Macintosh Classic and LC in 1990, this keyboard was almost identical to the original ADB Keyboard, but included flip-down feet to change the typing angle and a design change that gave the frame and keys a more streamlined appearance. Internally, the M0487 differed from the original M0116, as the M0487 did not use mechanical keyswitches (save for the Caps Lock). In 1993, the Macintosh TV, the first Mac introduced in all black, came with an identical black Keyboard II (using the same model number). This keyboard marked the return of Apple including a standard keyboard together with the computer itself.

Apple Extended Keyboard II (M0312 and M3501)

Main article: Apple Extended Keyboard

Apple Extended Keyboard II

A minor update to the Apple Extended Keyboard to coincide with the release of the Macintosh IIsi in 1990, it added an adjustable height feature. Model M0312 was manufactured with the classic Alps mechanisms, while model M3501 was manufactured with Mitsumi or Alps mechanisms.

Apple Adjustable Keyboard (M1242)

Main article: Apple Adjustable Keyboard

Apple Adjustable Keyboard

The Apple Adjustable Keyboard, which was sold as an optional upgrade, was Apple's 1993 entry into the ergonomically adjustable keyboard market. It was often criticized for its flimsy construction. It came with a separate keypad (not sold separately), the first to do so since the original Macintosh keyboard.

Newton Keyboard (X0044)

Keyboard for the Apple Newton, Model X0044, German keyboard layout

In the mid-1990s Apple released the Apple Newton sub-mini keyboard to allow a quick input alternative to the Newton's handwriting recognition, which required extensive training to become useful. It connected via the Newton's serial interface. Many Mac users favoring the portable size were able to use it on a Mac utilizing a third-party enabler. Like the iPhone that would come 10 years later, the Newton also included a virtual keyboard.

AppleDesign Keyboard (M2980)

The black AppleDesign Keyboard

This was the first major redesign of the Apple keyboard, featuring more fluid, curving lines to match the look of the new Apple product style. It was an unpopular replacement for the Apple Extended Keyboard II in 1994. Significantly lighter than its predecessors, it had a much softer and quieter key interface that was unpopular with many typists. It also included only one ADB port for mice or other pointing devices, concealed on the underside, with the keyboard's cable permanently attached.[15] The Extended II had an ADB port on either side of the keyboard, allowing the keyboard cable or mouse to be attached to the side preferred by the user. This keyboard was also produced in black using the same model number (like the Apple Keyboard II for the Macintosh TV), for inclusion with the black Performa 5420 released primarily in Europe, and the black Power Macintosh 5500 released in Asia.

Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh Keyboard (M3459)

Bundled with the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh in 1997, this keyboard once again excluded an integrated keypad, though unlike the Adjustable Keyboard none was offered. Based on a PowerBook form factor it also included an optional built-in trackpad and leather palm rests. This was the last ADB keyboard Apple would produce, and was not sold separately.

Apple USB Keyboard (M2452)

Apple USB Keyboard (Norwegian) (Bondi blue)

Released and sold with the iMac in 1998 this became the new standard for all Macintosh models for the next two years. It was the first to use translucent plastics, first in Bondi blue, then in a darker gray called "Graphite" for the PowerMac G4 line and fruit-colored for each of the five first color variations of the iMac. It had a built-in retractable support leg. It also marked a return to the standard keyboard with integrated keypad with the enhanced cursor keys above the keypad. The keyboard had a power key on the top right side (implemented by shorting the D-line to ground),[16] and was the last keyboard to have one. This keyboard can be used with Windows (although the power key has no function).

Apple Pro Keyboard (M7803)

Apple Pro Keyboard (German)

Apple Keyboard (109 and 78 keys)

Apple Keyboard (US) (A1048), first sold in 2003
Apple Keyboard (US) (A1243). This photo is of one before the release of Mac OS X Lion; the F4 key has a logo for Dashboard instead of the Launchpad feature added in Mac OS X Lion. Later releases of the keyboard had the Launchpad logo instead.

