Apple Extended Keyboard
|Release date||March 2, 1987 (original)
October 15, 1990 (Extended Keyboard II)
|Discontinued||October 15, 1990 (original)
March 14, 1994 (Extended Keyboard II)
The Apple Extended Keyboard is a keyboard that was first sold separately alongside the Macintosh II and SE. Later the Apple Extended Keyboard II prepackaged with Apple Professional Desktops during the early 1990s (starting with the Macintosh IIsi in October 1990). These keyboards are widely considered by enthusiasts to represent the golden era of Macintosh keyboards and are fondly remembered by many. Retrospective articles credit the success of the product to a combination of sound, feel, and durability.
Among the features that make this keyboard unique are:
- Caps Lock Key that physically locks down when activated, considered to be better for touch typists.
- Alps Electric Co. brand mechanical key switches, credited for their good sound and feel.
- Large spacing between keys, especially the top function keys and others.
- The width of the keyboard matches the width of the Macintosh II.
- The height allows it to fit under the "chin" of the Macintosh SE.
The Design Patent for the Extended Keyboard II (D335,228) was filed on November 15, 1990. Steven Peart (frogdesign) was responsible for the industrial design and Dexter Francis (Apple Peripheral Products Group) was the Apple in-house project lead/product designer.
- The Legendary Apple Extended Keyboard (Lowendmac.com)
- The Talk Show Episode 20 - A podcast with commentary and discussion about the Apple Extended Keyboards (April 2008)
- Alps Electric Co. US patent for Pushbutton switch with aural confirmation of operation
- geekhack photos of the Apple Extended Keyboard mechanisms