Hey Ap­ple, where’s our reg­u­lar space gray Magic Key­board?

Fo­cus­ing on the im­por­tant ques­tions.

Macworld (USA) - - Contents - BY LEIF JOHN­SON

I’m ex­cited about the new ipads and Macbook that we’ll see from the up­com­ing Oc­to­ber event ( go.mac­world.com/octb). As you know, I was also ex­cited about a pos­si­ble up­date to the Ap­ple Pen­cil ( go.mac­world.com/ apn2). But I’m go­ing to go ahead and say this, as it’s some­times best to re­mind a com­pany to get the lit­tle things out of the way: On top of ev­ery­thing else, I’d re­ally, re­ally like to see a space gray ver­sion of the reg­u­lar Magic Key­board.

Ap­ple orig­i­nally de­signed ( go.mac­world.com/ipfl) the space gray key­board, track­pad, and Magic Mouse solely for the $5,000 imac Pro, lend­ing a premium look for Ap­ple’s most pow­er­ful desk­top to date. That ex­clu­siv­ity didn’t last long, though, per­haps be­cause imac Pro own­ers quickly took to ebay to sell their

space gray pe­riph­er­als for ex­or­bi­tant prices that prob­a­bly made Ap­ple it­self cringe (or, more cyn­i­cally, re­al­ize that they were miss­ing out on some mas­sive cash).

By March, just a cou­ple of months af­ter the imac Pro’s re­lease, you could find the lovely black key­board, track­pad, and Magic Mouse as stand­alone prod­ucts ( go. mac­world.com/mgsg) in the Ap­ple Store, nat­u­rally with an oh-so-ap­ple markup solely be­cause of their color. The re­sult­ing $99 ( go.mac­world.com/99mm) is a ridicu­lous price to pay for a black Magic Mouse, but I got one for my birth­day and dang it, I don’t re­gret it.

Happy end­ing, right? Eh, not re­ally. As Ap­ple orig­i­nally only in­tended the black key­board and mouse for its new spaceage com­puter, which means we only got ac­cess to the Magic Key­board with Numeric Key­pad, a 16.48-inch key­board with a 35-but­ton its key­pad.

It’s pretty, but just look at that thing. It looks as though you could make a skate­board with it. Yes, it’s very cool if you use the num­ber pad a lot, but as a writer, its width al­ways make me feel as though I’m writ­ing slightly off cen­ter. For that mat­ter, I feel like the ex­tra width keeps the mouse a heck of a lot farther to the right than it should be. And I cer­tainly can’t stuff it in my back­pack.

DO YOU BE­LIEVE IN MAGIC?

That’s why I want a reg­u­lar 11-inch Magic Key­board in space gray. I don’t feel like I’m too weird for suggest­ing it. When you search for the Magic Key­board 2 on Ama­zon, the smaller key­board has sig­nif­i­cantly more user re­views than the larger one. It’s portable, to the point that I

of­ten write drafts with one on the go while it’s paired to my iphone XS Max. It’s the key­board I see the most in mar­ket­ing shots from third-party com­pa­nies try­ing to em­pha­size the cool­ness of their own de­signs by plac­ing them next to an imac. It’s also the key­board I see most of­ten in front of dis­play imacs at the Ap­ple Store. But alas, you’ll never see it in space gray.

I sus­pect there may be a mere lo­gis­ti­cal rea­son for this. Ap­ple, I think, orig­i­nally never in­tended to sell the space gray Magic Key­board and Magic Mouse sep­a­rately from the imac Pro, and so these were the only ver­sions that were ever made. That ex­cuse might have worked for the first cou­ple of months, but the imac Pro has now been out for the bet­ter part of a year. The black pe­riph­er­als have been sold sep­a­rately for al­most seven months now. I highly doubt that it’s a mas­sive de­sign change over the reg­u­lar 16.38-inch key­board, so why haven’t we seen it?

It’s not an idle de­mand. If you use an imac or Macbook with an ex­ter­nal mon­i­tor, it’s nice to have a key­board that goes with the black frames found on most of those de­vices. Hell, it even goes well with the reg­u­lar imacs that Ap­ple makes, and a space gray key­board cer­tainly pairs well with the ex­ist­ing black “trash can” Mac Pro. Con­sid­er­ing Ap­ple is al­ready sell­ing a space gray Magic Mouse to go with these de­vice, it feels bizarre to not in­clude both key­boards to go with it.

RUB­BING IT IN

For that mat­ter, the white-keyed Magic Key­board sim­ply doesn’t look great for heavy travel. That’s not to say it isn’t tough: In fact, one rea­son I pre­fer it over my oth­er­wise trusty (and space gray-ish) Log­itech K810 ( go. mac­world.com/k810) is that its slim­mer pro­file keeps it from snag­ging on other items in my bag as of­ten. In­deed, I’m con­stantly toss­ing it in my bag and us­ing it at places be­sides my desk, where it tends to get dirty. Those pris­tine white keys at­tract smudges eas­ily, to the point that I feel ob­li­gated to rub it down with a mi­crofiber cloth be­fore us­ing it in a pub­lic space.

And yes, I ad­mit I be­lieve a space gray key­board just looks more cool, es­pe­cially when I’m us­ing it along­side my space gray iphone XS Max.

Which brings me to an­other point: Black is in, and Ap­ple knows this. Ap­ple knew it all the way back in 2013 when it re­leased the “trash can” Mac Pro along­side ads that made it look like a mono­lith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. I’m pretty sure Dark Mode re­mains the most dis­cussed fea­ture of ma­cos Mojave. Ap­ple it­self partly fu­eled this trend when it showed how cool the many vari­a­tions of “space gray” can look.

And it’s not just an Ap­ple thing, ei­ther. When Google an­nounced its

Pixel 3 and Mi­crosoft an­nounced the Sur­face Pro 6, a large per­cent­age of the cov­er­age fo­cused on the beauty of the matte black cas­ings. It’s a fit­ting trend for this time of dark­ness.

So c’mon, Ap­ple. Give us the small Magic Key­board 2 in space gray. I know you’ll prob­a­bly charge an ex­tra 30 or so bucks over the usual $99, but that’s fine. I’ve come to ex­pect it. If you can give us a new, in­ex­pen­sive iphone in a mul­ti­tude of col­ors, surely you can add some black ink to a key­board that you’ve been mak­ing for three years now.

Can’t you? ■

Hello, dark­ness, my old friend.

Al­low me my mo­ments of in­san­ity.

Just imag­ine “Thus Spake Zarathus­tra” play­ing in the back­ground.

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