Apple introduced new accessories to accompany the latest version of the iPad Pro. And among all these accessories, there is of course one that stood out from the crowd: the Magic Keyboard .
Very intrigued by the firm's proposal, I could not resist his call. And after a few hours spent in his company, the time has come to give you my first impressions of him.
But before talking about Magic Keyboard, it is probably better to clarify the context a little. The iPad Pro is a working tool for me and while it hasn't replaced my MacBook Pro, it complements it quite well. It has happened to me several times to take it with me on a trip, whether to take notes during a conference or to prepare / correct articles between two shows.
I therefore have to do a lot of typing with it and this is precisely what made me turn to the Magic Keyboard, the Smart Keyboard Folio not completely fulfilling my criteria.
Packaging and Accessories
The Magic Keyboard is delivered in a box with a very design look.
Apple has opted once again for a very refined packaging and there is just a visual of the product on the front. No technical info, the brand preferred as usual to focus on use.
After removing the plastic film protecting the cardboard – no need for a cutter or knife, it's always nice – just remove the top cover of the box to fall on the Magic Keyboard, wrapped in its own protective film.
Another box has been placed between the two parts of the cover. It contains the usual documentation and the quick start guide. And there, of course, you don't have to be a genius to get by. As with its other covers, Apple has in fact opted for a magnetic fixing system and it will suffice to bring the tablet near the upper part of the cover to hang it.
Design & Ergonomics
The Magic Keyboard surprises first of all by its weight. The accessory is indeed heavier than the other covers marketed by Apple and it weighs just under 500 grams.
Once the iPad Pro is in place, we therefore reach the kilo. This has earned a fair amount of criticism for the accessory.
Critics not necessarily founded. The Magic Keyboard has a somewhat peculiar form factor. Unlike a conventional cover, it will indeed suspend the iPad Pro in the air.
Better still, thanks to its hinge, it will be possible to quickly change the tilt of the screen.
And there obviously, it is physics. A cover that was too light would not have provided enough seating to hold the tablet securely in the air.
The accessory is in any case well made and inspires confidence. Apple has done a good job and the finishes are simply flawless.
This applies of course to the keyboard, with one notable difference here. Unlike the Smart Keyboard Folio, the keys are not placed under the plastic coating. In reality, the configuration is identical to that of a laptop. Typing is also quite similar to scissor keyboards, with a fast and shallow stroke.
The touchpad isn't very big, at least not as big as that of a MacBook. Another downside is that it does not have haptic feedback and therefore relies on a clickable mechanism.
Still, it seems rather comfortable and it has the merit of supporting the gestures. Navigation within iPadOS will therefore be more fluid.
The hinge is undeniably an asset. Finally, rather the hinges since the accessory incorporates two: the first at the junction of the two parts of the cover, and the other in the first part of the upper cover.
The Magic Keyboard doesn't just keep the iPad Pro suspended. The accessory will also allow us to modify the inclination of the tablet according to our size and our position.
To my knowledge, the Magic Keyboard is the only tablet keyboard to offer a double hinge of this type, and this is not trivial.
This is not trivial, because thanks to this system, it is the iPad Pro that will adapt to your posture, and not the opposite. This is obviously a good thing for our cervicals.
There is another interesting detail. The first hinge has a connector on the left side, in Lightning format.
This connector will be used mainly to recharge the iPad Pro… which also means that the connector of the tablet will remain free. And you can therefore connect a peripheral to it … such as an external hard drive for example.
On the use side, we must admit that this first contact is positive. The keyboard offers comfortable typing. Much more than the old Apple Folio. There, we are very close to the comfort provided by a traditional laptop and no doubt that people doing a lot of typing with their tablet will be sensitive to this argument.
The paving stone brings a real plus in terms of productivity. It eliminates the need to tap the screen to access options while typing. We keep our hands on the keyboard.
As for the double hinge system, it totally won me over. I have less the feeling of being hunched over on my tablet with the Magic Keyboard and it pulls a lot less on the cervical side.
In fact, the only notable problem relates to the form factor of the keyboard. The Magic Keyboard only opens in one direction. It will therefore not be possible to fold it behind the iPad Pro.
By side effect, if you want to switch from typing to taking handwritten notes, you will have to remove the tablet from the keyboard. Which can be quite restrictive by force.
Now it's also a different way of approaching things.
For me, the iPad Pro has always been a modular device and that's what prompted me to acquire two different covers to go with it. A Smart Folio for everyday life, when I use the tablet as a notebook or as a second screen for my MacBook Pro. And a Smart Keyboard Folio for typing.
Now, I can't finish this grip without talking about the price. Apple had a pretty heavy hand and the Magic Keyboard, in 11-inch version, is offered at 339 € .
And we're not going to lie to each other, it's expensive. It is even very expensive. Now this cover goes a little further than what accessories of this type offer. We have a real keyboard, with real keys and a real touchpad. All with a double hinge system that allows you to lift the tablet and change its inclination. Without counting of course the R&D behind.
The pill might have been easier to swallow if the Magic Keyboard had been offered below the € 250 mark, but one thing is certain anyway: if you have an iPad Pro and if you do a lot of typing with it, the investment may be worth it.