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I've managed to go through a bunch of keyboards over the years, from straight to ergonomic, but the one thing I've always looked for is one with a good numeric keypad. I'm a number cruncher, by trade, and when you are accustomed to using a 10-key adding machine (calculator to the younger generation), it's hard to adapt to a laptop keyboard or the new Apple Bluetooth keyboard. I've had my original Apple Bluetooth keyboard for 7 years, and it's finally starting to have occasional sticking problems. I have one of the new compact keyboards that came with my current iMac, but, while it's okay to use with my iPad, the lack of numeric keypad stopped me from using it full time. 

After looking at a bunch of keyboards, wired and wireless, I decided to go with Apple's wired Keyboard with Numeric Keypad. At $49.00, it's a bargain. Yes, it needs to be plugged into the computer, but there is no hassle with batteries dying at 1:00 AM while I'm trying to beat a deadline. It feels smaller than the old one, but it's the same width and length, just not as tall. The feel is great, with just enough tactile feedback. Additionally, it gives you a USB 2 port at each end.

My only gripe — packaging! Now, the box it comes in is nice and compact, with no wasted space and no plastic finger cutters to clutter the landfills. The shipping box? It was big enough to hold at least a dozen of them, with around 24 feet of brown wrapping paper crunched up to cushion it. I hope it was just someone new in the shipping department who didn't know better. Still, it's a good keyboard at a very good price, and if you are looking, it's one to consider.

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  • I too, am a lover of extended keyboards. I can’t figure out why Apple doesn’t sell a bluetooth version.
    Maybe they’ll see your post and get their engineering staff on it ASAP. 🙂

  • Phyllis Evans

    It would be great if they could see things from our perspective.

  • STL

    “It would be great if they could see things from our perspective.”
    .
    Apple designs and builds you a keyboard you love and yet you somehow think they are not seeing things from our perspective.
    Your comment seems totally at odds with your post.
    .
    .
    ” . . it’s hard to adapt to a laptop keyboard or the new Apple Bluetooth keyboard . . . I have one of the new compact keyboards that came with my current iMac, but, while it’s okay to use with my iPad, the lack of numeric keypad stopped me from using it full time.  . . . I decided to go with Apple’s wired Keyboard with Numeric Keypad. At $49.00, it’s a bargain. . . no hassle with batteries dying . . same width and length, just not as tall. The feel is great, with just enough tactile feedback. Additionally, it gives you a USB 2 port at each end.
    .

  • Robert

    Phyllis,

    I am extremely picky when it comes to keyboards and am intrigued by your decision to go with the Apple Wired Keyboard with Numeric Keypad. It is one of several keyboards I’ve evaluated over the years and definitely not my first choice. What other keyboards did you consider prior to choosing the Apple model?

    Best regards,

    Robert

  • Phyllis Evans

    STL, Apple is basically phasing out extended keyboards. The one I just bought has been around without changes since 2007. At the same time, they are no longer shipping wired keyboards. They need to produce the BT keyboard in an extended version. I would gladly give up the extra ports and go back to batteries if I could get this keyboard in a wireless version.

    Robert, I looked at everything on the shelves at our local OfficeMax, and just didn’t like the feel or size of any of them. I need something with a small footprint, as my desk is always a disaster area with a half dozen works in progress at any given time. The keys on this one are sensitive enough that I don’t have to pound, yet enough tension that I don’t end up accidentally doubling up on letters. I just like the feel of it.

  • STL

    “They need to produce the BT keyboard in an extended version. I would gladly give up the extra ports and go back to batteries if I could get this keyboard in a wireless version.”
    .
    Agree
    .
    .
    “Apple is basically phasing out extended keyboards. . . they are no longer shipping wired keyboards . . . ”
    .
    Nope.
    Order from the Apple Store and for nothing extra you can specify which Apple Keyboard you want with your iMac or Mac Pro – Wired with Numeric Keypad or Wireless Keyboard.
    o iMac: http://store.apple.com/us/configure/MC508LL/A?mco=MTg1ODA3OTA
    o MacPro: http://store.apple.com/us/configure/MC560LL/A?mco=MTg2OTUwMjQ
    or
    o Order either keyboard alone
    http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop_mac/mac_accessories/mice_keyboards?mco=MTM3ODc3Mzg
    .

  • For tactile response, you can’t beat the buckling spring keyboards IBM sold back in the eighties.

    A company called Unicomp bought the old machines used to build those keyboards, and they sell essentially the same models, though now available in USB. They’re big and heavy, but the keycaps have full travel and strong positive tactile feedback. (Audible feedback, too, though some find them too noisy.)

    Link for those interested: http://pckeyboards.stores.yahoo.net/cus101usenon.html

  • Why not just get a separate keypad? I have an OLD, OLD one that still works, though I don’t use it much. Bought it for my Pismo (yikes! 11 years old now) to facilitate music notation “on the road.” But it works with my newer machines. A search at microcenter brought up both wired & wireless versions, relatively cheap for something that might last almost forever.

    http://www.microcenter.com/search/search_results.phtml?Ntt=numeric+keypad&N=0&submit.x=0&submit.y=0

  • PS: I have the Apple wired extended keyboard – bought in late 2009 to go with my new Mac Mini, as my old one had to go with the 2002 tower I gave my son’s family. (Still ticking away.)

  • Phyllis Evans

    Mary Jo, someone (can’t remember which company) is getting ready to release one that attaches to the current wireless keyboard. It received FCC approval a couple of weeks ago. As I tend to drop or knock my keyboards off my desk, I felt this was a better alternative, as well as probably cheaper in the longrun.