I’m glad to see they’re going to have a keyboard though I’m going to hold off ordering one. I had the previous version for my 12.9". While I liked it I found I had a few issues and ended up using the Apple Smart Keyboard most of the time. The issues with that version that I expect might be a problem again based on photos:
• The iPad sits very low and accessing the edge of the screen to swipe up for the dock was much more difficult. I found I often had to make multiple attempts. It was bad enough that I added small rubber shims to my hinges to lift the iPad up just a bit. This would be more of a problem now given the increased importance of swiping up as the new home button.
• I like removing my iPad from the keyboard to use as a tablet. The grip of the hinges is pretty tight. Not so tight that it can’t be done but tight enough that it made me uncomfortable. It was the sort of thing, given the iPad screen is made of glass, I always took care when doing it. It was enough friction that I wouldn’t call it easy. With the Smart Keyboard Folio it is super easy to either fold the keyboard back or to just pop it off completely.
• Something I love about the Smart Keyboard Folio is that by design my fingers are just inches away from the screen. For accessing the dock, tapping the screen, etc., just a tiny reach does the trick. That matters when I’m using the device 7+ hours a day. With the Brydge, there an extra bit of space. It’s not much, just an added couple of inches. But I noticed it.
• This next is more a concern than a problem. Those hinges are very small. It never caused damage but I always worried just a little bit. The iPad is pretty sturdy, no doubt. But those hinges are tight and because they can’t be floppy in movement they are firm as you would expect when opening, closing, and using. But such a small area making contact on two points of the screen, to me, seems like a recipe for a problem after long term use and pressure applied to those areas.
• Build quality was always a concern. Many people reported needing to return units multiple times. Mine was almost perfect. At first it seemed perfect. After a few months the space bar was a bit flakey. I lived with it because I didn’t want to chance a return only to get something worse.
• iOS 13 will be coming. If they offer mouse/trackpad support I know I would not be happy with such a nice keyboard that didn’t have one. For that alone I would at least hold off till June.
I think I would be much more excited about the new Brydge if I weren’t so happy with the new keyboard folio. I find the key action perfect and the greatly increased stability means using it in my lap now basically feels like a laptop. I also appreciate that it is quite a bit lighter than the Brydge. It does still lack the backlight and the media control keys which is a bummer.