Incase Origami Workstation + Apple Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad review

The Incase Origami Workstation bringS your iPad and Apple Bluetooth Keyboard into zen-like harmony

Incase's Origami Workstation presupposes you either already have an Apple Bluetooth Keyboard or like the Apple keyboard so much you want to use it with your iPad, and does its best to meld it together with your iPad.

That's right, it's a Origami Workstation is a bring-your-own-keyboard (BYOK) solution for iPad. And a very good one.

Confession: I don't much enjoy the fussy, clickety-clacky old IBM-style keyboards. Sacrilege, I know. But I far prefer the the current, chicklet, island-style keyboards Apple is using on current MacBook's and on their Apple Bluetooth Keyboard. It's a full size, full-on computer keyboard. And it works well enough with the iPad.

I say "well enough" only because, being a computer keyboard meant for iMac, Mac Mini, and Mac Pro, it doesn't have dedicated, iPad-specific keys the way dedicated, iPad-specific keyboards do. That means no Home key, no keyboard key, etc.

But again, full size. And the tradeoff might be worth it to you if you type first, best on just such a keyboard.

To use it with your iPad, you pair, type in the security pin, hit enter, and get to work. And thats where the Incase Origami Workstation comes in. It doesn't include a keyboard, or anything else.

The Origami Workstation doesn't even cover your iPad when closed. What it does is clip onto the Apple Bluetooth Keyboard, protect it while you travel, and then fold up and prop up your iPad when you're ready to work.

Two velcro straps hold the Incase Origami Workstation closed when it's not in use. Turn the corners in, stick the velcro to each other, and it's now a pyramid-style stand. Just rest your iPad against it.

Which is good and bad. It's clever, but there's no magnet or slot or case or anything at all to hold the iPad in place. If the table gets jostled, bumped, or something else happens, your iPad could be displaced or even fall out. That's another compromise.

The benefit is that the Incase Origami Workstation works with a wide var

The good

  • Brings together iPad and full-sized Apple Bluetooth Keyboard.
  • Folds together into compact, convenient carrying package.

The bad

  • Case doesn't cover iPad

The bottom line

I've been using the Apple Bluetooth Keyboard since it was introduced. It's not quite as good as a MacBook keyboard but it's close. I like it a lot and using it with the iPad is almost seamless.

If you don't want a sleek keyboard over like the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover or a full case solution like the Adonit Writer Plus, and are all in on the full-keyboard solution, the Incase Origami Workstation is a great way to go.

When everything is folded up and put in place, the Incase Origami Workstation and Apple Bluetooth Keyboard are a remarkable combination. If you're used to a full Apple-style keyboard, you'll be as productive with the iPad as you are with a Mac. And that's saying a lot.

$29.95 - Incase Origami Workstation - Buy now{.nofollow}

$69.00 - Apple Bluetooth Keyboard - Buy now (opens in new tab)

