NuPhy designed its mechanical keyboard to physically reside above the built-in keyboard of a MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro. It “locks” into place using notches on the bottom that fit between and around the laptop’s keys. It does not extend over the Function keys or Touch Bar.
This mechanical keyboard seemingly targets users on the go. In the home or office, many MacBook owners may use traditional, full-sized external keyboards rather than the built-in keyboard. But once they’re out and about, that bulky keyboard isn’t ideal, especially when paired with a mouse, stand, and other accessories.
“When we work on a laptop outdoors, we may feel discomfort with its keyboard,” the company told Digital Trends. “And this discomfort is especially noticeable on the latest MacBooks. We want to make the mechanical keyboard much smaller and can also use on your mobile devices. This is the origin of NuType.”
Many current MacBooks have “butterfly” switches. This design has a hinge in the middle to form a “V” that’s prone to collecting dust, dirt, and food particles. Despite three generations and Apple’s efforts to eliminate failure rates, butterfly key issues persist.
A mechanical switch doesn’t share this design. Instead, it has a stem, a coil spring, and a crosspoint contact. They’re typically loud, provide some tactile feedback, and don’t fall apart like the commonly used “X” design used in most laptops.
Due to the NuType’s target market, it uses Kaihua’s Choc low profile switches. They feature a “box” design that encloses the stem to prevent exposure to dust, moisture, and grime. NuPhy says they’re 42% smaller than the standard mechanical switch.
While the NuType’s overall design complements MacBooks, it’s compatible with the Surface Pro, Surface Book, and Surface Laptop. It includes a SmartCase cover that connects to the keyboard using magnets and folds into a stand.
For customers who don’t own a MacBook or Surface device, this portable mechanical keyboard works with any Bluetooth-enabled device, such as the iPad Pro or a Windows 10 desktop.
NuPhy’s crowdfunding project for NuType begins on November 11.
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