I’ve just considered how conservative keyboard manufacturers are. Look at your keyboard right now. At every key. And think when was the last time you used it.
Letters, numbers, ESC, Enter, and spacebar are about the most used ones. Ctrl, Alt, Shift are too. Backspace and Delete get a share of their usage. That’s about it for frequent keys.
Home, End, Page Up and Page Down were much more useful before. Not anymore, I guess. Most people prefer either a shortcut or a mouse click or scroll. I don’t know anyone personally who have used Insert key at least five times in the last ten years.
Function keys (F1, F2, F3, …) used to be very useful in DOS times. I know a few people who use them these days, but those are very few.
Tab is very useful for programmers and system administrators. Not much so for the rest of the world.
Caps Lock and Scroll Lock are the two keys that I’ve never used. Caps Lock in fact does more harm than good.
Sys Rq, Break, and Pause – hardly anyone knows what these keys can be used for.
My point is that times change, software changes, needs change. But the keyboard hasn’t changed much in it’s lifetime. Mouse is a much simplier device, but it went through a whole bunch of evolution changes (trackballs, optical mice, scroll wheels, one-two-three-…-ten buttons, sizes, shapes, etc). Keyboard? No.
There are just a few modifications that I’ve seen – blank keyboard (no letters on buttons), LED keyboard (which is still in prototype), hacking keyboard (no caps lock, no number pad on the right). That’s about it.
Do you know of any other interesting keyboards (no multimedia keyboards, please)? Do you like this keyboard conservatism?