Apple Extended Keyboard II

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Apple Extended Keyboard II
AEKII-front.jpg
Model no. M0312, M3501
FCC ID BCGM0312, BCGM3501
Branding Apple
Manufacturer Alps Electric, Mitsumi
Layouts 108-key (ANSI), 109-key (ISO) Macintosh
Keyswitches Alps SKCM Salmon, Alps SKCM Cream Damped, Mitsumi standard mechanical, Alps SKCM White Damped
Switch mount plate-mount
Interface ADB
Years of production 1990–1995
Precedes AppleDesign Keyboard
Supersedes Apple Extended Keyboard

The Apple Extended Keyboard II (AEKII) is a keyboard that was shipped with Apple Macintosh computers in the early 1990s. The AEKII is the successor to the Apple Extended Keyboard (AEK) and is smaller, quieter, and more refined.

The AEKII was the last mechanical keyboard by Apple. It was succeeded by the much cheaper AppleDesign Keyboard rubber dome board.

Variations

Variations of this keyboard found to date:

Model number FCC ID Made in Switch Copyright(s)
M0312 BCGM0312 USA Alps SKCM Cream Damped
Alps SKCM Salmon
M3501 BCGM3501 USA Alps SKCM Salmon 1989, 1990
Alps SKCM Cream Damped 1990
Alps SKCM White Damped 1990, 1995
Mexico Alps SKCM White Damped 1995
Ireland Alps SKCM Cream Damped 1989, 1995
Alps SKCM White Damped 1995
Japan Mitsumi standard mechanical (linear) 1989

Model numbers

There are two model numbers: M0312 and M3501. The FCC IDs are BCGM0312 and BCGM3501 respectively.

Serial numbers

The serial numbers of all M0312s contain "M0312" at the end. The serial numbers of some M3501s contain "M0312" at the end while others contain "M3501".

As with other Apple keyboard models, the first letter of the serial number indicates the OEM, with "M" for Mitsumi and "A" for Alps.

Switches

Cream damped Alps

The most common switch in the Apple Extended Keyboard. The slider has a cream off-white colour. The switches are tactile and comparatively quiet. The sound is dampened by small rubber inserts on either side of the slider which cushions the impact at the end of both the downstroke and the upstroke. Because of the dampening and high tactile point of the cream Alps switches, the keyboards are sometimes mistaken for having rubber dome switches.

This switch has been "resurrected" in the form of the Matias Quiet switch.

If the label has a symbol in the bottom right corner of a 'S' within a square, then that is an indicator that the keyboard has dampened switches. These have only been spotted on M3501s made in the USA or Mexico with cream damped or white damped switches. Keyboards made in Ireland (of which all had cream switches) have not been spotted with the symbol.

Salmon Alps

A tactile switch with pink/salmon-coloured slider. The feel is similar to cream Alps, except that the slider does not have rubber bumpers and they therefore bottom out hard. All AEKII with Salmon Alps have been made in USA.

Mitsumi standard mechanical

All-white Mitsumi standard mechanical, with Alps mount sliders. The switches are faintly tactile, and reportedly relatively silent. All AEKII with these switches have been made in Japan. Keyboard PCBs have also been made by Mitsumi.

White damped Alps

A rare variation of the Cream damped Alps switch, with the biggest difference that the sliders are pure white. The tactile leaf inside the switch is somewhat different from the Cream Alps, but the switch is reported to feel practically the same. Not to be mistaken for other White Alps switches that are clicky.

Layouts

Non-US layouts have symbols on the non-alphanumeric keys instead of words. On ISO keyboards, the keys in the leftmost column on the main keyboard are slightly wider, and the keys in the rightmost column are slightly narrower. The vertical return key is therefore very thin, similar to contemporary Apple keyboards in ISO layout.

All keyboards made in Japan have had ANSI layouts. ISO layout keyboards have been built in Ireland.

Construction

The construction of the keyboard is quite unconventional by today's standards.

The keyboard is an evolution of the Apple Extended Keyboard, designed in the "Snow White Design Language" formulated by Frog Design and used in Apple products from 1984 onwards.

Case

The case has smaller borders than the AEK and the Apple logo has moved from the left side to above the Escape key. It is held together with only one screw. It also has a new retractable foot near the back to tilt the keyboard. The single large foot is unusual in its construction in that it is manipulated by moving a slider on the rear which moves the foot by action of an inclined plane.

Like the AEK, there are two knobs on the sides of the function row for holding an overlay. There are also LEDs for caps lock, scroll lock and num lock above the numeric keypad.

Internals

The caps lock key has a latching key switch.

The switches are mounted in a steel plate and printed circuit board. The plate has tabs on the front which interlocks into the single rubber foot on the underside; the plate and foot are holding each other in place without glue.

There is a ADB port on the left and right side. Either one can be connected to the host computer, while the other is usually used for a mouse. Each port is mounted on a separate PCB connected to the main PCB with a ribbon cable.

Keycaps

The keycaps, with the exception of the space bar, are made of PBT with dye-sublimated legends in the font Univers 57 Oblique. The space bar is probably made of ABS, and yellows as fast as the case.

The profile of the keycaps is special to Apple. It is as if the rows were shifted one step down compared to the "standard" profile used by most other keyboards with Alps mount on key switches. The top of the case has a slight curve, and each keycap's skirt reaches down only to match that curve.

The keys on the function key row are special in that the mount is vertical and not horizontal as on other rows. The reason for this is probably to avoid vertical wobble, as these keys are the highest on the keyboard (two rows above number row).

Gallery

SKCM Salmon

SKCM Cream Damped

SKCM White Damped

Mitsumi

See also

External links