Disappointed (or not) by Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro

So I received my Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro (12.9 inch, 2018) yesterday. I had a relatively high expectation of it given the hypes, but became doubtful as soon as I picked up the shipping box — it was as though I was holding the package of another iPad, instead of an accessory to it.

Portability issue aside, I’m super annoyed by the fact that the Magic Keyboard completely eliminate the possibility to use the iPad as an OG iPad without detaching it from the keyboard. I’ve been using the Smart Keyboard Folio, which, although being mocked for its outward-facing key caps, allows me to fold it to the back of my iPad when I, say, wait in the line and don’t want to hold two pieces of hardware instead of one on my already occupied hands.

The keyboard and trackpad are also inferior to the Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad sold separately as Mac accessories, respectively. The keys wobble a lot as I type and therefore feels cheap. The trackpad has reasonably space but is prolate, making scrolling operations awkward. It also requires much more force to press in that the trackpad is mechanical rather than Force Touch-capable.

I have watched early reviewer videos on YouTube and was surprised that many of them praise the Magic Keyboard without mentioning annoyances I’ve found. I respectfully disagree with them. Some may argue that the Magic Keyboard can be used as a stationary “dock.” However, I think to promote iPad as a “next-generation” computing device, accessories shall extend its use scenarios instead of reducing them. The Magic Keyboard fails in my opinion as it exactly does the latter.

I’m now considering returning the keyboard if I can’t find justification for using it instead of my keyboard folio during the remaining days in the 14-day returning window. Or maybe it can serve as a good dumbbell for the WFH days in want of exercises.


Courtesy of the Magic Keyboard (and Jump Desktop)… I do get a decent Surface device.

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Even with the current Smart Keyboard Folio I often take the iPad out…it is way more portable that way. Is that not easily done with the Magic Keyboard?

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It’s not hard to detach; easier if i’d say, as the Magic Keyboard is structurally sturdier. My argument is that users should be allowed to choose not to detach if the sceneraio so requires or if that’s what they prefer.

Oh ok. Yah, I think this serves a different purpose. I get your point, but I don’t think this accessory can be everything to everyone. If folding all the way around, I wonder if they’d have to give up pass-through charging, or the sturdiness of the hinge? Or maybe in their testing they realized it was too heavy for that and people were just detaching it anyway? A glimpse into their internal product testing would be fascinating.

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Here’s a good quote from Gruber’s review to illustrate the difference between the two keyboard cases.

The Smart Keyboards are iPad covers you can type on. The Magic Keyboard is a portable keyboard stand, not a cover — when you want to use your iPad as a tablet, not a laptop, you must detach it.

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Standard Mac KB and trackpad (when in office). Device independent so not going to get pushed into getting the latest and shiniest way for Apple to empty my bank account. Plus the Mac KB is the best keyboard I have used (not a hardcore typist though), even used it when on Windows many years ago.

I picked up an Apple leather iPad case from ebay for a steal, the Mac KB is light enough to go in my briefcase with ease and I have a stand for when in office. so for me its the perfect and reasonably long term solution.

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As has been said by others here, this is a different kind of beast than already existing devices. It seems unreasonable to expect the same kind of haptics as found in a Magic Trackpad - have you seen the size of this thing compared to the thinness of the Magic Keyboard for iPad?
If you want absolute portability then the Folio is for you (and there’s a reason why it’s still on sale). Or a separate keyboard which works just as fine. These are not either / or propositions. I instantly fell in love with my Magic Keyboard for iPad because I prioritize the typing experience above everything else - and I’m so happy with it. If the device does not correspond to your use case, you must indeed return it, but you cannot expect MacBook-like features in such a slim package.

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I see it as a portable docking station + keyboard, with the benefit of easy detachment for use as a pure tablet. Apple clearly wanted people to be able to free themselves of the keyboard easily, instead of being tied to it and hiding the keyboard like the Smart Keyboard (or the Microsoft Surface).

I agree with Dieter Bohn’s review that compares the Surface and finds it to offer more viewing angles, including radical, near horizontal ones for drawing, but the tradeoff is a bigger, heavier, less comfortably handholdable tablet experience… which Apple’s design clearly is prioritizing. But who knows, if enough people want that you’ll probably see a Surface-clone case with a kickstand. (Though I doubt it.).

Ultimately I think Gruber got it right when he wrote, “the iPad Magic Keyboard is not cheap, but it feels like a premium product. I find it unlikely we’ll find a peripheral with comparable quality at a lower price.”

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I have a common scenario here. Sitting in the metro, I want to read the news on my iPad. Right now I’m just taking it out and put the cover on the back. Finished.

