Edging your iPad towards true MacBook replacement territory
Apple hasn’t made an official keyboard since the first iPad, leaving it to third-parties to do so for its smaller tablets, and there are many good buys. The iPad Pro, by Apple’s own admission, sets out a clear vision for how the company sees the future of computing, and as a tablet/laptop hybrid the need for a physical keyboard has never been more pressing. When you see the iPad Pro docked in the Smart Keyboard you begin to understand that this is an iPad with serious computing potential, and we doubt any other manufacturer could make a keyboard case that’s so in keeping with the style of the iPad Pro. It fits perfectly with Apple’s Silicone Case, which protects the back of the iPad, but there’s an odd gully on the front when the Smart Keyboard is closed as a screen cover, which is rather ungainly and smacks of compromise.
However, you wouldn’t buy this to keep it closed; it’s supposed to spend most of its active life in the typing or ‘media’ positions, and we’re pleased to say it snaps into place easily and feels very sturdy in either configuration. Yet it’s not for laps in typing mode as you’ll find it tends to bend in towards the fold at the back of the keyboard. The feel of the keys take a little getting used to, but is comfortable for longer periods, and their short travel is similar to the MacBook. The omission of a top row of media keys, offering system-wide shortcuts for volume and brightness controls, as well as play/pause and a Home button, may grate, since you’ll have to reach up to the iPad’s screen to make those tweaks. Christian Hall
The iPad just got its biggest ever on-screen keyboard, so why buy a physical one as well?