Apple debuted the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro back in April, with many people getting them earlier than the expected release in May. This $300 keyboard case accessory is only available for the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models from 2018 and 2020, but what if Apple made them for non-Pro iPads? That's what a recent rumor is suggesting, according to an anonymous Twitter account called 'L0vetodream.'
Magic Keyboards for everyone would boost productivity
The Magic Keyboard for my 11-inch iPad Pro (2020) is one of my favorite accessories lately. While the keyboard case concept is not new, it's the addition of the trackpad that really boosts my productivity levels while I'm using my iPad. And yes, while other accessory makers can make their own versions of keyboards with trackpads, they don't always perform as well as Apple's.
Honestly, I have the Brydge Pro keyboard for the iPad Pro, which also has a trackpad, as well as the Magic Keyboard, and I much prefer the Magic Keyboard. The scrolling is a lot smoother and feels more natural compared to the Brydge, which was a bit janky last time I used it. Having the trackpad on the Magic Keyboard made navigating my iPad Pro so much better, and multitasking is more manageable, as it feels more like an actual laptop. I can't imagine going back to using the iPad Pro without the Magic Keyboard and lack of trackpad, because having to lift my hands up to navigate with touch is less than ideal for my workflow.
Now, I think it would be amazing if the iPad and iPad Air could get a version of the Magic Keyboard too, if this rumor turns out to be true. The Magic Keyboard is a great accessory that protects the tablet while also providing a complete keyboard and trackpad (though it's not perfect), making your tablet feel more like a laptop and boosting overall user productivity. While the iPad Pro is the tablet that's most suited for productivity, not everyone can afford it (the cheapest one starts at $799), and the other iPads are just as good for getting work done when need be — so why not have Magic Keyboards available for the other iPads as well?
Of course, there would be some technical details involved for making Magic Keyboards for all iPad versions and sizes, since it attaches via magnets and uses the Smart Connector. But Apple makes the tablets and the accessories, so they can definitely put something together if it really wanted to.
But then the iPad Pro loses a selling point
If I'm going to be honest, I am skeptical of the Magic Keyboard coming for the regular iPad and iPad Air models. Apple's selling point for the iPad Pro is to make it the most suitable replacement for a laptop, and the Magic Keyboard is an accessory that pushes it even further in that direction. If Apple made the Magic Keyboard for the iPad and iPad Air, the iPad Pro would lose one of its key accessories — why would anyone need to buy an iPad Pro at $800 when they can get an iPad Air for almost half that?
So while it would be nice to see the Magic Keyboard available for all iPad models, to me, it just seems unlikely, but hey, I could be entirely wrong. WWDC is a little over a week away, so anything could happen at this point.
Magic Keyboards for all?
It would benefit all iPad users, but then there would be one less reason to get an iPad Pro. Do you think Apple will make Magic Keyboards for all iPads instead of just the iPad Pro? Let us know what you think in the comments.
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Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.
When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.
"why would anyone need to buy an iPad Pro at $800 when they can get an iPad Air for almost half that?" Why would anyone pay $350 for a keyboard?
I could see this “Magic Keyboard for iPad Air” as being more of an upgraded Smart Keyboard similar to the Smart Keyboard Folio.
At this point, it’s a lost cause. They worked with Logitech to develop the Combo Touch at half the price. If you want a keyboard for other iPads, buy that. I can’t see doubling the price of the iPad by simply adding a keyboard. The math doesn’t work below the pro level.
The unique selling point for tablets is the combination of two features: ease of changing orientation (portrait, landscape) and the presence of the applicable input device (typewriter keyboard, piano keyboard, pinball flippers, etc.) only when needed. Pairing it with a hardware keyboard (my original rant concerns clamshell keyboard covers, which the Magic Keyboard is not) annihilates those two features. Then buy a notebook instead. You may recognize me by the length of my comments, but I enter them using the virtual keyboard of a tablet (default device at all: currently a large iPad Pro) in portrait orientation. Despite having hardware keyboards within arms' length. Even with trackpad! Yes, I would probably grab a keyboard cover when taking a tablet with me, but I'd prefer a "normal" keyboard at work (and a tablet stand that allows this easy change of orientation).
I think it would be a hard sell to sell a $300+ attachment on an iPad that costs $300-$330. Not saying they shouldn't have the option, but most who are buying the cheaper iPads aren't looking to spend what they could on a pretty decently spec'd laptop on a tablet.
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