Have you heard of the Optimus Maximus yet? It’s the ultimate computer keyboard (no kidding!), it costs $1500 (no, really, I’m serious!), and I’m not interested (even though I’m a keyboard nut).
First, an introduction to the Maximus: It’s a 113-key PC keyboard. But each key is actually a mini OLED display, so the user can apply custom labels on the fly based on what application is in use. This is fairly cool – the (Photoshopped) demo pictures show a specialized Quake layout and talk about Hiragana and even Quenya (for all you Elves in the house!).
So imagine a massive keyboard (most common ‘boards have 101 to 105 keys) with glowing, possibly animated, keys. One that has to be plugged into its own power supply because no USB port could handle the load. One where the layout might just change on you when you alt-tab (or command-tab – Mac OS X works, too) over to another application. One that cost you more than many desktop PCs.
Having a hard time imagining it? Well, you’ll have to because even though it’s been the geeky fanboy’s dream since 2005, it’s still not shipping. Wait ’till February, they say! In the mean time, you can get a fairly cool 3-key version (is something with just three keys really a keyboard?!?) called the Mini Three for just $150! And as if one vaporware keyboard wasn’t enough, the Optimus people just announced variants with 47, 10, and one (One?!? The space bar?!?) programmable key for the cost of a sweet hi-def digicam, a full-price TiVo Series 3, or an iPhone (plus tax)! And they’re all shipping in February! Really! Here, look at the box!
Me? I’ll stick to my beloved 1987 IBM Model M – a keyboard that has served me for nearly two decades, attached to a dozen different PCs. A keyboard that people can truly wax enthusiastic for, since it’s a keyboard not some multi-display monstrosity. A keyboard that you can type 90 words per minute on. A keyboard that can handle a coffee spill. A keyboard that makes people on the other end of conference calls say “what is that noise?” A keyboard you can still buy (new old stock) for under $100!
Though I do miss the programmability of the Gateway AnyKey sometimes…