I have been using a Mac laptop of some kind for a relatively short amount of time — only since March 2008, but since then there has always been a MacBook nearby, whether it was the 15″ MacBook Pro, a first generation MacBook Air, a second generation MacBook Air, a 17″ MacBook Pro, or more recently an 11″ MacBook Air. I’ve been pretty vocal stating my opinion that Mac makes some of the best hardware available, even if I am pretty agnostic about whether their operating system is better than Windows or not. Beyond the all metal bodies and slimmer than usual bodies, one of the things that sets Mac laptops apart from all others is their fabulous large glass trackpad; the newest ones have no buttons, and these trackpad’s big beautiful surface just begs for swipes, pinches, flicks, and scrolling. I became absolutely spoiled using one on my various MacBooks, which led to a slight problem when the opportunity arose for me to step up to a 27″ iMac.
I already owned an Apple Bluetooth Keyboard ($69), which I had originally ordered for my iPad but had never used. But after using a MacBook, going to a side by side keyboard/mouse combination no longer felt natural; I was too used to the keyboard above/trackpad below I had grown to love. The first step in trying to recapture my favorite input method was to order an Apple Magic Trackpad (also $69). So for ~$140 I had two input methods that I liked best, but there was still a problem … actually it was a pretty huge one. I liked using the aesthetically pleasing keyboard and trackpad, and they worked exactly as I hoped they would, but — and it was a huge but — I didn’t like using them side by side; doing so felt unnatural, weird and uncomfortable. What I truly wanted was my old MacBook laptop keyboard/trackpad layout back. Unfortunately that wasn’t possible due to the round battery compartments on both the keyboard and trackpad. Setting the trackpad in front of the keyboard looked and felt weird due to the steep inclines on both pieces.
I was actually finding that I preferred typing on my new MacBook Air over using the 27″ iMac, and for so many reasons, that was just disappointing and ridiculous. In desperation I took to Twitter one evening asking if anyone knew of a keyboard that looked like a laptop’s bottom half. A few suggestions came in, but there was one that made me immediately order: the BulletTrain Express Keyboard Platform. Composed of machined aluminum, the Express is a platform designed to accept your already purchased Apple Bluetooth Keyboard and Apple Magic Trackpad. Both pieces fit perfectly into the Express and are held in place with small bits of Velcro.
And yes, I can already hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth by all who think it is blasphemy to add a bit of Velcro to their beloved Apple components, but you know what? Get over yourself. This is one time that Velcro makes sense, and it isn’t hurting a darn thing. Really.
Cutouts placed where the trackpad and keyboards rounded battery compartments will sit ensure that there will be no weird angles or awkward slant when the components are placed in the platform.
With the Velcro placed and the components inserted into the Express, the end result is the perfect configuration for anyone who prefers the large screen of an iMac but the keying surface they are used to from their favorite MacBook. In all honesty, this is the keyboard that Apple should have made and offered for sale in the first place .. but for whatever reason Steve and company just didn’t feel the need. Thankfully Jake Ehrlich of BulletTrain saw the need, and he decided to create a device that would satisfy people like me.
Just as the MacBook’s keyboard and trackpad sit on a platform; now the Bluetooth Keyboard and Trackpad do as well. The result is a more ergonomic experience due to the now built-in wrist rests, and there is no wasted right to left movement (or left to right for those who are left-handed); instead there is the efficient up and down movement that MacBook users know and love. Best of all? The trackpad on the BulletTrain Express is much larger than the one on any MacBook — 88% larger according to the BulletTrain site, so there is even more room to perform all of the gestures that MacBook users take for granted.
The BulletTrain Express is the exact keyboard configuration that I wanted and didn’t think I would ever be able to find; it’s beautiful, functional, and it is an absolute must for anyone who loves their MacBook but also uses an iMac. As an added bonus, it is also the perfect solution for anyone who is using a Mac computer to drive their large screen TV. You can sit on the couch and rest the platform in your lap, and you can flip it upside down or sideways without worrying that the keyboard or Trackpad might fall out. Sure, it’s $99 on top of an already ~$140 investment, but if you already own the previous two components and you’ve felt like something was missing, but you couldn’t quite place your finger on it, then you will totally get the need for this product.
If you’ve been reading my writeup and you’ve been thinking to yourself that this is exactly what you’ve been looking for, then I suggest that you to place your order and not think twice about the price. I did, and I have no regrets.