I used to be mistaken about Apple’s new Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro

Angled front profile of Magic Keyboard
Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro (2024)
MSRP $299.00

“Apple’s new Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro is expensive, yes, but it’s also one of the very best iPad accessories you can buy.”

  • Lovely design
  • Fantastic construct high quality
  • Great typing expertise
  • Trackpad stands out
  • Function keys, lastly!
  • It likes to wobble
  • The white mannequin will get soiled simply
  • Whew, it’s costly

For the higher a part of the previous three years, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Apple’s keyboard equipment, particularly the dear ones with the phrase Magic of their identify. They look cool, to at the present time, all due to that magnetically suspended design. But the construct high quality and longevity have been missing.

The story has been fairly messy up to now, primarily as a result of there haven’t been many comparable alternate options. Logitech’s keyboard works advantageous, and it additionally occurs to be cheaper, however on the similar time, it seems identical to one other Microsoft Surface wannabe.

As for different keyboard choices with out a trackpad, properly, they merely don’t lower it for demanding workflows. That left Apple’s Magic Keyboard as the one dependable answer, with all its inherent flaws in tow. Naturally, when Apple revealed the up to date model at its massive iPad occasion earlier this yr, I used to be fairly skeptical. Oh, how I used to be mistaken.

If you’ve been eying it, I pushed it via every kind of eventualities. From furiously typing away a number of thousand phrases to utilizing it for video enhancing, I used the brand new Magic Keyboard via all of the workflows that I may think about. What follows is an account of utilizing the equipment as my day by day driver for a number of weeks.

Apple’s new Magic Keyboard is undeniably trendy

Magic Keyboard and iPad Pro.
Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

There is nothing on the market that comes near the up to date Magic Keyboard. Period. I’m speaking about aesthetics in addition to construct high quality. Apple has retained the cantilever design for magnetically attaching the iPad to it, however this time, the design is nearer to the MacBook.

In truth, it seems and feels higher than my MacBook Air — for 2 causes. The mixture of silver steel in opposition to white keycaps is exclusive throughout the Apple portfolio (save for the iMac). But what the Magic Keyboard presents is all that enjoyable in a slimmer chassis.

A discount in weight can be immediately noticeable, and due to the same remedy given to the iPad Pro, the mix now feels noticeably lighter in comparison with the 12.9-inch iPad Pro and its Magic Keyboard.

Close up view of corner on Magic Keyboard.
It will get soiled. Alright? Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

As far as the fabric goes, it’s nonetheless the identical rubberized materials on either side, however the texture feels drier to the contact. What I’m blissful about is that on the deck portion, there’s one much less avenue for the fabric peeling off the sides, due to the aluminum materials.

For this evaluation, I bought the white Magic Keyboard, however I’d argue that the black one seems slick as properly. What I don’t like is that the white exterior continues to be as welcoming to grime smudges and dirt as its predecessor. It will want frequent cleansing with an alcohol-based cleaner and delicate cloth.

The 2024 Magic Keyboard’s largest upgrades

Rear shell of Magic keyboard
Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

Apple hasn’t made any enhancements to the important thing journey or the underlying swap mechanism inside. But when you’re used to engaged on a MacBook, you’ll really feel proper at residence. In my case, I can hit a better typing velocity on the Magic Keyboard than on Apple’s laptop computer keyboards.

The most notable improve for energy customers is the addition of a full-function key row. A wholesome bunch of third-party keyboards have been providing a devoted row of perform keys for some time now. The most well-known instance is the Logitech Touch combo keyboard for the iPad. This one not solely prices a fraction of what Apple asks you, but additionally presents a pen holder and, in fact, the perform keys. ESR’s Rebound keyboard additionally presents this, nonetheless, I’d have liked a devoted user-programmable key, the type we get on the iPhone 15 Pro.

I can hit a better typing velocity on the Magic Keyboard than on Apple’s laptop computer keyboards.

