Here's a some hands on experience with the new keyboard
, as opposed to the conjecture being posted of late.
This is a great review, however I'd like to focus on one thing that I don't agree with, and which I think can explain the problem.
Bottom line on the keyboard changes, the usability is still top notch and all of the essential keys such as alpha, numeric and common cursor movement keys are in the same location. The biggest challenge with changes will be in regards to remapping your brain to find and reach the keys that moved such as Home, End and Delete.
It is exactly this (IMO, flawed) thinking that gets us these keyboards where they constantly shuffle keys around and it is exactly the thing that the people who wonder why we're complaining fail to understand.
Many people think that the keyboard is just for typing text. And therefore as long as the alphanumeric keys are at the same place, then the keyboard is by definition good. In his review, Andrew shows that there is no handicap in typing on the new keyboard. This is very important (it would be a pity to know that the key travel or key spacing is somehow messed up which makes typing more difficult), but it's not enough. Because a keyboard is not only for typing text
. I can't blame people for thinking it is, because for many of them it is. Some people really use a keyboard only for typing and use the mouse for everything else. They never use a single keyboard shortcut (or maybe only the very basic ones such as Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V), and maybe only use Pgup/Pgdn every once in a while to scroll text faster.
If this is one's operating mode, then one is not utilizing the keyboard fully and is not as productive as one could be. Unfortunately it's a "cycle with no escape": To be more productive you want to master keyboard navigation/shortcuts. To master them, you have to memorize the key locations in muscle memory. And this in turn makes you depend more on their locations, so when the layout is changed - you're suddenly severely handicapped.
Quite a few people have been complaining about the Fn/Ctrl key swap on Thinkpad keyboards. While I don't share those particular sentiments, I can understand them. And these are just two keys. Here - a whole bunch of keys are moved or eliminated. No wonder more people complain.