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Discussion The Magic Keyboard and iPadOS Peripheral Support

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,408
426
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So, I ended up picking up one of Apple's Magic Keyboards for the iPad Pro (12" model). I was a bit mixed on the idea. I liked what it was offering; I didn't like the price. (It's $300 for 10", $350 for 12".) However, the one big thing is that the Magic Keyboard addressed one large issue that I have with tablets: "lap-ability". I had originally purchased a Surface Pro awhile back, and while I had other issues with trying to use productivity (drawing) apps on such a small screen, I also had problems trying to use it as a lap-able tablet. Frankly, the hinge just doesn't work well enough for it. Now, if that's what I wanted, I probably should've just considered the Surface Book, which has a detachable, laptop-like base. Although, if I recall, the price tag was the limiting factor there. (I believe it was around $2000, which was too much to justify.)

Anyway, I've been using the Magic Keyboard, and I have some thoughts on how well it works and also how well iPadOS works with keyboards and trackpads. The first thing I noticed is that if you're using a third-party charger that works with just the iPad, it may not work when plugged into the Magic Keyboard. To be clear, I'm using an Anker multi-port charger, and I think it provides something like 12-15W on its most powerful port. This was capable of charging the iPad Pro at a slower rate; however, the iPad would report that it was not charging when plugged in through the Magic Keyboard. On the flip side, it works fine with the iPad Pro's default charger. So, I've just gone to using the iPad Pro's charger instead. There are some modestly priced multi-port chargers from Anker or Amazon that would work though.

One thing that I would strongly recommend to anyone picking up the Magic Keyboard is that they enable "Tap to Click" in the iPad's Settings app. To be honest, I am bewildered as to how this is not enabled by default given that it's rather ubiquitous on laptops -- at least Windows laptops to which I'm accustomed -- but it definitely improved the experience by a lot. Another thing that you should probably do is take 10-15 minutes to get used to helpful keyboard shortcuts, and this is something that applies to any keyboard with an iPad. For example, CMD+H minimizes the current app and displays the Home Screen. CMD+TAB brings up a CTRL+TAB-like task switcher. (Note, this is not the same task switcher that you get via swiping. The keyboard one just has icons.) What may be the most helpful shortcut is just holding down CMD will bring up a translucent, temporary notification box that displays all keyboard shortcuts for the current app.

However, I think the biggest problem that may hurt Apple's keyboard endeavors is similar to the Surface Pro problem that I saw before... app support. A great example of this is when I'm using the YouTube app. If you're used to using YouTube on a computer, which is what this feels like, you're probably used to some keyboard shortcuts or at least some interaction with the keyboard. A simple example of this would be using ESC to exit full-screen mode. Well, on that note, the Magic Keyboard does not have an ESC key, but you can remap another key to that function; however, the larger problem is that -- at least from what I've seen -- the YouTube app does not have any keyboard shortcuts. You are able to use some touchpad shortcuts such as pinch two fingers = exit full-screen and expand two fingers (opposite of pinch) = enter full-screen, but there's not much more than that.
 
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Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,408
426
126
Two other things came to mind in regard to the Magic Keyboard and iPadOS.

The first is just sort of an inherent problem with the design of the keyboard cover. Basically, the keyboard cover can't really serve as your protective cover in all cases, because it's kind of inconvenient if you just want a tablet. I'm not really sure if there's a protective case that supports the Magic Keyboard, but I could see the vinyl skins like those from dBrand working. However, I think it's worth to keep in mind that you may need to invest more money in protection when in tablet-only mode.

The second is that there may be random iPadOS awkward experiences that you run into. For example, I went to change the volume the other day using the touchpad, and I was a bit bewildered for a second as I was clicking on the volume bar an expecting the volume to match the spot that was clicked. It turns out that I had to click on the current volume position and manually slide it to the spot that I wanted. This isn't really an issue, but it's interesting to see how the User Experience (UX) doesn't necessarily match what a user would expect with that input method.

So, I guess that begs the question... should or even would Apple create different methods of interaction depending on the input method? Should I be able to click on that volume bar and have it act as expected but have to drag it with my finger?
 

Muadib

Lifer
May 30, 2000
16,276
292
126
Two other things came to mind in regard to the Magic Keyboard and iPadOS.

