Six Months with Apple’s Magic Keyboard for iPad

Apple’s plan to turn the iPad into a laptop alternative is taking shape.
Slowly.

Over the past year, the company has introduced mouse support for iPadOS, the Magic Keyboard and additional Apple Pencil features that make the iPad a much better tablet.

At the iPad Air event last month, Apple promised that preorders for the new tablet would start in October. But here’s a pro tip; you can order the iPad Air 4th generation Magic Keyboard now.

This compatibility is because the Magic Keyboard for the 11 inch iPad Pro fits the footprint of the new iPad Air exactly. The new iPad Air has slightly larger bezels for the somewhat smaller 10.9-inch display. So if you’re excited for the new Air, you can at least buy half of the machine now and wait for preorders to go live soon.

This is the future!

I’ve been using the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with the Magic Keyboard for six months and here’s my honest review.
If you’re new to the Magic Keyboard, the first thing you’ll notice is that it’s really heavy. That’s to help stabilise the heavy iPad floating above the keyboard.

The keyboard is one of the best I’ve ever used. It’s better than any MacBook or any Smart Folio for the iPad. It’s just amazing.
Sometimes you just need a real mouse cursor

The trackpad is equally good. But (this is where things start to come undone) the software is quite limiting, which means that the mouse cursor emulates a finger or a touch instead of working like a real mouse cursor which makes it hard to do real work. You’ll need to re-learn the way you’ve used a mouse on a MacBook or PC to get the most out of the Magic Keyboard which is very disappointing. Sometimes you just need a real mouse cursor in order to interact with an object in a familiar and expected way.

Yikes!

The build quality is excellent at first blush. But after only six months it’s showing its age. The areas on either side of the hinge is losing its protective outer layer.

This damage appears to be happening because these areas are not reinforced with edging or hemmed down to keep it from fraying. It is surprising that this delamination is happening this soon to an accessory that costs more than the entry-level 2020 iPad.

So if you’re planning on getting one, be sure to put some extra money aside as it may break after only a short period. It’s also surprising that this damage is happening during the pandemic when the iPad spends hardly any time in my backpack.

This is the future?

So, overall, I am happy with the iPad Pro Magic Keyboard. I can’t say I’m blown away by something this expensive but it’s good enough to make the iPad a little better than before. It’s still absolutely NOT a PC or MacBook replacement because iPadOS is still too difficult to use for real work. And Apple puts too many limitations on the OS to force us to buy a MacBook as well.

Even while writing this story on Medium I had to return to my MacBook to reallign an image because Medium’s web interface did not recognise input from Apple’s cocamamy circular cursor. Yes, you read that correctly, I had to go back to the Mac for basic word processing.
But, if you want a slightly better iPad, and the new colourful iPad Air and you don’t mind wasting money. I would say, go for it. It’s certainly different, and you’ll love it while it lasts.

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