Apple Magic Keyboard
|This article requires additional photographic illustration — Pics of the model A1644|
A1644 MLA22LL/A (compact silver/white),|
A1843 MQ052LL/A (full-size silver/white),
A1843 MRMH2LL/A (full-size grey/black)
A2449 EMC3579 (compact blue 2021 /w fingerprint sensor)
|Features||Automated pairing (compact, full-size desktop)|
|Keyswitches||Scissor switch/Rubber dome|
|Key travel||1 mm (desktop)|
USB, Bluetooth 3.0 (compact, full-size)|
Proprietary "Smart connector" (iPad Pro)
|Battery||2.98 Wh Li-Ion (compact)|
|Dimensions||279×115×109 mm (compact), 419×115×109 mm (full-size)|
|Weight||231g (compact), 390g (full-size)|
|Introduced||2015 (compact), 2017 (full size)|
|Supersedes||Apple Aluminium Keyboard|
|Price||$99 (compact), $129 (full size), $149 (compact with fingerprint reader), $179 (full-size with fingerprint reader)|
The Apple Magic Keyboard is Apple's current keyboard line for Macintosh computers and the iPad Pro.
- 1 History
- 2 Key size and layout
- 3 Desktop keyboards
- 4 Portable
- 5 External Links
The "Magic Keyboard" is the third product line with the "Magic" moniker. The convention originates with the "Magic Mouse", selected to one-up the name "Mighty Mouse" — which Apple could not use after receiving a lawsuit for trademark infringement.
The first in the line was the compact desktop "Magic Keyboard" in white/silver made as a successor to "Apple Wireless Keyboard", to be shipped with desktop Macintosh computers. It was released in 2015 simultaneously with the Magic Mouse 2 and the Magic Trackpad 2, with the trackpad made to match the lower profile of the Magic Keyboard. Because of these numbers, Macintosh users often erroneously call the keyboard "Magic Keyboard 2" and refer to the predecessor as the "Magic Keyboard 1". Note also that 2021 models have model numbers starting with "MK2" whereas earlier Magic Keyboards don't.
In June 2017, the "Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad" was introduced, and there are rumours that some symbol legends would have been changed also.
In late 2019, Apple started to replace the problem-ridden "Butterfly" mechanism on Apple's laptops with a more traditional scissor/rubber-dome mechanism, also called "Magic Keyboard". The key mechanism is similar to the desktop's but with shorter key travel.
And in early 2020, Apple released a stand/cover with keyboard for the iPad Pro with a similar portable "Magic Keyboard" inside.
In April 2021, Apple announced a revised design for the desktop keyboards, matching a new range of ARM-based iMac desktop computers. They come anodised in six different colours of the anodised aluminium enclosures, matching the colours of the computers (including silver-grey). The keyboards also have more rounded corners, with the corner keys being rounded. The Fn key functions as a "World key" (Emoji key) when tapped. The Eject key has been replaced by a Screen lock key or a finger-print reader on different models. From August 2021 these are also sold separately, but only with silver-grey enclosure. The fingerprint reader will also work only with newer ARM-based Macintosh computers.
Key size and layout
The keycaps have very little spacing in-between them, even less than on previous keyboards.
The keys on the bottom row are no longer slightly larger vertically than on other rows.
ISO Return keys are still narrow.
Some keys are different on desktop and portable keyboards: On the desktop keyboards the left and right cursor keys are not halved vertically to make an inverse-T shape. Neither are the keys on the function key row smaller than on other rows.
Unlike its predecessors (the Apple Aluminium Keyboard), the "Magic" desktop keyboards have fixed rechargeable batteries. These are difficult to replace but allow the keyboards to have a flatter profile.
The keyboards use Bluetooth 3.0 and can pair automatically to a Macintosh when connected via the USB-to-Lightning cable to a computer running MacOS X 10.11 "El Capitan" or higher. The pairing protocol is proprietary. The first generation of keyboards came with USB A-to-Lightning cables. The 2021 versions come with USB C-to-Lightning cables, as the 2021 iMac and MacBook don't have USB A sockets.
The keyboards also work as a keyboard over USB but because its report protocol is different from the boot protocol there may be problems with some systems such as BIOS:es or KVM switches that don't follow the USB specification completely.
Unlike its wired predecessors, there is no USB hub.
The fingerprint reader in some models work only with Apple's ARM-based Macintosh models.
A compact variety, without numeric keypad. Successor to the aluminium "Apple Wireless Keyboard". Only in silver/white. Shipped with iMac.
Rumour has it that some legends were changed from June 5 2017 onwards.
"Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad"
The full-size varities are wireless, unlike the previous full-size Apple Aluminium Keyboard which had been wired only.
The silver/white introduced in June 2017, available only separately. A "Space Gray" variant with black keys was introduced with the iMac Pro in Dec 2017, and has been available separately since March 2018.
Silver-grey variants with black keys have been shipped with the 2019 Mac Pro.
2021 "Magic Keyboard" MK2A3LL
Compact 2021 version.
2021 "Magic Keyboard with Touch ID" MK293LL
Compact 2021 version.
2021 "Magic Keyboard with Touch ID and Numeric Keypad" MK2C3LL
Full-size 2021 version.
The "Magic" keyboards for Apple's portable computers replace the butterfly mechanisms in previous MacBooks. The keyboards are backlit.
The scissor mechanism is slimmer than on the desktop keyboards, with less key travel but are otherwise the same mechanically.
The left and right cursor keys are halved in height, making the keys into an inverse-T shape and making them easier to find by touch. The cursor keys are however slimmer than on pre-2015 keyboards where the entire space-bar row had been thicker vertically to begin with.
On laptop keyboards, the function key row is halved vertically compared to other rows. Some models have a touch bar instead of function keys. However, unlike previous keyboards with touch bars, the Escape key is now a physical key.
The "Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro" is also a cover and an adjustable stand. The keyboard itself lacks function keys and an Escape key but Escape can be mapped onto another key in iPadOS. It also has an integrated touchpad, battery and USB C battery-charging port. It is connected to the tablet via a proprietary pogo-pin connector ("Smart keyboard" connector) over which it is able to charge itself and provide power to the iPad Pro, thus leaving the tablet's USB C port free. It is however very expensive, for which it has received much criticism.
- Magic Keyboard on Wikipedia.
- Macworld: Apple Magic Keyboard review: Should have called it basic. Retrieved 2016-08-01.
- iFixit: Magic Keyboard Teardown. Dated 2015-10-15. Retrieved 2016-10-28.
Touch ID (fingerprint sensor):
- Apple Platform Security Guide — Magic Keyboard with Touch ID. Dated 2021-05-26.
- iFixit: MacBook Pro 16" 2019 Teardown. Dated 2019-11-18. Retrieved 2019-11-18.
- Engadget: Apple Magic Keyboard review: Blurring the line between iPad and MacBook. Dated 2020-04-20.