Or, perhaps, a perform button for Siri, much like what Microsoft companions are doing with a devoted Copilot key on laptops. Given the large AI-charged overhaul that Apple introduced for Siri at WWDC 2024, the digital assistant goes to grow to be a core expertise throughout in-house and third-party apps.

Magic Keyboard front view of deck.
Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

Needless to say, a devoted button will surely have helped, particularly for eventualities the place you’ll be able to’t vocally say the hotword and would relatively want urgent a button to name it up. Since that didn’t occur, customers must long-press on the dictation key to summon the digital assistant.

Another notable change is a much bigger trackpad. In enlarging the dimensions of the trackpad, Apple has additionally paved the best way for a bigger palm relaxation space. While working with the older configuration, both aspect of my palms naturally rested alongside the corners of the keyboard deck, and it was not significantly uncomfortable.

On the up to date model, your palms comfortably relaxation on the metallic palm relaxation, due to the bigger space on both aspect of the trackpad. It’s cozier and feels nearer to what you’d get on the MacBook, with out the added vertical top troubling the underside of your wrists.

Subtle refinements, too

Side view of Magic Keyboard And MacBook Air.
The new Magic Keyboard makes the iPad really feel much more like a laptop computer. Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

While a bigger trackpad is a welcome change, you actually expertise its true advantages when dragging and dropping apps, particularly throughout screens. But the true improve lies underneath the glass sheet. Instead of clicking, customers now simply must press and an engine beneath will present the haptic suggestions.

The trackpad on the older Magic Keyboard wasn’t actually unhealthy. Even although it was fairly slim, the button clicks have been fairly noisy. On the brand new mannequin, it’s nearly silent. The actions are exact and clean, and multi-finger faucet and swipe gestures work flawlessly. I truly want the iPad Pro’s Magic Keyboard over my MacBook Air.

You would possibly run right into a little bit of a distinct hands-on expertise when you decide the 11-inch model of the brand new keyboard. On this model, the Return, Tab, Caps Lock, and the suitable Option keys are smaller in comparison with what you get on the 13-inch model.

Buttons on Magic Keyboard
Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

It’s not a deal breaker, as a result of I’ve labored on the 11-inch model for 2 years with none points. However, the 13-inch fashions presents a extra MacBook-like expertise, which is less complicated to get used to.

A bigger trackpad is a welcome change.

Apple has made some refined modifications, too, apart from the plain materials overhaul. For instance, there’s a skinny rubber gasket operating across the keyboard deck that’s ever so barely raised and retains the display screen from coming in touch with the keycaps.

I’ve confronted this subject on my Microsoft Surface Go, which attracted nasty keycap imprints on the display screen which might be arduous to eliminate. This was additionally the case with my 12-inch Apple MacBook earlier than that.

Still a piece in progress

Thickness comparison of Magic Keyboard and MacBook Air
A Magic Keyboard atop the deck of a M3 MacBook Air. Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

Unfortunately, not all of the modifications yield a constructive end result. Apple has redesigned the central ridge on the again, which is now uncovered and flattened in comparison with the cylindrical unit we bought on the previous-generation Magic Keyboard.

The uncovered ridge on the 2024 iteration is topped off with a chrome end, leaving it susceptible to scratches and scuffs. So far, mine has remained in a comparatively pristine state, however I’d strongly advise in opposition to going commando and I’d all the time preserve the iPad Pro-Magic Keyboard meeting in a sleeve.

Another disadvantage is that the secondary USB-C port on the ridge is, as soon as once more, completely for charging. It gained’t permit information switch. Thankfully, it gained’t decelerate the charging tempo. Using a USB-C cable with a show unit, I measured 30-watt  charging output by way of this accent port, which is barely slower than the height worth of what the iPad Pro’s USB-C port permits.

