A few years ago, I was in the middle of grad school and about to embark on the biggest writing project I've ever done: my dissertation. I knew I was in for a lot of typing, so on my next visit to my parents' house, I went into the basement and uncovered a dusty box: the Apple Extended Keyboard II my family bought with our first Mac.
After years of typing exclusively on PowerBook and MacBook keyboards, getting used to the monster travel of the AEK II's buckling spring switches was an adjustment, but it felt great. The problem was that it was utterly un-portable, so it lived full-time on my desk at home — and I was doing at least half of my writing at campus libraries and in coffee shops. And when the dissertation and my degree were done, I packed up my apartment and the clicky keyboard went back into its box.
Last fall, Apple caught me unawares and I surprised myself by buying the first desktop Mac of my very own, a 4K iMac. Planning out my new, immobile home workstation, I thought the AEK II would finally have a proper, permanent home. But the iMac of course came with a keyboard, and right in the name it purported to be, well, Magic.
I was skeptical because I'd tried the much-maligned keyboard on the 12" MacBook — and found it utterly unusable. Its miniscule key travel puts it in the uncanny valley of typing: am I supposed to tap or press? Mentally counting repeat keystrokes, which you probably do more than you realize — think tabbing, deleting, and arrowing — was impossible in my in-store trial.
I expected nearly the same of the Magic keyboard, and was pleasantly surprised at the feel of its keys. They aren't clicky in the traditional sense; I think the best word to describe their action is "snappy". The travel is tactile and sharp, and the slim profile fits modern ergonomic sensibilities, unlike the giant, wrist-bending lip of the Extended II.
The transition wasn't perfectly seamless. Early on, I accidentally registered some software under a misspelling of my name. But since, my accuracy is back at normal levels, even with the new mixed-size arrows. They've presented me little trouble for typing or casual gaming (I played Undertale with them and never cursed the keyboard for HP lost). They don't, however, give a cue for the edge of the keyboard, which based on its design should be nestled firmly against a Magic Trackpad 2. Instead, I have to maintain a decidedly un-magical gap between the two, but it's a small price to pay for a great typing experience.
And every time I use a Mac laptop, I wish its built-in keyboard were Magic. While it seems a shoo-in for the Pros, hopefully it can squeeze into a rev'd MacBook too, because this isn't a compromise. I'm a convert: the Magic Keyboard is a great modern keyboard.