As far back as the first iPad, I have preferred to use a keyboard accessory for my typing experience. I’m not alone on that with Apple introducing keyboards designed and engineered for iPad over the past couple of years – and they are some of the best.
However, I often find myself still opting to do certain tasks on my Mac over the iPad Pro. Particularly completing long assignments requiring a lot of typing and researching. Not because of the keyboard, but due to having to lift my hand to touch the screen for navigation. A repetitive action that quickly becomes tiring, but then came iPadOS.
In iPadOS Apple introduced all-new cursor support to iPad. Enabling precision control, navigating, scrolling, text control, and more. But as demonstrated in this video from Apple, it isn’t one simply copied over from Mac.
My preference for using a physical keyboard and trackpad with iPad quickly drew my attention to the new Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro. A new keyboard accessory from Apple which features a Mac-style keyboard and click-anywhere trackpad. With a new floating design with smooth angle adjustment, USB-C port, and more to go with it.
I remember opening the keyboard up and placing my iPad Pro on for the first time. The way the iPad snaps magnetically and floats just above the keyboard is gratifying. Giving a fresh, modern, and eye-grabbing look. And for the record, the magnets are so strong I can tip the keyboard upside down and the iPad remains in place. The hinge is also extremely sturdy and very well designed.
The floating design doesn’t just look great, it also enables the ability to smoothly adjust the angle of the iPad anywhere between 90 to 130 degrees. With a gentle push at the top or base of the iPad. Either way, the iPad floats above the keyboard.
The gap between the iPad and keyboard makes a difference in the typing experience. While typing, particularly tapping the numbers along the top row the tips of my fingers go slightly under the iPad. With this, it doesn’t feel cramped, although I do have the larger 12.9-inch model.
Although I can’t help but wish Apple added a functional row of keys at the top, even if they ended up slightly under the iPad (depending on the angle of it). Possibly even a TouchBar like the MacBook Pro, though several factors may prevent that for now – including cost. So for now audio control, adjusting screen brightness, and more is only possible on the iPad itself. And there is no ESC key.
Keyboard and Trackpad
The keyboard itself is a full-sized scissor-mechanism based one with 1.0mm of travel, complete with individual hard keycaps. The same type used on the new MacBooks. Because of this, Apple has been able to bring backlit keys for the first time on iPad.
All of this makes the typing experience very enjoyable and comfortable. I’ve been able to complete several assignments, articles, emails, and much more using the keyboard with no issue. Removing the need to go grab my Mac, making the iPad Pro capable of even more. But a big part of this is because of lies under the keyboard – a trackpad.
Under the space bar is a click-anywhere trackpad which has greatly changed the way I use my iPad. It also has gesture and scrolling support, just as you’d expect. It is by no means as large as the trackpads on MacBooksBooks, but still of decent size.
The design, keyboard, trackpad, plus the additional USB-C port for charging (freeing up the port on the iPad Pro) of the Magic Keyboard has had me using my iPad Pro a lot more. It is impressive at how much is packed into considering the thinness of the product. The same can’t be said about the weight though. But I won’t go as far as to say it is a deal-breaker.
Pricing and buying
Then there is the price. Magic Keyboard for the 11-inch iPad Pro is priced at a Recommended Retail Price of A$499. While the larger 12.9-inch configuration is priced at A$589. Making the cheapest iPad Pro with a Magic Keyboard configuration costing A$1,828. It isn’t exactly cheap, but it is probably the best keyboard option out there.
For that price, you are getting an iPad Pro with a considerable amount of technology and a well-designed keyboard and trackpad. Easily capable of performing tasks from studying, document creation, 4K video editing, streaming, conference calls, gaming, and much more. In my case, I’m able to complete assignments, research assignments, use a 3D Human Anatomy App, and more. While either using the iPad Pro on the keyboard or taking it off and annotate or take notes when studying using the Apple Pencil. This versatility is not possible with Mac.
iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro are both available for purchase from Apple’s online store. As well as selected Apple Authorised Resellers around Australia.