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Are there third-party keyboards that have the Apple layout?

I found this question but it is not my one.

I mean, "STRICTLY", Mac layout. The sizes of keys, the paddings between keys, no Num Lock, have Fn, no numbers' area... everything is equal to the Mac keyboards, including MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and Apple Wireless Keyboard (but not the USB one).

---- Amendment #1 ----

Sorry for missing this important part. What I'm seeking are mechanical ones. I searched "mechanical keyboard Mac layout" and found the question mentioned above but failed in noticing that question was not only talking about mechanical keyboards.

  • 1
    What is the point of your question? If you want something completely exactly the same as an Apple keyboard, then why not simply purchase an Apple keyboard? Any third-party keyboard is not going to be a clone of Apple's keyboard; it is going to be engineered by the manufacturer to incorporate ideas that they think are better than Apple's, or perhaps less costly than Apple's design, so they will be slightly different in various ways. – user9290 Apr 12 '14 at 20:54
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    Sorry for missing the important thing — "mechanical" keyboard... Hope not too late to add. – user3332315 Apr 13 '14 at 11:52
  • Are there any mechanical keyboards at all that have low key caps like an apple keyboard? – dwightk Apr 13 '14 at 12:54
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    @dwightk, the answer is "No". The low key-cap design as on modern Apple keyboards has a very short key-travel and involves a membrane technology. Clicky mechanical keys or "buckling spring" designs are by definition the older, long-throw design that goes back to the IBM keyboards of the 1970s, and feel more like the older generation electric typewriter keyboards such as the legendary IBM Selectric. Many fast touch-typists prefer this design, which I believe is the point of the original question. – user9290 Apr 13 '14 at 18:45
  • As for "STRICTLY" Mac layout, you can easily train your fingers to accommodate slight departures in design for a third-party keyboard. I've been using Macs since 1987 but I have not used an Apple-brand keyboard in the last twenty years. I have easily adapted to many different brands of third-party keyboard over the years. – user9290 Apr 13 '14 at 18:48
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If you want "clicky" mechanical keyswitches, you should look at the Matias Tactile Pro, for US$150. It is a modern version modeled on Apple's long-discontinued mechanical-keyswitch keyboard that was sold in the 1990s, the Apple Extended Keyboard, which was before the days of USB.

The keyboard layout of the current generation of MacBooks and MacBook Airs is probably not 100% identical to that of the Matias Tactile Pro, but I believe this is as close as you are going to get.

Note that you can remap any functions of Function keys in Mac OS X in software, if anything doesn't match up to your liking.

enter image description here

Matias also makes a Mini Tactile Pro that saves space by doing away with the numeric keypad.

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Das Keyboard Model S Professional for Mac, at US$133, is also highly rated, although the key layout in the numeric keypad and certain other keys is slightly different that what Apple uses today.

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  • 1
    I've used both the Tactile Pro keyboard and the Das Keyboard for years. I prefer the feel of the Das Keyboard, but the layout takes some getting used to. On the other hand the layout of the Tactile Pro is closer to what you expect if you are used to Apple keyboards, but it requires a heavy hand compared to the Das Keyboard. I've been wanting to try the Code Keyboard with the clear switches. From what I've read that is the best feel around. codekeyboards.com – Ɱark Ƭ Apr 15 '14 at 12:09
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I personally use two that do and have been please with both of them. I'll briefly describe each below:

WASD CODE Mechanical Keyboard

WASD makes many keyboards and can customize them to your specifications (layout, key color, mechanical switch type, mac/linux/windows, etc.). The CODE keyboard is especially nice and has a clean layout, white backlighting and neutral font (Helvetica). It's made with two types of switches (Cherry MX Clear and Cherry MX Green with rubber o-ring dampeners). I personally use the CODE 87-Key - Cherry MX Green (they also make a 104-Key version, if that's your style.) While the Greens require more force than most other keyboards, I've found it inconsequential, partially because of the dampeners.

