Unicomp SSK delayed, new Model M design coming

grasshopper

01 Apr 2020, 17:03

I'm also happy that Unicomp chose to use a full-size USB-A connector.

My first choice would have been a full size USB-B connector simply because that complies with the original USB spec. However, a USB-A connector comes a very close second.

It's worth bearing in mind that, righty or wrongly, USB-A to USB-A cables have become a de-facto standard in recent years. I've got a couple of external hard disk enclosures that use that type of cable.

I really don't understand the obsession with flimsy mini and micro connectors. They were designed to be used on mobile phones and tablets where space is at a premium. I can't see any good reason to use them on bigger devices.

grasshopper

01 Apr 2020, 17:10

I'm wondering whether the new full size cases can be used with original barrel plates.

I've got a couple of Unicomp keyboards that are mechanically sound but have very tatty cases. I tried cleaning one of the cases by putting it in the dishwasher, and it ended up getting bleached...

It would be awesome if I could rehouse my existing keyboards in these new cases.

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daedalus
Buckler Of Springs

01 Apr 2020, 18:36

I've wondered the same myself, and plan on buying one of the new cases when I buy the SSK.

Note that there are different size backplates for the traditional Model M cases, and the Ultra Classic/5576-C01 keyboards - the latter are smaller and don't fit securely into the larger case.

Base on the proportions, I suspect that the new Model M case will accommodate the backplates/assemblies for the Ultra Classic style keyboards.

stormcrash

01 Apr 2020, 18:45

The product update/announcement mentions that the baseplate fabrication process is new when talking about the "New Model M" full size board. So it's unclear if it's just a tooling/process update or if it's a new baseplate design compared to the older Classic/Ultra Classic

Findecanor

02 Apr 2020, 01:55

Half-Saint wrote:
01 Apr 2020, 16:02
IMO the keyboard doesn't even HAVE to have a removable cable. I mean, let's be honest here - it's a gimmick. How many times do most users unplug the keyboard cable on the keyboard side? Yeah, that's what I thought.
A Model M Mini is still a bit of a niche product, for the enthusiast market — and enthusiasts tend to rotate their keyboards or bring them with them.

For most people, host ports are on the back of the PC and the PC is on the floor, making it cumbersome to switch ports at the host.

Another issue is storage. You don't want to store the keyboard with the cable touching the case plastic unless you know for certain that it is a silicone cable that contains no plasticizer. A separate cable is safer.

grasshopper

27 Apr 2020, 18:22

I've got some bad news for anyone who was considering buying one of the new style cases to refurbish an old Unicomp Model M. I contacted Unicomp about this, and their reply was as follows:

Greetings, XXXXX

Unfortunately, the New Model M keyboard covers will not accommodate our Classic or Ultra Classic keyboard frame assemblies.

At this point we are not yet selling the New Model M keyboard cover separately. If you are interested, please check back with us in 4-6 weeks to purchase the New Model M cover.

Thank you for your inquiry.

Regards,

Jeanne

kmnov2017

28 Apr 2020, 14:00

I am not surprised (and nobody should be). If I were Unicomp, I'd deliberately keep the designs different so as to create a market for the new products.

stormcrash

29 Apr 2020, 23:14

My suspicion is that they had to change the top section of the frame assembly for new standoff and case bolt locations. The shrinkage of the case compared to the old designs is greatest at the top and as a result the case bolts will be much closes in on the assembly and they probably had to adjust the standoffs or shape to make room for them

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abrahamstechnology

30 Apr 2020, 00:06

Something I would like to see in later Ms is Doubleshot PBT keycaps, it would make the black Model Ms look a lot better too.

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zrrion

30 Apr 2020, 00:24

IIRC doubleshot PBT is not a particularly easy thing to do and would require new molding, it would be better if they could do reverse dye sublimation

kmnov2017

30 Apr 2020, 11:50

zrrion wrote:
30 Apr 2020, 00:24
IIRC doubleshot PBT is not a particularly easy thing to do and would require new molding, it would be better if they could do reverse dye sublimation
From what I know, dye sublimation works only with a dark ink on a paler base. And that's exactly why the maxiswitch black model Ms had pad printing on them.

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stoddartc1

30 Apr 2020, 12:31

kmnov2017 wrote:
30 Apr 2020, 11:50
zrrion wrote:
30 Apr 2020, 00:24
IIRC doubleshot PBT is not a particularly easy thing to do and would require new molding, it would be better if they could do reverse dye sublimation
From what I know, dye sublimation works only with a dark ink on a paler base. And that's exactly why the maxiswitch black model Ms had pad printing on them.
Yeah, hence the "reverse" dye-sub. From what I can understand the base plastic would actually be the legend colour whilst everything around it would be dyed. Doing this could allow a WoB Dye-sub.

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digital_matthew

30 Apr 2020, 17:00

Reverse WoB dye-sub keys would be unbelievably sexy on a black SSK.

kmnov2017

02 May 2020, 13:19

Somebody posted pics of the new Model M here https://imgur.com/a/C7UY6Hv

I have to admit that I am extremely disappointed, that back looks like sh*t!

grasshopper

03 May 2020, 15:05

kmnov2017 wrote:
02 May 2020, 13:19
Somebody posted pics of the new Model M here https://imgur.com/a/C7UY6Hv

I have to admit that I am extremely disappointed, that back looks like sh*t!
Indeed. I'm baffled how a brand new mould can look so bad. It almost looks like they hacked an existing mould or something.

Another thing that looks odd is that the cable comes out of the right hand side of the keyboard. But there appears to be a recessed area for the cable to come out of the centre!