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • Rene,
    Nice review. But, the Origami lists for $29.99 and you're folding it the wrong way. You're supposed to fold it back. I only mention this because it's much sturdier that way and it will hold the iPad in portrait orientation, too.
  • I've had one of these for over a year. While I love the idea, the glue on the closure snaps will release rather quickly. Glueing back with Gorilla Glue seems to fix it.
  • Yes, I've read about the Velcro detaching. So far, it hasn't on mine. Fingers crossed.
  • Actually the eject key (or whatever it is up at the top right) will bring up/hide the virtual keyboard.
  • Nice review. But, the Origami lists for $29.99 and you're folding it the wrong way. You're supposed to fold it back. I only mention this because it's much sturdier that way and it will hold the iPad in portrait orientation, too.
  • Yoire folding it backwards! The triangle made by folding the stand should face the iPad and not the table. Then the iPad sits firmly on this flat surface and the tabs that hold the keyboard. This stand is totally worth it, been using it for months.
  • I'm using the Logitech Tablet Keyboard for iPad. It costs less than the Origami and includes a slightly smaller than standard keyboard and a case for the keyboard that doubles as a work stand for the iPad. The keyboard includes iPad specific buttons an Mac keyboard buttons.
    I thought of getting the keyboardcover usit from Logi, but I don't need a full-time keyboard and that one essentially turns it into an iOS netbook.
  • Just a test for another member, please ignore. :)
  • I've been using this for months. It's great to have a full size keyboard. It's perfectly stable in portrait or landscape mode if you fold it right. It's also 29.99 in the Apple Store. Review should be resubmitted.
  • I'm not sure I understand why people claim that tablets are amazingly portable...and then purchase a separate keyboard for it. The argument could be made that you can take away the keyboard and still just use the tablet, but even without the keyboard, it's cheaper to get a laptop that can do 10 times as much work than it is to get the tablet. Also, equally portable.
  • There are major differences, though.
    Tablets tend to have data options (3G/4G), touch screens, smaller profiles, no heat output, longer battery life, gps, accelerometer, and gyroscope chips, faster reboot times, solid state storage, etc. which often aren't in most laptops.
    It can really make a difference in the experience.
  • There are major differences, though.
    Tablets tend to have data options (3G/4G), touch screens, smaller profiles, no heat output, longer battery life, gps, accelerometer, and gyroscope chips, faster reboot times, solid state storage, etc. which often aren't in most laptops.
    It is easy to get a 3G or 4G USB stick; for actual work, the only two features you mentioned that would make an appreciable difference would be the reboot times and the battery life. From a "sleeping" stage, my iPad took just a second to wake up. My laptop takes 5. There's a difference, but 5 seconds is still fast enough. From a completely turned off stage, it's almost even. As for battery life, me laptop lasts 5 hours. For anything I need that will be more than that, I can easily find a plug nearby.
  • It's more than that though. First, 1 vs 5 seconds does make a difference... at least it does for me. When someone suggests a meeting time, or I want to take down a quick note, that can be the difference between remembering it or not or having to ask again or have a clumsy social interaction, etc. Also, don't forget to add the time and awkwardness of getting a laptop out and finding a place to set it vs. just pulling a tablet out and holding it with one hand, while operating it with the other. It's just a VERY different experience with both positives and negatives.
    As for portability, given MacBook Airs, I guess you have a point. Once you add a keyboard and case to the iPad, it does approach the weight and space of a 11" MBA. However, you also likely will add some accessories to the MBA, including the power-pack and cable, which weigh a decent amount and take up awkward space. I've used laptops for years and while one can often finish some kind of task in the 5 hours of battery life, it sure is nice having 10-15 hours and not having to even be concerned about plug-ins, cables, or power-bricks.
    With a tablet, you can easily add the keyboard... but with a laptop, you can't get rid of it. The decision really comes down to what you need to do while mobile. Of course, you'll use a laptop or probably desktop for certain kinds of work when you're at home or the office. One could get by with just an iPad, but most people won't want to. If your mobile activities fit within a certain range, the iPad gives a lot of advantages with minimal disadvantages, especially if you have a keyboard available for heavy typing tasks.
  • If you spend some time and learn how to use it and get proper apps, then you will be able to do almost just as much as a laptop.
  • As a student anyways.
  • But that's the thing: you're spending more money and more time getting not only the tablet itself, but also the necessary apps. Whereas, except for transferring my music and documents from an external hard drive, my laptop was almost completely set up out of the box.
  • But thats true with a laptop also. Out of the box, a laptop isn't really set up to actually do any work besides media playing an basic word processing. You still have to buy extra programs to do any actual work with it.
  • Good effort but ill stick with my transformer prime with 4g tethering. Still prefer my new ipad for using in bed however.
  • I really like the Origami+Apple Bluetooth Keyboard combo. I have been using this for about a year and a half now. As others have pointed out, when folded correctly it is a very stable stand and sits up a bit better. I also often just lay the whole thing flat and put my iPad cover down in work mode to eliminate a physical and psychological barrier between me and whomever I am working/meeting with.
    I can completely understand how someone would see this type of solution and ask, "Why don't you just get a laptop?" To that I just say that you simply can't grasp the versatility until you use it. And perhaps it isn't for everyone. I travel a fair amount and have come to leave my laptop behind favoring this combo. I skip the keyboard altogether for quick email reply, games, videos, web, etc. When I have time to kill at the airport or want to burn through email backlog, I pull out the keyboard and get to work. In fact, many times when I am using the keyboard I find myself picking up the iPad and simply holding it for some tasks (web viewing, reading docs, etc.) and then putting it back down and using the keyboard to compose stuff.
    The combo is a little pricey compared to other solutions, but the Apple keyboard is really the best one of the bunch. Overall, a great enhancement to the iPad, especially for those "on the go".
  • FAIL. I used a Case Logic hard cover for the back on my iPad 2. It fits perfectly and it's barely noticeable. It's also compatible with my SmartCover, which still connects to the iPad magnetically so i can remove it at my leisure. Oh, and my Case Logic case and SmartCover were a combined 10 bucks cheaper than the SmartCase.
    Am I the only one who thinks this product would never gone live during the Steve Jobs era?
  • This is an answer to a question no one asked. Do we really need an over priced case just for the keyboard or a separate case for it. Why don't you review this case it incorporates everything you need a space for the Apple BT keyboard and a nice folio for your iPad.
  • I've been using one of these for just over a year and they're a great case and stand combination. They definitely work better when used upside down with the two flappy bits sitting on the desk. I laughed and went WTF? when I saw the use photo above. Lol