There’s been more hype about the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro than for the iPad Pro itself. I think that’s because the iPad Pro is exceptional, but the 2020 model doesn’t immediately offer a huge change to the models that came before it. Until you add the Apple Magic Keyboard.
So, does it really make a difference?
The answer is simple. Yes. Very much so.
Perhaps more importantly, does it make the iPad more of a Laptop Alternative in the “post PC era”?
Again, the answer is simple, Yes, Yes it does.
I loved the addition of true mouse support with the latest iPad OS, released with the new iPad Pro – it really made this a compelling device for daily use for every situation.
However, the “Smart Keyboard” you get from Apple is a good accessory, but a poor keyboard. It’s the keyboard you use when you don’t want to use a touch-screen, but it wouldn’t be your first choice of keyboards for work and productivity.
The Magic Keyboard is.
This keyboard uses the same key mechanism as the MacBook range, making the touch to type feel “normal”.
The arrow keys under the right hand shift key are in the inverse T formation making it easy to use without looking.
However the true champion of this product is the touchpad. Right there, as normal on a laptop, a touchpad under the space bar.
The iPad doesn’t need for a mouse most of the time, the touch screen does it all, but any regular laptop user will find themselves using the trackpad for simple things like cursor placement or highlights, even basic navigation.
On the side is a USB-C port which you can use to charge the iPad Pro. You cannot attach an external device there, you must use the USB-C port at the bottom of the iPad. Very handy when stuck at your desk, keep the device charged but have access to your portable drive and files.
I’ve never used an iPad as much as I have this week with the iPad Pro and the Magic Keyboard.
I am a bit disappointed with the range of motion in the iPad. It sits elevated from the keyboard which is great to ensure you see every single part of the screen but your fingers tapping away don’t interfere. However it’s really only the second hinge right on the back of the iPad that has a range of motion.
If the lower hinge on the desk which has the USB-C port in it had some additional backwards travel in it, I think there would be more options for how you prefer to look at your iPad if that was changed, but it’s a very minor criticism.
This is the closest Apple have ever come to truly presenting the iPad as an alternative to the purchase of a laptop.
Sadly, it’s expensive. $499 for the 11 inch version, and a staggering $589 for the 12.9 inch version. A $200+ premium over the existing Smart Keyboard Folio.
Is it worth it? yes, can you justify it? Up to you.