The keyboard itself often feels like an afterthought. Even in the best cases, it comes off as a grudging concession to those of us who really don’t want to use the digital keyboard for long typing sessions.
But Apple’s new Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro (go.macworld.com/magk) is the first one that actually feels as though you were meant to work on it. The backlit keys have great key travel, and they’re wide enough to recall the ones you’ll find on a MacBook. These features would have been impressive on their own, but Apple went a step further and included a trackpad and a dedicated charging port that greatly enriches the experience.
Taken together, these are signs that Apple is not only changing its ideas of what constitutes a good iPad keyboard case, but also in how it views the purpose for the iPad itself. For those of us who want to use Apple’s tablet in a workplace setting, that’s good news—although, as we’ll see, it comes with a hefty price.
As with the Smart Keyboard Folio (go. macworld.com/smtf) before it, “installing” the Magic Keyboard case involves nothing more than slapping the iPad Pro on the strong magnets inside the case. It pairs instantly just by touching the Smart Connector, so—unlike with a Bluetooth keyboard—you can already use it when you’re, say, entering your Wi-Fi password while setting up a brand-new iPad Pro.
The real improvements, though, appear once you open the case all the way. With the Smart Keyboard Folio, you simply propped the iPad into one of two grooves, which didn’t allow for a lot of options for viewing angles. The Magic Keyboard, though, features a system of two hinges that makes the iPad “float” about an inch above the keyboard, allowing you to tilt the screen until it settles into the perfect viewing angle. It’s quite sturdy. Apple released an ad depicting a hummingbird tilting the display backward just by tapping it, but in my experience it’s going to take a bit more force than that.
I’d go so far as to say that I like this kind of display arrangement more than the traditional laptop layout option, were it not for the fact that my fingers sometimes bump into the underside of the iPad while I’m typing. If you have big hands, it’s something you’ll want to watch out for.
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