It’s no secret that I have a thing about typewriters. I spent most of my working life , including my early years as a journalist, clattering away on old Underwoods, Royals and Imperials. I remember the fun of rubbing out mistakes with a special extra-abrasive eraser, later made redundant by messy white Tipp-Ex liquid. In contrast to that nostalgic mechanical clattery, today’s near-silent, micro-throw keyboards are a boring lot.
Enter the Qwerkywriter for an iPad or Mac near you. This is without a doubt the best looking and most intriguing retro keyboard I have clapped eyes upon. As the manufacturers, Qwerkytoys, point out, “We think the modern workspace is stale and boring. There is so much emphasis on function that we’ve forgotten to have some fun.”
This gorgeous little electronic version of the old Smith-Corona connects wirelessly to just about anything, including iPhones, iPads and Macs. It features “industrial strength” mechanical switches that “provide a unique clicky tactile feel.” But forget the unique bit, I’ll settle for a rip off of the 1936 Imperial.
Joy of joys is the Macro Return Bar, what we used to call the carriage return lever. It can be made to perform like the old return, moving to a new line or paragraph (but without casting your iPad, Olive Oyl fashion, to oblivion). But it is also programmable and can remember up to five characters.
I think I want one. Stephen Fry already has one. About the only sticking points are the price, a rather hefty $329, around £212 and the problem of not being able to try one in-store. Yet it’s a lot of money for a wireless keyboard, even if it is housed “entirely in an aluminum(sic)-metal alloy for that luxurious blend of the past and future.” I bet Jony Ive has ordered one. He, at least, can spell and pronounce aluminium properly.