updated 08:30 pm EST, Thu January 12, 2012
Offers a special 'tactile' version as well
Although standard Bluetooth keyboards can also be paired with an iPad or iPhone, the process can be time-consuming for users who regularly like to switch between computers and mobile devices using the same keyboard. Often, the answer was to buy two keyboards -- but accessory maker Matias is taking its classic-style, wired One Keyboards up a notch with models that feature a holder for the iPhone or iPod Touch, and can switch instantly between the computer and the iOS device at the touch of a button.
The One Keyboard uses a built-in riser and dock connector to allow the instant switching, perfect for quickly replying to a text or tweet while being able to switch instantly back to using the keyboard for the project on a user's computer. The company is showing off three new variations on that concept this week at CES. Windows- and Mac-specific versions of each keyboard are available. The Mac version provides all the standard media-control keys and even has the alternate symbols (such as tm and €) printed on the appropriate keys.
The flagship model is called simply the One Keyboard ($100) and is a full-size, USB keyboard with a built-in two-port USB 2.0 hub and a full numeric keyboard and inverted-t directional buttons, much-missed by some Mac users. It also includes a cradle for the iPhone or iPod Touch built into the design, with a single lit button to instantly switch to using the keyboard with the iPhone or Touch.
The company is also making a Slim One ($80) laptop-style keyboard with "chiclet" keys and styling similar to the current USB Apple keyboards, albeit with black keys rather than white. The smaller model features a wireless connection to the MiniRizer stand for the iPhone or Touch, which has the advantage of being able to be moved to either side of the keyboard to accommodate left- or right-handed users. The Slim One model does not includes a USB hub.
Matias will also be releasing a Tactile One version ($200), a full-sized model similar to the One Keyboard but with a thicker body to incorporate the full Alps-style mechanical keyswitches, along with a 3-port USB 2.0 hub. As with the One, the iPhone/Touch cradle is built in, and features sculpted keys and n-key rollover circuitry to overcome the one limitation of the classic Alps keyboards (a tendency to be able to correctly register only one alphanumeric key pressed at a time, which hindered very fast typists). The company is also making a variant of the One which includes the "home/end" and "pg up/down" cluster aimed at Blackberry users.
All but the Tactile One are available now from the company's website and will soon be arriving in shops. Pre-orders are being accepted for the Tactile One. The iOS cradle handles only the iPhone 3GS or newer and the iPod Touch (3rd generation or newer).