Although there are plenty of third-party keyboards available for your iPhone or iPad, most conflict with Apple's minimalist philosophy. Folks who require a full size keyboard for their mobile iDevice must clutter their workspace with a second keyboard alongside their primary computer. Solving that problem, Matias recently unveiled three keyboards that allow you to toggle between your desktop and mobile systems.
Priced at $99.95, the Matias "One Keyboard" looks similar enough to your typical rubber dome keyboard with a number pad, media controls on the F keys and the added luxury of a two-port USB 2.0 hub. However, the area above the arrow keys has been gutted to make room for an iPhone cradle. Print screen and other missing buttons exist as secondary keys (the function modifier is positioned left of the arrows).
The One Keyboard connects to your computer via USB and to your iGadget via Bluetooth. You can switch between the two with a button on the top bezel. The Bluetooth chip is fully powered via the USB connectivity to your machine, so there are no batteries involved. Both the Mac and PC models (FK301MI and FK301PI) appear to have some controls for your mobile device, such as the ability to adjust screen brightness.
For folks who prefer compact chiclet-style keyboards, Matias offers the $79.95 "Slim One Keyboard." This setup sheds the number pad and the integrated iPhone/iPod touch holder, but lefties might appreciate the external "MiniRizer" stand that allows you to position the handset on either side of the board. You can also adjust the angle of your handset between 15, 25 or 50 degrees, making the screen more visible.
The "Tactile One" is Matias' priciest option at $199.95 and offers similar features to the standard One Keyboard, except its USB 2.0 hub gains an extra port and it has mechanical switches. Instead of Cherry MX switches like most mechanical keyboards today, the Tactile One uses switches by Alps Electric Co., just like the old school Apple Extended and Extended II, which shipped with Macs in the late 80s and early 90s.
In fact, Matias makes modern versions of the Extended boards without the iPhone connectivity called the "Tactile Pro," if you're interested. Like Cherry, Alps makes a broad selection of switch models so we're not sure what's inside the Tactile One. From what we've been able to discern, the Tactile Pro 3.0 uses white Alps switches (clicky and tactile) and logic stands to reason that the Tactile One uses the same parts.
Besides its physical and audible feedback, the Tactile One offers n-key rollover (NKRO), a feature commonly aimed at gamers as it allows them to press any key combo without missing a beat. True NKRO generally requires keyboards to connect via PS/2, whereas USB limits the keyboard to 6KRO (the ability to press six keys simultaneously). Matias doesn't explain this, but again, it seems like a safe assumption.