Apple Wireless Keyboard

Main article: Apple Wireless Keyboard

Apple Wireless Keyboard (A1314)

Magic Keyboard (1st generation)

Main article: Magic Keyboard (Mac)

Apple Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad (Traditional Chinese) (A1843)

See also

References

  1. ^ Image of the keyboard layout of a full-sized aluminum Apple keyboard Archived August 3, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ New slimline iMac keyboard revealed? Archived May 4, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, Electronista
  3. ^ "Miscellaneous Technical" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on December 30, 2019. Retrieved April 7, 2013.
  4. ^ "A2449 Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID Cover Letter Cover Letter for BCGA2449v1.1 Apple". FCC ID. Archived from the original on August 4, 2021. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  5. ^ "A2450 Apple Magic Keyboard Cover Letter Cover Letter for BCGA2449v1.1 Apple". FCC ID. Archived from the original on August 4, 2021. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  6. ^ "A2520 Apple Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and Numeric Keypad Cover Letter Cover Letter for BCGA2520v1.1 Apple ". FCC ID. Archived from the original on August 4, 2021. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  7. ^ a b c "iPad Pro's Smart Keyboard is slim, good-looking but massively overpriced". Macworld. Archived from the original on September 21, 2022. Retrieved February 19, 2023.
  8. ^ Smith, Dave. "Apple's Smart Keyboard is not worth $170". Business Insider. Archived from the original on January 20, 2022. Retrieved February 19, 2023.
  9. ^ "Apple Pencil 2 and Smart Keyboard Folio". Trusted Reviews. Archived from the original on February 13, 2023. Retrieved February 19, 2023.
  10. ^ a b Bohn, Dieter (April 20, 2020). "The Magic Keyboard turns the iPad Pro into something that resembles a laptop". The Verge. Archived from the original on June 7, 2020. Retrieved February 19, 2023.
  11. ^ "Apple Magic Keyboard Folio for iPad review: $249 of weirdness". Digital Trends. October 31, 2022. Archived from the original on February 11, 2023. Retrieved February 19, 2023.
  12. ^ "Apple History – Apple 1 Notes". June 24, 2021. Archived from the original on June 24, 2021. Retrieved August 28, 2023.((cite web)): CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  13. ^ "The Keyboard Company – Telcontar.net". telcontar.net. Retrieved August 28, 2023.
  14. ^ "Modular Connector – 4P4C – Data Port". Networx Security. Archived from the original on February 10, 2019. Retrieved February 9, 2019. The connector wiring, however, required a polarized straight through pinout. Using a telephone handset cable instead of the supplied cable could short out the +5 volt DC supply and damage the computer or the keyboard.
  15. ^ "Extended Keyboard II & AppleDesign Keyboard Differences". Archived from the original on June 21, 2013. Retrieved February 20, 2013.
  16. ^ Kasm279. "USB Power Button for Macs". Instructables. Archived from the original on March 5, 2021. Retrieved December 14, 2020.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  17. ^ Steinberg, Gene (January 14, 2002). "Apple iMac 800 MHz PowerPC G4 Review". ZDNet. Archived from the original on February 10, 2019. Retrieved February 9, 2019. Apple dresses up the familiar Pro keyboard and Pro mouse in matching white.
  18. ^ "Apple removes wired keyboard with numeric keypad from its online store". 9to5Mac. June 6, 2017. Archived from the original on April 27, 2018. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  19. ^ Marsal, Katie (December 2, 2010). "Apple discontinues compact wired keyboard, Hulu Plus claims strong start". AppleInsider. Archived from the original on February 20, 2011. Retrieved April 16, 2011.
  20. ^ "iOS: Apple Wireless Keyboard compatibility". Archived from the original on February 28, 2014. Retrieved August 1, 2012.
  21. ^ "Apple Wireless Keyboard manual" (PDF). Manuals.Info.Apple.com. 2009. Archived (PDF) from the original on November 22, 2009. Retrieved October 22, 2009.
  22. ^ "Magic Keyboard – US English". Apple Inc. Archived from the original on September 27, 2022. Retrieved July 3, 2018.
  23. ^ "Magic Keyboard Teardown". iFixit. October 15, 2015. Archived from the original on May 28, 2017. Retrieved May 25, 2017.
  24. ^ "Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad – US English – Silver". Apple Inc. Archived from the original on September 27, 2022. Retrieved July 3, 2018.
  25. ^ "Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad – US English – Space Gray". Apple Inc. Archived from the original on September 27, 2022. Retrieved July 3, 2018.