Alongside the new 24in iMac Apple introduced a new keyboard: the Magic Keyboard with Touch ID. This is a feature that's been available on Apple's laptops for a few years, but it's the first time that it has been possible to log in using Touch ID on an external Apple keyboard.
The Magic Keyboard with Touch ID will make logging into your Mac easier, and you will also be able to confirm purchases thanks to the Secure Enclave security function of the M1 chip.
Another bonus: if more than one person uses the iMac this won't be a problem - it is possible to switch users quickly with their fingerprints.
How to buy the new Touch ID Magic Keyboard
The new keyboard is available in the same seven colours as the new iMacs. You will get keyboard that matches the colour of the iMac you have ordered, and a matching mouse, in the box. It is not possible to mix and match.
Neither is it possible to buy the new keyboards separately, at least not currently, although this may eventually change (we imagine there will be a market for these keyboards to be used with an iPad Air).
Another thing to note: the Touch ID version of the keyboard only ships with certain iMacs. It is not automatically included with the cheapest model. In that case buyers get a colour matched Magic Keyboard without Touch ID. It is possible to purchase the Touch ID version of the keyboard as a build to order option when you buy this Mac. We don't yet know how much extra this option will cost.
The new iMacs will be available for pre-order from 30 April, and on sale in the second half of May. You can pre-order the iMac on Apple's website.
There are three new keyboards
Apple also offers a version that adds Touch ID to a numeric keypad - so you can get an option that has additional number keys on the right side of the keyboard if you need them. Excessive Excel/Numbers spreadsheet users will appreciate that.
As yet we don't know how much the alternative keyboard options will cost. Apple probably won't reveal this information until the pre-orders go live on 30 April.
However, we can look at the current pricing for a basic idea:
Previously if you upgraded an iMac at point of sale to include a numeric keypad it cost an additional £30/$30.
The new keyboards are compatible with other Macs
It appears that it the Touch ID function is compatible with all M1 Macs - including the Mac mini and the new MacBooks.
You can only buy them with the M1 Mac (for now?) but you can use them (with Touch ID!) on other M1 Macs, or just as BT keyboards (no Touch ID) on Intel Macs/other devices. https://t.co/mOOp5mbmg2— Rene Ritchie (@reneritchie) April 20, 2021
On other Macs or Windows PCs, you can apparently use the keyboard as a conventional Bluetooth keyboard. This is likely to also apply to iOS devices.
Magic Keyboard with Touch ID colours
The entry-level 24in iMac comes in fewer colour options and therefore so do the accompanying keyboards. You have the choice of blue, green, pink and silver. It doesn't appear to be possible to choose an alternative keyboard colour (and we're not sure why anyone would want to).
The other 24in iMacs include the additional options of yellow, orange and purple.
The keyboard is charged with a colour-coordinated USB-C to Lightning cable - which can also be used to charge the mouse.
There are new functions besides Touch ID
Apple has changed the key labelling and assignment a little - changes that also apply to the new version of the Magic Keyboard without Touch ID.
- The new keyboard no longer features an eject button (to be honest we are surprised it still featured); in its place is the new Touch ID button.
- The functions of the F5 and F6 keys are also new; they now start the microphone and activate the idle state.
- The bottom left key (fn) is now the Emoji key.
Magic Keyboard with Touch ID dimensions
The new keyboard weighs 241g without the numeric keypad and is 279 x 114 x 11mm (W/H/D).
With the numeric keypad included it weighs 367g and has the dimensions 419 x 115 x 10 mm. This is according to data published by the FCC.
This article originally appeared on Macwelt. Translation by Karen Haslam.