Do you have a use for both? To be honest, I forgot that I had a Smart Keyboard Folio kicking around from before the Magic Keyboard existed. I completely forgot about it once that came out.
I was just checking prices on the latest iPad Pros and was honestly surprised to see that they were still selling the Smart Keyboard Folio, and that it was so expensive!
For those that have both, or have used both – do you still find a use for the Smart Keyboard Folio in the presence of the Magic Keyboard? Or do you find the Magic Keyboard to be better in every situation?
I prefer the Magic Keyboard over the Smart Keyboard because the the iPad location. Seems that with the iPad being slightly elevated, it makes all the difference to me.
With my first iPad Pro (original 12.9") I decided on the Logitech Create keyboard because it had backlit keys. Hopefully Apple will build a Magic keyboard with this feature in the future. Either with a light sensing keyboard or a key to adjust the brightness.
I have the Folio and used it until the Magic Keyboard came out. After I got the MK, I never looked back. I don’t mind the extra weight or thickness (when closed) and absolutely everything else is so much better: real keys, adjustable viewing angles, and of course the trackpad.
Also, the MK has never developed the wrinkles that both of my Folios have.
I recently compared them again. The only thing the smart folio could ostensibly do better for me is fold all the way back for pencil use, but the magic keyboard works just as well if I close it all the way and lay the iPad on it. The rubber is grippy enough.
I had a 12.9” iPad but struggled to use it one-handed, which is how I use the iPad much of the time. Too heavy. So I exchanged it last year for a 10-ish inch iPad Air.
I liked the Magic Keyboard with the iPad Pro, and ordered one for the Air. However, either due to my error or Apple’s, I got the white keyboard with the space gray iPad.
“Who cares what color it is?” I said to myself. But then I said, “I’m going to use this iPad every day for years, and the non-matching colors will drive me crazy every day if I do not exchange it now.”
So I exchanged it. And I decided to save $100 and buy the still-ridiculously-expensive smart folio keyboard.
And I am glad I did, although the keyboard took some getting used to. I don’t miss the trackpad. I find it easier to get the iPad attached and detached from the folio than I did with the Magic Keyboard. It’s altogether a lighter, and more portable and easy to use option for me than the Magic Keyboard was.
On the other hand, I did find the keys stiff for a while after I bought it. Either my fingers are used to it or the keys loosened up.
I suspect my preference for the folio has a lot to do with the device size. If I was still using the 12.9” iPad, I might prefer the Magic keyboard.
And now having written this, I will pop the iPad off the keyboard folio and hold it in my hands while I give this post a quick read-over before sending.
I had the SKF with my 12.9” since 2018 and upgraded to the MK the day it was released. Since 2018 my 12.9” iPad Pro has been my main mobile computer, and I’m a humanities postdoc, which is to say, I type a lot (or at least I’m supposed to!).
The MK was a revelation when it came out, and I was happy to overlook the added weight given the extreme convenience of having a single cellular enabled device that could be a laptop one moment and a wonderful pdf annotation pad the next.
That said, I find the magic keyboard so frustrating. The plastic it’s lined with is crap, and mine had peeled and broken and got stained with oils from normal use to the point that it was shameful. I got the apple store to replace it under apple care+ and now I have a new one. But still. For a supposedly premium product, it’s a terrible choice of materials. Underneath the crappy rubber it has a metal core, it would have been a million times better if they had just exposed that. Also after getting used to the glass haptic trackpads the bouncy plastic seems really cheap. But I appreciate that with such a thin device you’ll never be able to squeeze a haptic vibration motor in there.
I typed most of my dissertation on the SKF. I loved the feel of those keys and I loved the convenience of knowing it was fully spill proof. The one thing that did frustrate me and would frustrate me now if I was to go back to it was the choice of only two angles. Other than that, it was arguably a more coherent accessory than the MK.
My hope for the next gen iPP+MK is that they’ll make it with an actually nice material, like aluminum. And perhaps instead of making it only drain battery from the iPad they could offset that by placing a small battery in the barrel. This may seem excessive, but hey, they put a SoC with 64GB of storage inside a display, so why not put a battery in a keyboard?
