The AppleDesign Keyboard replaced the Apple Extended Keyboard II in 1994 and its design was meant to complement the design of Macintosh computers of the time. This keyboard included one additional ADB port (instead of two) that was somewhat hidden on the bottom of the keyboard. The ADB connector cable was permanently attached to the keyboard, while previous keyboard models used two ADB ports and shipped with an ADB cable that could be removed.
This keyboard was also released in black to match a black Performa 5420 (available in Europe), and a black Power Macintosh 5500 (available in Asia).
As of 2020 Apple has released approximately 20 external keyboard designs. In general, Apple Macintosh keyboards are different from standard keyboards because they include a Command key (⌘) for shortcuts; an Option key (⌥) for entering diacritical marks and special characters; and a Help or fn (function) key. Earlier Apple keyboards also included a power key (◁), while newer keyboards include eject (⏏).
According to the User’s Guide, “AppleDesign Powered Speakers are the first powered speakers designed by a computer company specifically for use with a personal computer.” The guide goes on to explain that the speakers provide CD-quality sound from both the CD-ROM drive and the computer at the same time. The setup includes both a main speaker and a “satellite speaker.”
The two speakers are meant to be connected by an included speaker wire. The main speaker includes a Subwoofer output jack that allows a non-Apple powered (2 volts peak to peak) subwoofer to be connected.
The maximum sound output is listed at 90 dB at 0.5 meters and 90 Hz. The dimensions are 9.25 x 4.5 x 4.25 inches.
These AppleDesign Powered Speakers represent the first in my full collection of all of Apple’s standalone powered speakers. These speakers were followed by the AppleDesign Powered Speakers II, the iPod Hi-Fi, and eventually the HomePod. The only Apple powered speakers I do not currently own are the rare black AppleDesign Powered Speakers II.
The data sheet that Apple provided for the AppleDesign Powered Speakers II described them as “audiophile-quality…designed to work perfectly with virtually any personal computer, portable CD player or audio cassette player and with any television that supports sound output.”
The design of the rear speaker leg allowed the speakers to be adjusted to various angles. The power and volume controls was located in the front of the right speaker and an included cable with 3.5 mm plugs that connected the two speakers. Volume and an external headphone port were also located on the front of the right speaker. A stereo audio input port was located on the rear of the right speaker.
The speakers delivered 90 dB at 0.5m at 200Hz. Each speaker measures 6.8 inches tall, 4.1 inches wide, and 3.9 inches deep. The speakers were available as a set and as a part of the Apple Multimedia Kit for Macintosh.
This AppleDesign Powered Speakers II model is beige and matches Apple desktop computers sold at the time. Another version, considered far more rare, was also available in black with silver metallic Apple logos.