Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro 11”

This site uses income-earning affiliate links. When you click a link to a product on this website and make a purchase, I may receive a commission.

Yeah, I know I’m like a year late to the party, the Magic Keyboard came out nearly a year ago. I’ve wanted one since approximately launch day, but I could never justify the price. Especially since I already had a Smart Keyboard Folio.

Well I recently noticed that Amazon has the Magic Keyboard for the 11” IPad Pro for $100 off, making it a merely ridiculous $199 as opposed to the absolutely bananas normal price of $299. Let me note that this does NOT include an iPad with it, just the keyboard. An iPad accessory that costs the same amount of money as the base model iPad. Yeah.

Eye-watering price aside, this is a really amazing keyboard for the iPad. If you have ever wanted your iPad to be a lot more like a laptop, this is everything you’ve ever wanted in an iPad Keyboard/case.

Notice I took a close up of the apple logo? It’s finally in landscape orientation, which has been a constant little pet peeve of mine. Why is the logo in portrait on the keyboard that will NEVER be used in portrait? Thankfully, they’ve fixed this egregious error.

First off, it’s very heavy. That could definitely be seen as a downside, but at the same time, it’s also the reason it feels so stable and solid. My 2018 iPad Pro weighs in at 472g. The Magic keyboard for the 11” iPad weighs in at 603g. So it’s going to more than double the weight of your iPad. The total package comes in at 1074g, or 2lb 6oz.

In contrast, the “old” keyboard for the iPad Pro, the Smart Keyboard Folio, comes out at 767g, or 1lb 11oz total weight including the iPad. So we’re talking 300g lighter if you use the old keyboard.

Of course, the old keyboard doesn’t have a trackpad, so you might be closer than you think once you add the weight of a travel mouse and a little case for it. Either way, I think the convenience of having an all-in-one package outweighs (pun totally intended) the extra weight.

As I mentioned above, the extra weight isn’t just there for fun, it actually makes this an insanely stable keyboard. It feels like one solid piece, where the Smart Keyboard folio kinda feels like you have an ipad perched atop a lightweight little cover. Probably because that’s exactly what it is.

You also get the aforementioned trackpad. It looks small in photos, but in practice it never seems too small to me. Perhaps because the 11” screen isn’t all that large, so you never feel like you’re swiping over and over to get across the screen. You can also adjust tracking speed in the option screen, and while you’re in there, turn off the horrible “Natural” scroll direction, unless of course you’re the kind of monster that likes it.

You also get a lot more adjustment in terms of screen angle as compared to the Smart Keyboard folio. It’s not a HUGE range of adjustment, but it is infinitely adjustable within that range. In other words, there are no stops or set positions, you can put it anywhere between as far down as it will go and as far back as it will go. Here are a couple of pictures with it all the way down and another with it all the way back.

So far, I’ve been able to find a comfortable angle at a bar, on the couch with the iPad on the coffee table, and sitting at a regular desk in a desk chair. I certainly wouldn’t be upset if it had more range of motion, but I feel like the current range of motion works fine in almost every normal scenario.

I feel the same way about the lack of function keys. Yes, I would like them, but no it’s not a deal breaker for me. There’s already a volume button on the iPad itself, so whatever. I use CMD + Space for spotlight seach and that muscle memory is so ingrained that it would be slower to learn to look for a search key. Auto brightness works pretty much all the time for me, and the Magic Keyboard uses the iPad’s brightness sensors to automatically do keyboard brightness. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, Apple FINALLY made a backlit keyboard for the iPad.

Another really cool thing about the Magic Keyboard is just how little it asks of you. It’s powered via the smart connector on the back of the iPad, so you never have to charge it. It also sends data via the smart connector, so you never have to pair it or turn it on or off. If you iPad is in the keyboard, it’s on and connected. There’s something to be said for that level of simplicity.

Speaking of the smart connector, the magic keyboard also passes power over it. It can’t pass data over it, but in effect it means you get an extra data port, as now you can use the Type C port on the keyboard to power your iPad, and the Type C port on the iPad itself to connect peripherals like external drives.

I am definitely one of those people that wants my iPad Pro to be more like a laptop, at least sometimes, and this keyboard really does that job better than anything else I’ve used. As is now kinda a cliche, I wrote this entire article on it and I’m seriously blown away by how good the keyboard is, just in terms of typing on a keyboard, all the other stuff not-withstanding.

I can deal with the weight because it’s really not all that heavy for a go-anywhere device that’s so damn useful, especially with a cellular data connection.

I feel this is a pretty good buy at the current amazon price of $199. I’m not so sure I would be as happy with it at $299, I feel like Apple is really pushing it at full retail pricing. It’s good, but is any keyboard case for an iPad worth $300? I would be hard pressed to say yes.

My opinion on that may change at WWDC this year. As it stands now, the iPad Pro is great at doing some things, like writing, drawing, web browsing, note taking, and email. It’s pretty good at other things like website editing and photo editing. It’s useless if you’re a programmer and it needs more options for real content creation.

If Apple announces software changes to the iPad, and particularly the iPad Pro, that allow it to do more stuff, then I would have an easier time justifying the purchase of the Magic Keyboard at full MSRP. Porting over Xcode and Final Cut to iPadOS would be an absolute game changer for me.

As it stands right now, I would probably skip it for $299, but if it’s still on sale for $199 at Amazon, I would pick one up if you’re looking for a keyboard case. I really don’t think you’ll be disappointed with it.