Apple's new keyboards drop a beloved feature


Ahh, Apple. We love you. We hate you. We love you again. Upon the release of the refreshed 2017 iMacs with USB-C, comes the arrival of mildly refreshed wireless keyboards... missing a beloved feature.

With the earlier 2016 release of Apple's desktop keyboards, we gained the combination of wireless and rechargeable internal batteries. The inclusion of a rechargeable battery necessitated adding a way to recharge it, and Apple chose to use Lightning to take care of it. That's OK, and was a good choice, because we also received a complimentary Lightning cable in the box, which can be kept on your desk recharge your keyboard when needed, and also be a spare to recharge your iPhone, iPad, Magic Mouse, or new trackpad.

When the team here at XYZ Media moved in to our new office on the Gold Coast, our long-serving staff received the newly-refreshed 2017 iMacs, and our more recent team members inherited our 2015 iMacs.

We love them, we prefer the rechargeable keyboard option (instead of the older keyboards which have rechargeable AA batteries). We like being able to plug them in with Lightning to recharge and keep typing.

Sadly...

Sadly, we lament the loss of a beloved feature: the two USB-A ports that accompanied the full-size wired keyboard of old. Upon searching the Apple online store, the keyboards are out of stock. Upon visiting our local Apple location, we were told that they have a few spares for staff and warranty replacements, but no longer sell the wired version with the USB-A ports on each side.

I quickly ran back to the office and stole one from a junior editor's desk. Borrowed, I mean, borrowed, not stole... and by borrowed, I mean permanently keep.

Why we love it

Plugging in anything USB-A, is so much easier to plug in on the keyboard than reaching around the back of the iMac. My OCD means I've blue-tacked my iMac stand to the desk so it doesn't move.

I used to plug in all manner of things, from an iPhone recharge cable, to a USB drive, to a wired mouse (when my Magic Mouse was recharging, forced to sit on its side while plugged in), and even an SD card reader for transferring photos and images.

What Apple can do about it

Apple, give us the option of buying a Wireless Keyboard that has a USB-C port.

  • The battery can be recharged over USB-C

  • When we want to use the keyboard wirelessly, we can have it unplugged, on battery power.

  • When we want to use the keyboard as a dock, we plug in the USB-C cable to our iMac or laptop, and then plug in our accessories to the extra ports on the keyboard. You could even give us a range of ports, such as USB-A, USB-C, and an integrated SC card slot.

We know you're not rotten to the core, you just love minimalism, don't you, Apple?

Until next time,

Xavier Zymantas

XYZ Media Group

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