Updated this article from 12/19/22 on 2/8/23 with OnePlus’s announcement of the name of the keyboard, a photo, and product details.
Hey, have you ever heard of OnePlus? Well, okay, the typical Macworld reader probably has, because they tend to be into tech more than most people. But in the general Apple community, it wouldn’t be surprising that a majority have not heard of the Android phone and accessory maker. But we all might be hearing a little more about them soon.
That’s because OnePlus is collaborating with Keychron on a mechanical keyboard for the Mac. The OnePlus Featuring Keyboard 81 Pro is not one of those annoying “Mac-compatible” keyboards with a Windows key layout and Mac-compatible software drivers. According to OnePlus, this keyboard “is designed to work seamlessly” on the Mac with a layout that “matches the MacBook keyboard,” though OnePlus says it will also work with Windows and Linux. Based on the photos OnePlus released at a February 8 press event, the keyboard looks to have a Command key–but the Fn key is in a different location from where Mac users are accustomed. See for yourself in the picture below.
The MacBook layout is surely one way to get Mac users interested. Another feature that will pique interest is its double-gasket mount design, which OnePlus says makes “typing an enjoyable motion.” Also, the keyboard’s product page states that the keys’ “sound is dampened.” OnePlus doesn’t directly say it’s quieter than Apple’s Magic Keyboard, but it seems to be a goal.
And if you need one more reason to check out a Mac keyboard from OnePlus—did we mention that they make Android phones and accessories?— the keyboard will have an aluminum body like Apple’s own Magic Keyboard. If it’s anything like Keychron’s other keyboards, that could mean it has a hefty design, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. OnePlus also promises customizable features, such as hot-swappable switches and open-source firmware.
It sounds like an interesting keyboard, and in general, keyboards are very subjective to each individual when it comes to usability and preference. Some people will read about these features and get excited, others will shrug with indifference. The one question all Mac users have is, can OnePlus successfully deliver on the nuances of the Mac experience in their keyboards? We’ll have to wait and see–OnePlus says that preorders start in April.
OnePlus is one of the most popular Android brands, building phones that rival premium handsets from Google and Samsung at a significantly lower cost. The company doesn’t say how much the keyboard will cost, but we assume it will be on the affordable side and likely cheaper than the Magic Keyboard.