I’ve been thinking about the new iPad Magic Keyboard (iPad MK) and have a couple of thoughts I’d like to share. I get it, I really do. I’m someone who instinctively wants the newest and best, as ADD tends to do. But this time, I just can’t quite see the use for me based on the setup I’m currently using. Oh, of course, I can clearly see why others would want it and find it the dog bollocks to use—more power to you.
There seems to be a couple of required compromises to get the best out of it. Compromises I don’t need to make with my favoured solution; a Magic Keyboard (MKB) and Canopy from Studio Neat. On the face of it, it does all the things that the iPad MK can, minus the different viewing angles. But I feel it goes much further, let me explain.
I can use the iPad in or out of a case, detach it easily. It features a full-sized keyboard, with Function keys, Multimedia keys and a real Esc key. It folds away neatly and is lighter than the iPad MK with the KB in it. If the KB dies, buy a new one and plop it in, 100$ tops.
As I said, it lacks different viewing angles, but it also requires what might be the real issue for some, the trackpad—solved by having a Magic Trackpad along for the ride for an, admittedly, extra 130$. That’s a total of 270$ (the Canopy is 40$), with each part easily replaceable, without throwing out the baby with the bathwater. If you’re a mouse user, like me, it’s even cheaper than that. Oh, BTW, it’s lighter too, at only 393g as opposed to around 1/2 a kilo for the 11” version, if I’ve understood John Gruber’s article. What is also of note, is that transitioning from iPad to iMac requires zero readjustment. It’s the same KB, size of keys, feel, angle, etc.
One thing that is less than optimal is that it requires sliding three items in a bag instead of one, I guess increasing the risk of loss. But the MKB in the Canopy is so slim, just like the Mouse/Trackpad, that I don’t notice it. Often, I’m in a meeting and only need to take handwritten notes with the pencil, so the KB and Mouse stay in the bag until I need them. Getting them out when needed is little bother.
One last point that, for me, is important. And it is perhaps, the elephant in the room for the iPad MK. It doesn’t allow use in portrait mode. With the Canopy there’s no such restriction, even putting the iPad in “upside-down-portrait” to gain access to the USB-C connector.
Lastly, and not unimportantly for some, if you want to move to or from a different sized iPad, no problem with the Canopy + MKB. It still works.
And that’s the point. We all have differing needs and wants. The iPad is there for them all.
I do hope you don’t see this as crapping on the new kid on the block, as I think it is just about perfect for most people. To be fair, I probably wrote this to stop me from buying one 😜.