Since you mentioned having a Mac specific layout, the CODE keyboard has a DIP switch on the back of the keyboard that allows you to set the keys at the hard wear layout. Also note that the command (⌘) key is blank but can be replaced with a Mac specific version, if you so desire, and can easily be moved to the usual Mac layout—a key puller is included with the keyboard.

There are many other advantages to this keyboard, including n-key rollover, so definitely have a look at their website.

Razer Blackwidow Ultimate

I also have the 2013 Razer Blackwidow Ultimate (2014 version), which as far as I can tell is only sold on Razer's website. It uses Cherry MX Blue keyboard (great for typists) and has a very solid build to it—e.g., key backlighting, braided cables, usb, microphone, and audio ports, and a solid frame. However, while the hardware has so far been solid and I haven't had any problems with the keyboard itself, the included software (Razer Synapse v2.0, which manages macros and macro profiles) has proven quite buggy and as far as I'm concerned, worthless. Thankfully, you can forgo the software and simply use the keyboard as is.

Das Keyboard

I tried the mac version but was immediately put off by the glossy surface. Too each their own...

Matias Quiet Pro

I also tried out the Matias Quiet Pro. It has a great feel to it and is relatively quiet, if that's something you're interested in. While it is built well, I didn't like the plastic that formed the base: it looks cheap to me. Additionally, the frame wasn't quite as solid as the WASD and Razer keyboards previously mentioned.

Recommendation

If I had to buy again, I would not hesitate to buy one of WASD's keyboards. They're absolutely solid.

Alternatives

There's a great site that has a large collection of mechanical keyboards you may peruse. Have a look at MechanicalKeyboards.com.

5

Honestly the only "real" choice I've come across that works the "best" is the *Matias mac specific keyboards

I have experience using both the Matias Laptop Pro and the Das Keyboard 4 on mac and I think that there is a subtle reason why Matias is best. I'm sure this also extends ot their other keyboards.

X & Command

As you can see here is the Bluetooth Apple keyboard layout - notice how the X and Command buttons are aligned

enter image description here

On the Das keyboard you can see that "Alt" (which you would map to command in "mac" mode) its not aligned very well to the X button

enter image description here

And lastly we have the Laptop Pro where X is almost perfectly aligned with the command button

enter image description here

So What?

So why is does this matter? A majority of the mac shortcuts involve the command key and I've noticed that having a shorter travel distance for the left thumb is better. When I use the Das I find it more awkward to use mac because I'm always having to use Alt

Answer

So my answer is any of the Matias Mac keyboards are really your best bet. If you don't' use keyboard shortcuts then this isnt' as much of an issue.

  • Also, the comma is aligned with the right-Command key as well on Apple keyboards. This might not seem like a bit deal to most, but if you rest your hands on the keyboard, try pulling your thumbs inward. On an Apple keyboard they end up on the Command keys. On a Windows keyboard they are still on the space bar, so you have to physically move your hands to reach shortcuts. – Luke Apr 15 '16 at 17:55
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I seriously doubt you'll find an 'exact' match for the Mac Keyboard w/mechanical keys and that has the same exact dimensions in terms of keyboard spacing. Low height keys and mechanical switches might prove difficult to come by.

I am seriously considering the DAS Keyboard Model S Professional for Mac. It has quality mechanical switches (MX Blues, a touch-typist favorite), and Mac specific keys (OPT, CMD), as well as function keys notation for volume, brightness, media, etc, and includes a SLEEP shortcut key.

  • FYI, I ended up with the WASD 87-key CODE keyboard w/Cherry MX Clear switches. I have no regrets, it works extremely well, and the DIP switch and key arrangement gives plenty of options. – bayendor Aug 7 '14 at 16:30
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Personally, I'm very happy with a Matias keyboard, though I'm not sure if they are what you are looking for, layout wise.

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