With the new Magic Keyboard, I take it out of the backpack, remove the keyboard, put the keyboard back to the backpack with one hand (since the other holds my expensive iPad) and then I can start to read. When I arrive at the destination I have get the Magic Keyboard out of my backpack with one hand and put the iPad back in.

Seems like a major annoyance twice a day (at least)… . The iPads strength is its versatile use, this case limits it, at least for me.

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You might not find much support for your opinion OP.

I find that with expensive products there is a lot of people suffering with Choice-supportive bias or post- purchase rationalization.

But let’s be honest here, the product is overpriced, overhyped and cumbersome.

Inb4 “Each to their own”, “it’s all subjective/relative”, “That’s just your opinion” instead of making COMPELLING or RATIONAL arguments (rather than “I wanted it” or “It’s my money” hurr durr).

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I have to offer the same advice to the OP and @Benjamin_D - this probably isn’t the right accessory for you. It’s sounds like the keyboard folio (which I love and have been using near daily for more than a year) is a much better fit for your use case.

This accessory is not a keyboard folio replacement, it’s a keyboard stand with a different modality for a different use case. There’s no reasonable expectation that it’s an object for all use cases and it’s not just a newer/better replacement for the existing option.

Your criticisms are valid, but Apple isn’t at fault for not delivering what you want, because they have, in the keyboard folio.

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Not wanting to take the bait (well, I am) nor draw the “you’re not pro enough” card (well, I might be) but I’m a pro writer and I type all day long. I am more than ready to splurge that many on a portable workstation I can take anywhere. It’s actually far cheaper than what I have paid for tons of different keyboards over the years as technology was getting better and I got hand problems. My hands make my living and are my main tools. I am willing to pay that much for an excellent tool for mobile work – which I need to do, and which this keyboard is.

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The folio does not have a trackpad, I ordered the Logitech Combo Touch instead of upgrading my iPad. It also has the drawback with the keyboard but it protects my iPad while holding it in one hand, haha.
Will be rocking my 10.5 pro until next year I guess:)

Apple can of course do as they see fit, no grudges here.

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It does make me wonder if a future folio might also have a trackpad. It would seem like an omission if it didn’t. I guess the difficulty would be the space to fit it in given the adjustment grooves push the keys right to the front of the cover.

I have no doubt that people have different needs and preferences and I feel happy for those who find usefulness in the Magic Keyboard. However, I do think Apple has mismanaged people’s expectations in the launch of the product by mingling it with existing keyboard accessories that are of much less weight and much more portability (see, e.g., iPad Keyboards). As a result, many users (including me) assumed that the Magic Keyboard is an upgrade to the Smart Keyboard (in the way what AirPods Pro is to AirPods vanilla) rather than a parallel product with completely different physical attributres and use cases.

@HobbyCollector quoted Gruber’s review. Although the article generally keeps a praising tone, it does mention at the very beginning how Gruber was surprised by the heaviness and stiffness of the keyboard. Such surprise isn’t a good first impresssion and could’ve been avoided by, e.g., giving the actual weight and size of the product in advance rather than letting people to guess.

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One could just as easily suggest that some people are suffering with the third person effect.

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I do agree that the floating aspect and lightness was kind of oversold by Apple and it led to differing expectations.

A bit of research can go a long way to avoiding buyer’s regret – especially before plunking down $hundreds on any keyboard. Was there anything on the Keyboards for iPad page mentioning “lightness” or anything about weight? First thing I checked after looking at what was on offer on the Store, was what Google knew about “iPad keyboard weight” – there are plenty of Ghits on the topic. Did I miss the Apple marketing that implied the Magic Keyboard was “an upgrade to the Smart Keyboard”, as mentioned above?

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Maybe I should have waited for feedbacks from early adopters before surrendering $$, but I did have done my homework. The very first sentence on the Keyboards for iPad page reads:

iPad keyboards provide a great typing experience, and lightweight, durable protection for your iPad.

See also the two press releases from Apple itself:

Apple unveils new iPad Pro with LiDAR Scanner and trackpad support in iPadOS:

Joining the second-generation Apple Pencil and an updated Smart Keyboard Folio is the new Magic Keyboard. […] The portable and protective design of the Magic Keyboard […]

New Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro now available to order, begins arriving next week:

Magic Keyboard brings a whole new level of versatility and capability to iPad Pro, and is the best way to experience the new trackpad support introduced in iPadOS 13.4.

(All emphases mine.)

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Lightweight is a matter of perspective, but you cannot argue over portability or versatility. It is both indeed. It’s also lighter than many laptops from a few years back that we carried around without complaining.

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