On the subject of drawbacks, right here’s an infuriating one. The keyboard backlight activates and off mechanically primarily based on the environment. You can regulate its brightness, however you’ll be able to’t toggle it on or off. It’s an ungainly design alternative, nevertheless it seemingly has to do with lowering the ability draw.

Let’s flip over to the again, and particularly, the metallic ridge holding the 2 halves collectively. The secondary USB-C port, which is now positioned vertically (alongside the X-axis) makes it a tad harder to plug in a cable in comparison with the vertical inlet on the older model.

One massive, evident subject

The largest flaw is related to resting state ergonomics. If you’re tapping on the display screen or drawing on it with the Apple Pencil, particularly within the higher half, the entire meeting rocks and desires to topple over. I’d strongly recommend that before you purchase one that you just get your palms on it at a close-by retail retailer and verify in case your display screen interactions would result in a frequent rocking movement.

For duties like coping with sliders utilizing the Apple Pencil, it would be best to take the pill off and into your palms, or put it on a desk. It’s that annoying. Of course, the top-heavy nature of the entire setup is accountable right here, however that’s not the only real cause.

You see, the flattened ridge doesn’t sit utterly flush when in touch with the flat floor on which the Magic Keyboard is resting, leaving a really small vertical hole that enables it to rock backwards and forwards. On the previous-generation Magic Keyboard, the cylindrical hinge was in touch with the floor, although the contact space was smaller, which led to a considerably smaller diploma of rocking motion.

The subject is especially noticeable whenever you attempt to work with the Magic Keyboard in your lap — , like a laptop computer. To preserve the entire equipment regular, you will want to coach a vigilant eye on both aspect of the trackpad and be sure to apply even strain to not simply preserve it balanced, however to additionally forestall it from toppling over.

Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil P
Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

For somebody like me — whose job entails typing articles and enhancing media with the Apple Pencil all day lengthy, basically treating the setup like a laptop computer — this can be a design flaw that I can’t fairly get previous with ease. But there’s additionally an engineering caveat right here that solutions the dearth of backward compatibility.

Given the fragile weight steadiness of this machine, permitting the heavier older-generation iPad Pro to hold atop the magnetic cantilever board will surely worsen the rocking drawback. That appears to be the explanation why the up to date keyboard is unique to the newer — and lighter — fashions.

Apple Magic Keyboard 2024 value and availability

M4 iPad Pro and the Magic Keyboard.
Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

The 2024 Magic Keyboard is offered now just for the 2024 iPad Pro. The 11-inch model prices $299 whereas the 13-inch dimension goes as much as $349. It’s obtainable in black and white colours.

You should buy the brand new Magic Keyboard from the entire ordinary locations you may get Apple merchandise — together with Apple’s web site, Amazon, Best Buy, and so forth.

Should you purchase the 2024 Magic Keyboard?

top view of deck on Magic keyboard
Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

The new Magic Keyboard is a really curious gadget. At finest, I can name it an indulgence. It’s not like the rest on the market, and that, in itself, makes for a compelling proposition. But is that compelling sufficient to spend $349 on it? If it’s actually caught your fancy, and also you gained’t really feel the monetary pinch, you gained’t remorse the splurge.

Everything is unbelievable right here. Well, nearly. It’s a bit topple-loving, nonetheless will get soiled, and that secondary USB port is simply adequate for charging. On the constructive aspect, the construct high quality is terrific and it seems higher than any product in Apple’s lineup.

Everything is unbelievable right here.

As a keyboard, your fingers will find it irresistible, except your digits have grown to like low-profile mechanical switches. I gained’t advocate the Magic Keyboard to people looking for a keyboard case for his or her iPads, primarily as a result of it’s one heck of an costly possibility.

But when you plan to push it as a workhorse for at the least a number of years — like I intend to do — go forward and get one. Just don’t overlook to place a pores and skin on it.Dbrand’s hydro-drip skins look terrific, and so does its black metal texture possibility, so that you would possibly need to begin there.

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