Magic Keyboard

Two Months with the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro

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Magic Keyboard

I first wrote about Apple’s Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro a little over two months ago, right after it was released. I’ve logged many hours with this versatile accessory since then and I have to say that it’s been an interesting experience. My overall opinion of it has changed over this time, mostly for the better.

My first impressions of the Magic Keyboard were a bit mixed, to be honest. However, there was still plenty of good to get excited about. I loved the new and improved keyboard and the added backlight. The trackpad is small, but works surprisingly well. I never found the weight to be an issue. The functionality makes the weight worth it, in my opinion. The thin form factor when folded also makes the Magic Keyboard unlike most other iPad keyboard cases, which are often far thicker and bulkier. All in all, the positives have always outweighed the negatives for me.

However, despite all of the good, I still had reservations about some things. The lack of adjustment range in the rear hinge made some of my tasks at work more difficult. The inability to effectively use the iPad as a tablet with the Magic Keyboard attached was a bigger issue. Carrying the somewhat fragile iPad Pro around without a case at work just isn’t a good idea for me. I ended up carrying another case with me to work for a while to compensate for this, which is less than ideal. These two shortcomings combined with the Magic Keyboard’s high price tag were enough give me some hesitation in recommending it at first. I wasn’t sure if it was a good value for the $349 asking price for a 12.9″ model.

The biggest issue that I encountered early on was the Magic Keyboard’s negative impact on battery life. You can read about this little journey of discovery here, here and here. The short version is that, after some extensive testing, I ended up returning my first Magic Keyboard because I suspected that the hardware might be responsible for the issues I was experiencing. My second keyboard has worked far better in this regard, leading me to believe that there were a few defective units in circulation early on. However, it should be noted that there are others who have also had issues with some software glitches causing poor battery life, including the keyboard’s backlight staying on when it shouldn’t. That one never affected me, but it’s been widely reported. I’m sure it will be completely squashed eventually.

With the Magic Keyboard’s battery issues behind me, I’ve been using it a lot more over the last month or so. This extended use was also brought on by a shift in how I have been using my iPad Pro at work. My tasks have changed as my current project has progressed, so I am no longer using my Pro as much away from my desk. That means the lack of adjustment range and lack of protection when using the iPad Pro as a tablet aren’t a problem now like they were before. It also means I can now use the Magic Keyboard pretty much all the time without issues.

While I still prefer the feel of the keyboard and the adjustment flexibility of the Brydge Pro+, Brydge still hasn’t managed to iron out all of the inconsistencies with their trackpads. That’s unfortunate, because it’s a good piece of hardware otherwise and has a lot of potential. It also leaves Apple’s Magic Keyboard as the only game in town for those serious about pairing the iPad Pro with a serious keyboard and trackpad.

So that’s where I stand with the Magic Keyboard after a couple of months kicking the tires. While the price is quite high, I do think it’s worth it if you need the best combo of keyboard, trackpad and case available for the iPad Pro today. I don’t think I would have said that confidently two months ago, but I can today.

More use and time changed my opinion on the Magic Keyboard’s value. The issues I had with it early on didn’t affect me as much as I expected, so I am getting more out of it than I thought I would at first. Anyone who has done their research on the Magic Keyboard already knows how well it works and how good the design is, overall. The hurdle for most buyers is going to be value- how much will they get for their $299 and $349? After two months, I think people like me who want the best keyboard experience available for their iPad Pro will. Maybe something better will come along in the future, but for today, the Magic Keyboard is definitely best in class in both performance and value.

James Rogers

I am a Christian husband and father of 3 living in the Southeastern US. I have worked as a programmer and project manager in the Commercial and Industrial Automation industry for over 19 years, so I am hands on with technology almost every day. However, my passion in technology is for mobile devices, specifically Apple's iOS and iPadOS hardware and software. My favorite is still the iPad.

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5 thoughts on “Two Months with the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro”

  1. Initially I purchased the folio for the new iPad. It works well, especially if you draw a lot and don’t want to fuss with removing the keyboard. However, when writing, I often ran into precision issues when selecting or highlighting certain items. Every time I end up fussing with the curser, that’s a bit of my time wasted and it adds up. Not to mention that it does nothing positive for my temperament.
    I ended up getting the Magic Keyboard and absolutely love it! When typing in dim lights, I no longer have to feel around for the notches on F and J, lol, because the keys are backlit. Even at a very dim setting, they are plenty bright enough for me to see the letters. The trackpad is amazing and incredibly responsive. It helps because reaching over that extra bit really does have an impact on a person’s back (if you’re my age).
    As for the lack of angle and tilt, I agree, I wish there was more there. Perhaps there’s an engineering issue that we’re not aware of. Don’t know, but I hope the next iteration figures it out. In the end, though, the good greatly outweighs the bad.
    The way I look at it, Apple split a laptop in two. Some will be more than satisfied with just the tablet, others will need more. As an artist, this is an incredible deal, because if I purchased a laptop, I would also have to purchase a Wacom Cintiq, or it’s equivalent, to create digitally. Those things are super expensive and keep you strapped to a desk.
    To me, the iPad is to the modern digital artist, what tubed paints were to the Impressionists. I can finally leave my desk and create anywhere.
    Back to the Magic Keyboard.
    I do not miss that $350 one bit and I am so glad I bought it.
    Your articles are a lot of fun by the way. Always look forward to them in my inbox!

    1. I’m glad you are also enjoying your Magic Keyboard. I’m also very happy that you enjoy the site. I hope to keep you coming back for years to come. Feel free to let me know if you have suggestions or want to see anything specific covered.

  2. I have no issues with MKB physical make up. While using it I did find a software problem with it and Pages. When you press the Space Bar the document would Save rather then allow to type another word. Apple support could not help and offered to exchange the KB. After searching Apple Forum I found a similar issue with a user using MKB with Numbers. The solution was in Settings/Accessibility/Keyboard/Basic – disable Space Bar

  3. I am waiting for next batch of iPad pro and magic keyboard, exiting to get hand on it. Very insightful while my waiting getting longer. Noticed you also have used brand Brydge. They make very nice hardware, but based on my past experience with the brand, had bad experience entirely from product to customer service and on top of that they sort of trash out the customer while spending quite expensive accessories.
    Anyway good detail of review and Thanks for sharing.

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