Apple Aluminium Keyboard

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Apple Aluminium Keyboard
Apple Wired Aluminium.jpg
Part number Various
Branding Apple
Keyswitches Scissor switch
Keycaps Laser-etched chiclet
Interface USB, Bluetooth
Precedes Apple Magic Keyboard
Supersedes Apple Keyboard (A1048)

Apple Aluminium Keyboard is a common name for the first generation of keyboards from Apple with chiclet keys and aluminium enclosures. Apple itself gave them fairly generic names, such as Apple Keyboard and Apple Wireless Keyboard reused from the previous generation.

Although they were contemporary with the first generations of Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad, Apple has never named these keyboards "Magic".

"Apple Keyboard"

USB keyboards with one downstream USB port on each side (two in total).

A1243 MB110B/A

Full size keyboard.

A1242 MB110B/B

Compact version without numeric keypad and navigation keys. Cursor keys have been moved into a space below the right shift key.

Shipped with 2009 iMac. Discontinued in 2010.


"Apple Wireless Keyboard"

Layout is reminiscent of the compact A1242. The keyboard communicates through Bluetooth. It works also with iOS devices.

A1255

Takes three AA batteries.

A1314 MC184LL/A

Takes only two AA batteries.

A1314 MC184LL/B

Compared to MC184LL/A, the keyboard has keys for Launchpad and Mission Control where the keys for Exposé and Dashboard used to be.

"Apple iPad Keyboard Dock" A1359

For the first three generations of Apple iPad tablets with a 30-pin iPod dock connector. It also worked with some models of iPhone smartphones and iPod media players but a bad fit could damage the device. Some iPhone models with Lightning port could also work with an adaptor.[1]

The top is identical to the wired compact A1242. The back is a tablet stand with a 30-pin proprietary iPod plug into the device. The back of the stand has a 30-pin iPod socket for charging or accessories, and an audio line out.

It is powered by the device.

Layout

The keyboard has chiclet keys.

While each normal key is a standard 3/4 inch (19 mm) on the horizontal, it is smaller than standard on the vertical.

The Fn key is located on the bottom left on small keyboards and above forward delete in the nav cluster on "full-size" keyboards.

There are several media key functions overlaid on the function keys. Whether these require the Fn key, or the opposite is a configurable option on the host side. This configurability requires MacOS or a special driver on Windows.

F1 F2 F3 F4 F5 F6 F7 F8 F9 F10 F11 F12
Brightness Down Brightness Up Exposé / Mission Control Dashboard / Launchpad Rewind (Previous track) Play/Pause Fast Forward (Next track) Mute Volume Down Volume Up

Protocol

Beside media key reports, the USB HID protocol format is the standard 6KRO boot protocol except that it is only 5KRO to give room for a vendor-specific byte for the Fn key. Only Apple's own keyboard driver will recognise that byte while compliant HID drivers will ignore it. A host that ignores the keyboard's "Report Descriptor" (such as many PC BIOS:es) will see the keyboard reporting the Fn key as a Rollover error code when pressed and as no key (zero) otherwise.

Bluetooth keyboards talk the same HID protocol as USB, just over Bluetooth's transport rather than over USB's transport layer.

Construction

From the bottom up, the keyboard is made of these layers:

  1. ABS bottom plate.
  2. A layer of glue. The glue can be dissolved with isopropyl alcohol.
  3. Thin steel plate.
  4. The switch membrane. Three sublayers.
  5. Rubber domes installed on a thin, flexible, non-elastic plastic sheet.
  6. Upper aluminium case. Holes for keycaps.

The bottom plate is glued to the steel plate with a considerable amount of glue. There are screws and/or bolts the steel plate to the aluminium enclosure.

The scissor mechanism for a key fits between the keycaps and layer 5. The lower hinges of the scissors go through holes in layers 5 and 4, latch on behind shaped protrusions of the steel plate and end up touching the glue layer.[2]

The aluminium enclosure is made from a block of T6/6061 aluminium that has been milled, bead-blasted and anodized grey (without dye). Some (if not all) keyboards have been constructed from blocks that have been cut out when milling larger blocks to become iMac enclosures. Two full-size keyboards can be made for one iMac from the same block of metal.[3]

References

  1. The Gadgeteer—Using an old Apple iPad keyboard dock with your iPhone 5. Dated 2012-10-20. Retrieved 2020-05-12
  2. Geekhack user hemflit, Disassembling an Apple Wireless. Article on Geekhack.org's forum.
  3. PBS on Youtube: Independent Lens | OBJECTIFIED | Film Clip #2 | PBS. index 00:02:05. Posted 2009-11-18