Vintage iMac Restoration - Apple Black Pro Keyboard

The Apple Black Pro Keyboard that I ordered arrived in the mail the other day. It is the deafult keyboard that came with the iMac G3/500 that I am restoring. Wow, it is a beast of a keyboard! I found one in really good condition on eBay for $25 shipped. I find the idea of used keyboards kind of gross but this one looks good and clean, especially for being 10-13 years old.

The Apple Black Pro Keyboard

The Apple Black Pro Keyboard

The first thing I noticed as I was unpacking it is that this keyboard weighs a lot. So I took out the postage scale, and it turns out that the keyboard weights almost as much as the 13" MacBook Air. The keyboard is sturdy and built to last. There is not a lot of metal on it, like newer Apple Keyboards. It is primarily made of a really thick, tough plastic.

The keyboard weighs about 2.5 lbs!

The keyboard weighs about 2.5 lbs!

The 13" MacBook Air weights only a bit more, closer to 3 lbs
The 13" MacBook Air weights only a bit more, closer to 3 lbs

In addition, I was struck by how huge this keyboard is compared to the modern Apple Bluetooth keyboard.

I am sure there is a Zoolander joke in here somewhere, but seriously, this keyboard is huge.

I am sure there is a Zoolander joke in here somewhere, but seriously, this keyboard is huge.

Yes, that's an eject button in the upper right, for when computers had optical disc drives. 

Yes, that's an eject button in the upper right, for when computers had optical disc drives. 

It is curious that in the past ten years the desktop compouter user has been willing to trade a lot of one kind of functionality for another kind of functionality in keyboards. The Apple Black Pro Keyboard has a lot more keys on it, includeing a number pad, full size arrow keys, and that whole cluster of keys above the cursor keys that are really no longer needed. The modern Apple Bluetooth keyboard adds the function of being wireless, and being really small and light. The modern keyboard accomplishes this with a bunch of dual-function keys. I do not know if the net functionality has changed, but the taste of the user definitely has.

On another note, I find that typing on the Apple Black Pro Keyboard is a bit of a chore. I guess I am spoiled by the low-travel chicklet-style keyboard that has become so prevalent since 2006. You really have to push down on the keys. It's a "mushy" push down too. There is no click. Clearly this was a transitional approach from the loud clicky keyboards of the past, and I do remember fondly how nice this was to type on back at the turn-of-the-century.