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depletedvespene

03 May 2020, 15:16

Dammit. If their new SSK comes off like this, we're gonna have to get the pitchforks. Unicomp has gotten quite a large pass to carelessness, but even I am getting fed up with it.

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daedalus
Buckler Of Springs

03 May 2020, 16:17

Another thing that looks odd is that the cable comes out of the right hand side of the keyboard. But there appears to be a recessed area for the cable to come out of the centre!
That jumped out at me as well. In their announcement, they said:
Just to be clear, the New Model M has the attached USB cable and the same membrane layout as the
Ultra Classic. The Mini M features previously described are not in the New Model M. Perhaps,
sometime in the future, we might blah, blah blah….. no plans for changing this cable design or
membrane layout right now.
So maybe they decided to leave the recess in place in case they decided in future to move to a removable cable, but that also raises the question of why they didn't just do this while launching the new keyboard.

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dokyun

03 May 2020, 20:55

its the back of the keyboard who cares lol

grasshopper

03 May 2020, 21:31

When I'm paying $114.00 (plus huge international shipping and taxes) for a keyboard, I care.....

kmnov2017

04 May 2020, 00:36

dokyun wrote:
03 May 2020, 20:55
its the back of the keyboard who cares lol
A 10 euro keyboard has better plastic, so yes - we do care.

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daedalus
Buckler Of Springs

04 May 2020, 16:49

Speaking of keyboard bottoms - I notice that all their white "Ultra Classic" variants now have a black lower case:

https://www.pckeyboard.com/page/product/UNIZPHA
https://www.pckeyboard.com/page/product/UNI0PGA
https://www.pckeyboard.com/page/product/UNI0P4A

They probably don't sell a lot of the white keyboards, and decided to save money by only producing black lower halves. You kind of have to wonder why they would bother though, and not just discontinue the white keyboards. Perhaps they are just using up leftover inventory?

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abrahamstechnology

06 May 2020, 02:17

daedalus wrote:
04 May 2020, 16:49
Speaking of keyboard bottoms - I notice that all their white "Ultra Classic" variants now have a black lower case:

https://www.pckeyboard.com/page/product/UNIZPHA
https://www.pckeyboard.com/page/product/UNI0PGA
https://www.pckeyboard.com/page/product/UNI0P4A

They probably don't sell a lot of the white keyboards, and decided to save money by only producing black lower halves. You kind of have to wonder why they would bother though, and not just discontinue the white keyboards. Perhaps they are just using up leftover inventory?
That's unfortunate. I really wish beige would go back into style for desktops.
Everything is just tacky RGB and glass now.

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daedalus
Buckler Of Springs

08 May 2020, 13:19

From Unicomp’s Facebook page, posted yesterday:
Here’s an update on the development of the Mini M keyboard. Given the extensive changes to the membrane design, the firmware and the controller are the last of the development items to be completed. The firmware development and testing should be completed by 5/15 20. With that behind us, we can focus on system level testing. We think we have a golden candidate for the controller card design, but we won’t know for sure until we complete some of the system level testing, particularly EMC and ESD testing.

COVID 19 has not directly impacted our efforts – we’re all healthy. But indirectly it has slowed things down. Certainly, the procurement and delivery are slowed but we think we’ll have all parts collected in house by 5/15/20 sans the controller. It’s difficult for a team to focus on developing a product when they must spend a significant part of their mindshare on just staying healthy through the day.

I would estimate we’ll be able send a few units out in early June. But volume units won’t ship until late in the month. Please bear with us. We’ll get there eventually. Thanks, again, for your continued patience.

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wobbled

08 May 2020, 21:51

So we can expect the keyboard to be delivered in about 3-5 years time.

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dcopellino

08 May 2020, 22:39

Original IBM ssk's in our possession are going to have a price hike. meanwhile. Bets accepted.... :roll:

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webwit
Wild Duck

09 May 2020, 00:48

Gotta love Unicomp. On one hand the one and only consistently trustworthy heir of the IBM buckling spring keyboard. On the other hand, to use a Dutch expression, the goat wool socks wearing lamers who have absolutely no notion of modern design, trends and production values. But hey, a decade after the rediscovery and explosion of mechanical keyboards, they have a new space saver. Looks like shit like their previous "unique" designs, but in their merit it will still feel like a true buckling spring keyboard, new, and for a good price. Unicomp, eh? It's a bit like they are living in a different space and time dimension (called Kentucky). Bless.

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depletedvespene

09 May 2020, 00:57

webwit wrote:
09 May 2020, 00:48
But hey, a decade after the rediscovery and explosion of mechanical keyboards, they have a new space saver.
At this point, we should start running bets on what comes out first: the new SSK or the actual product images in their website that STILL have an "image coming soon" placeholder.

Tritian

15 May 2020, 10:00

i like detachable cables... i do end up swapping often.

i have a Model M hooked up all the time for my coding/numpad needs, and I grab a smaller board with more appropriate switches when gaming or not trying to wake up my girlfriend.

I actually feel that the smaller the board, the more important it is to have a detatchable cable. I like that the SSK has one, although I wish it was USB C, that way i can use the same cable I use for all my other boards. :D

Findecanor

31 May 2020, 11:47

A short review of the new Model M on imgur with thread on Reddit.
Only the case differs from other current Unicomp. The case has a smooth texture that catches fingerprints.

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daedalus
Buckler Of Springs

01 Jun 2020, 13:49

From that link... What the heck is going on with the inside of the case?

Image

(sure, you'll basically never see this, but I would not have expected this on a brand new mold)

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