My 11”, I have the magic keyboard set up at my WFH desk, but when I take the iPad away from there, I take it in the keyboard folio.
The 12.9, it was probably a mistake to buy the magic keyboard. I really only did because I found a discounted open box return at Best Buy. I might end up using it at some point, but the 12.9 is usually my ‘bedPad’… I use it on my chest.
The smart keyboard is too far behind the magic keyboard. Without a touchpad you’d have to constantly reach over to the screen, which gets tiresome and annoying very quick. The viewing height and angle are also vastly better with the magic keyboard.
That said, I don’t use the magic keyboard at all. I had both smart and magic but sold them off. I think the appeal of the iPad is that I can get whatever accessories I like to let it convert between touch and keyboard inputs. I hate the ergonomics of laptops due to the viewing height and angle. So I always use a separate stand when I want to use a keyboard with my iPad. I can also use the magic trackpad and some mechanical keyboard of my choice. It’s not as convenient or portable as a laptop. But I would have taken a MacBook if I wanted a laptop.
What I like about the Smart Keyboard Folio is the fact that you can fold it all the way to the back of the iPad when it is not needed. It is ok for typing. But the typing experience is not nice as far as I am concerned.
The Magic Keyboard is a completely different ball game. Typing is just great. I think that this keyboard is one of the best Apple has made. The trackpad changes how I interact with the iPad when attached to the Magic Keyboard. The iPad becomes a different device with the Magic Keyboard: it is like a laptop - with iPadOS. The iPad has become my go-to device for Windows Server updates and for other maintenance stuff on Macs and PCs when attached to the Magic Keyboard in combination with Jump Desktop. The only negative point I have is its very, very expensive price. Is it worth it? It is very, very expensive… But I bought it and I never had second thoughts about my buying decision.
I feel a bit ashamed after reading @cornchip’s advice. Why did I never think about that before on my own?
If I was to buy a new keyboard for my iPad today it would either be the Magic Keyboard or a third party one.
The irony of an M1 iPad Pro (especially the big one) in combination with a Magic Keyboard is that they technically HAVE created a Touchscreen Mac. If it was running MacOS instead of iPadOS it would be nothing else: a Touchscreen Mac. I do not want to derail this topic, but - man - those iPads have so much unused potential…
Every time when I connect to a Mac with Jump Desktop via my iPad with the Magic Keyboard, I catch myself again and again, how nice this actually is… Do I think that Apple eventually will pull the touchscreen Mac trigger? Not necessarily. But still…
There is no question that a touchscreen laptop is an ergonomic nightmare. An iPad, whether with SKF or MK, is meant to be liberated from the keyboard quickly and used as an iPad when necessary. This is why some of those third party keyboard cases that trap your iPad in and make it hard to pull it out are an aberration.
The iPad is an iPad even in the SKF / MK.
I wrote 100000+ words of dissertation from a Smart Keyboard Folio: I can tell you that, while having a trackpad is undoubtedly nice for editing, the concept behind the SKF was that you can get lost in text, and just type (in my case, for hours on end). It was never intended to be permanently attached while you’re, for example, browsing social media. In those cases, just hold the iPad like an iPad.
The MK has blurred that line. But I feel sad for people who never experience the joy of peeling off the iPad and using it as the slim sleek slab of aluminum that it’s supposed to be. If you exclusively use the MK to interact with the iPad, then I concur that a laptop would be best. But if you type for 3 hours and then annotate a PDF for another 3 hours, perhaps from a coffee shop without WiFi and you use cellular, I challenge anyone to come up with a more weight-efficient solution than an iPad with MK!
And yes, it’s nice to know that you can always light up Screens and control the iMac at home, whether for those pesky tasks that cannot be done on iPadOS or simply to spook the cat/wife/home intruders by turning PhotoBooth on or suddenly blasting Mozart’s Requiem!