November 15, 1990 Cupertino wins a design patent for his Apple Extended Keyboard II, arguably the best computer keyboard of all time.
Providing the perfect combination of durability, feel and a pleasant click-clack sound, the Extended Keyboard II will become the backbone of Apple’s professional settings during the early 1990s – and perhaps the most beloved keyboard in Apple’s history. Thanks to the ADB-to-USB adapter, some people still use them today.
Apple Extended Keyboard II: Best Mac Keyboard Ever?
The original expanded keyboard arrived in 1987, following the departure of Steve Jobs from Apple following his fight with CEO John Sculley.
In the same way that Macs at the time focused on scalability in a way Jobs never approved of, Apple Extended Keyboard models – of which Extended Keyboard II is the best – included functions and arrow keys that Jobs didn’t like.
However, Jobs would probably appreciate the quality of the keyboard. It combines premium components with the kind of smart proprietary details that make Apple products great. For example, he used mechanical key switches manufactured by the Japanese company Alps Electric Co., which later produced keyboards for the iMac.
The keys were sensitive in a way that can rarely be found. The sound left no doubt as to whether you pressed the button or not. And the keys came back at an impressive speed after you pressed them, thanks to the physical springs under each key.
Features define the best Apple keyboard of all time
The Apple Extended Keyboard II included a few other nice touches. The Caps Lock key remained pressed when you pressed it (unlike today’s, which indicate that they are turned on via the LED). This gave the keyboard a typewriter-style impression that many users appreciated. It also boasts a power switch located on the keyboard, which withdrew many accolades in the early 1990s.
Finally, in a significant improvement over its predecessor, the Apple Extended Keyboard II had a foot extension at its base. This allowed for variable height. Combined with the curved ergonomic design, this has given users many options for placing the keyboard at the right angle for their individual needs.
Have you ever hacked a document on one of these keyboards? Or maybe you still use it today? Tell us why it’s the best Apple keyboard ever (or not) in the comments below.
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