Apple Extended Keyboard
|Apple Extended Keyboard|
Apple Extended Keyboard II
|Product family||Apple Keyboard|
|Interface||Apple Desktop Bus|
|Introduced||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.
In 1988 Apple Ireland commissioned Design ID, an industrial design consultancy based in Limerick, to assist with the development of the Extended Keyboard II. Original concepts were by Bryan Leech and Peter Sheehan. For the final proposal quieter key mechanisms were sourced, tested and specified, an adjustable foot was incorporated in the base and the keys were positioned to conform to European ergonomic standards. The ‘S curve profile’ matched the curving terraced key layout and was central to delivering the ergonomic improvements - aesthetics and function in a simple visual gesture.
The first working prototype of the Extended Keyboard II was produced at Design ID by Richard Howe, Donal Ryan and John Fitzgerald.
Steven Peart (frogdesign) was responsible for supplementary industrial design work and DFMA. Dexter Francis (Apple Peripheral Products Group) was the Apple in-house project lead/product designer.