Like so many Apple products, its new aluminum keyboard is endowed with artistic pizzazz as well as mundane functionality. The recessed keys on the new Apple keyboard sit atop a flat aluminum plate, in contrast to the raised plastic beds used by other manufacturers.
By redesigning the keyboard in this manner, I speculate that Apple may be trying to help computer users who suffer from acute arm strain and carpal tunnel syndrome. That’s all well and good. For unknown reasons, Apple neglected to attach a NumLock label to any of its keys. This caused a temporary problem for one of my clients who regularly runs QuickBooks for Windows on her Mac laptop using Virtual PC. She found that pressing each of the number keys on the keypad failed to generate a numeric character on the screen when she ran QuickBooks. In contrast, the numeric keypad worked as expected when she operated a Mac application like Excel. She figured the problem occurs in Virtual PC because the keyboard doesn’t have a NumLock key.
I attached her keyboard to my laptop and started up Virtual PC. I was able to replicate her keyboard response (or lack thereof) using Notepad. During my tests, I accidentally pressed the Clear key that sits above the 7 key. I then clicked a few keys on the numeric keypad. Voila! Numeric characters began to appear on screen. I had found the phantom NumLock key.
The Apple Keyboard retails for $49. A wireless version sells for $79.