is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Principal Designer at Adobe, Design Chair at Wildcard and co-founder of Kidpost. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired by Etsy, Inc.), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children. Refer to the advertising and sponsorship page for inquiries.+
I’m one of those crotchety oldsters who still clings to my Apple Wired Keyboard with Numeric Keypad because, well because it’s got a numeric keypad and Apple refuses to make a wireless version. I don’t know about you, but I kinda type a lot of numbers, so having number keys in an extended layout is pretty damn useful. I’ve tried third-party wireless keyboards with numeric keypads but the tactile quality of those keys never felt quite as satisfying to me as Apple’s, plus they never look nearly as nice.
That changed when I bought a Wireless Aluminum Keyboard from Ontario-based keyboard nuts Matias Corporation. For all intents and purposes, it’s exactly like Apple’s wired version, including the same or very similar key switches—though it comes in four color schemes.
It also sports not just one but four Bluetooth connections, which allows me to pair it with my desktop, laptop and iPad (with room to spare!) and then flip back and forth between them. This harkens back to the old days when I used to have a KVM (keyboard, video and mouse) switch to hop back and forth between my Mac and the Windows machine that another era of computing demanded I operate. It actually makes me wish there was a third-party version of Apple’s wireless trackpad that could also support multiple Bluetooth connections.
If you don’t need to pair with more than one Bluetooth device, NewerTech sells a wireless numeric keypad that you can use with Apple’s previous generation wireless keyboard. In fact, Matias Corporation itself created this wireless numeric keypad too, exclusively for NewerTech. I bought one some time ago and cosmetically, it’s a pretty good match for the Apple hardware.
However, it’s awkward that the numeric keypad is a separate piece from the main keyboard. Even though NewerTech ships it with a plastic widget that lets you connect the two into one unit, it still feels like something of a hack. I would recommend Matias’s own full wireless aluminum keyboard over this one in a heartbeat.
And that, my friends, is about as much thought as anybody should put into numeric keypads.+