Griffin Technology's iMate is a small hardware device that provides Apple Desktop
Bus (ADB) access to machines (Windows AND Mac) having USB ports and lacking built-in
ADB. It is a small plastic "box" about 2" x 1" x 0.5" with
a female ADB port at one end, and a short (17") cord ending in a USB connector
at the other end. It supports a long list of ADB devices from keyboards, joysticks,
trackballs and mice to drawing tablets, touchscreens, hardware protection dongles,
barcode scanners, displays and display calibrators, and other miscellaneous ADB devices.
It is a simple and inexpensive path for those having a sizable investment and/or
interest in ADB devices they wish to continue to use in a USB environment. It's
also useful to those having software with ADB plug-in "copy protection"
devices necessary to "unlock" certain software applications.
The iMate is compatible with any Mac USB port and operating systems from 9.1 through
OS X, as well as Windows. Specifically, the manufacturer specifies: "Mac:
Mac OS 9.1 or greater, or OS X, USB port PC: Windows 98, Me, 2000 or XP, USB port"
. More explicit details about iMac use, USB PCI ports, and Windows PC compatibility
are available at Griffin's web site.
I purchased a Griffin Technology's iMate locally from Fry's for $36 plus tax (Griffin
web site price is $39). This device converts a USB port to a single ADB port and
allows you to use older ADB devices. In some cases, you may need downloadable drivers
to support your machine. The web site has a fairly comprehensive and long list of
ADB devices supported. The device comes in a simple blister pack. Other than some
simple identification/advertising on the piece of cardboard in the clear package,
there appeared to be no instructions and no software was physically included. A
visit to Griffin's web site provided ample descriptions, downloadable
was a "non-event" - plug the iMate into an available USB port, and
then plug in your ADB device. Software drivers were similarly as easy - download
from the Griffin Technology web site, unstuff, and install.
My objective was to be able to use an older Apple Extended Keyboard II with my G4
because I absolutely hate the "feel" of the newer USB keyboards that came
with G3 and G4 generation machines (they lack the tactile "feedback" of
the older keyboard). While there is the Matias Tactile Pro keyboard, I was looking for a less expensive
option by way of a USB to ADB converter.
This is my second try to bridge the USB/ADB interface. The previous try (cannot remember
the device name) was advertised as supporting OS 7 thru OS 9 "and up",
but neglected to specify that it DID NOT include OS X. The iMac is OS 10.3.4 compatible,
as well as supporting OS 9 (if you're running an older OS, you probably have a built-in
The keyboard works as expected, including being able to use the "power on"
button in the upper right hand corner. F12 works to open and close the internal
CD drawer. "Caps lock" illuminates and functions as expected. No identified
problems or conflicts occurred with either the hardware or the software.
The Griffin iMate
is a simple USB to ADB device that allows you to use ADB hardware with the USB ports
on your newer generation Mac. The iMate works as advertised - it provides a "daisy
chainable" ADB port via a USB port. The iMate is a much less expensive option
to support my objective of using my old ADB tactile keyboard, assuming, of course,
you already have such a keyboard lying around. It is a "no brainer"
to install both the hardware device and the drivers, and has evidenced no hardware,
software, or system conflicts to date. The iMate is functional, cost effective,
and allows retention and continued use of a wide variety of ADB interface devices.
This devices is especially useful for long time Mac users and those "bottom
feeders" amongst us who retain, find, and continue to use or recycle older devices
with proven functionality. The iMate is worth a try if you have an ADB device that
you really want to keep on using in a USB world. I highly recommend it.
- Works as advertised
- Allows continued use
of ADB devices in a USB world
5 out of 5 Mice