The first is just sort of an inherent problem with the design of the keyboard cover. Basically, the keyboard cover can't really serve as your protective cover in all cases, because it's kind of inconvenient if you just want a tablet. I'm not really sure if there's a protective case that supports the Magic Keyboard, but I could see the vinyl skins like those from dBrand working. However, I think it's worth to keep in mind that you may need to invest more money in protection when in tablet-only mode.

The second is that there may be random iPadOS awkward experiences that you run into. For example, I went to change the volume the other day using the touchpad, and I was a bit bewildered for a second as I was clicking on the volume bar an expecting the volume to match the spot that was clicked. It turns out that I had to click on the current volume position and manually slide it to the spot that I wanted. This isn't really an issue, but it's interesting to see how the User Experience (UX) doesn't necessarily match what a user would expect with that input method.

So, I guess that begs the question... should or even would Apple create different methods of interaction depending on the input method? Should I be able to click on that volume bar and have it act as expected but have to drag it with my finger?
I just read both of your post, and I still don't know how you feel about the keyboard. Knowing what you know now, is it worth the price?
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,408
426
126
I just read both of your post, and I still don't know how you feel about the keyboard. Knowing what you know now, is it worth the price?
Would I still buy it? Yes. However, that's largely because I'm putting a heavy preference on the stand and how it helps make the iPad far more usable in situations that don't work well with those fold-back style stands. I do think it would feel far more palatable to most users if it were $250 instead of $300/$350.

Although, it might be worthwhile to add that I've seen some reports of people mentioning awkward levels of battery drain when the cover is attached and the iPad is asleep. I might have seen this, but I haven't had an iPad in so long, that I'm honestly not sure what is normal. (This is my first iPad since the iPad 2.) However, I have seen what looks like a loss of 5-8% in one night while it should've been asleep. That did seem a bit high to me when I saw it.

Ultimately, what I wanted to point out would be a few caveats that people might have to deal with if they want to use this device. For example, if you really want to use keyboard commands, you'll have to deal with how some apps just don't have them. Also, you may find it frustrating switching cases if you want to use the iPad Pro on the go. (The Magic Keyboard case does not fully fold back like Microsoft's Touch Cover.)
 

Muadib

Lifer
May 30, 2000
16,276
292
126
Would I still buy it? Yes. However, that's largely because I'm putting a heavy preference on the stand and how it helps make the iPad far more usable in situations that don't work well with those fold-back style stands. I do think it would feel far more palatable to most users if it were $250 instead of $300/$350.

Although, it might be worthwhile to add that I've seen some reports of people mentioning awkward levels of battery drain when the cover is attached and the iPad is asleep. I might have seen this, but I haven't had an iPad in so long, that I'm honestly not sure what is normal. (This is my first iPad since the iPad 2.) However, I have seen what looks like a loss of 5-8% in one night while it should've been asleep. That did seem a bit high to me when I saw it.

Ultimately, what I wanted to point out would be a few caveats that people might have to deal with if they want to use this device. For example, if you really want to use keyboard commands, you'll have to deal with how some apps just don't have them. Also, you may find it frustrating switching cases if you want to use the iPad Pro on the go. (The Magic Keyboard case does not fully fold back like Microsoft's Touch Cover.)
I had my 11" pro for a year, and I use it mostly as a control unit for my stereo system. Your mention that some apps don't use keyboard commands is huge, because if it doesn't work with the Roon app that would suck. Roon is the main reason I bought the iPad. It is my only app I've added to the iPad in the year I've had it. It's my first iPad, but I've used my wife's iPad 2 every now & then. I guess I'll give it a shot and see. Thanks for your insight!

Will this Magic keyboard work with older iPad Pro 12"? Just curious....
If you mean the 12.9 inch, then yes it does.
 
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Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,408
426
126
I had my 11" pro for a year, and I use it mostly as a control unit for my stereo system. Your mention that some apps don't use keyboard commands is huge, because if it doesn't work with the Roon app that would suck. Roon is the main reason I bought the iPad. It is my only app I've added to the iPad in the year I've had it. It's my first iPad, but I've used my wife's iPad 2 every now & then. I guess I'll give it a shot and see. Thanks for your insight!
I found this link to the Roon support page that indicates that Roon on iOS and iPadOS does not support keyboard shortcuts. Although, it sounds like an official Roon personnel passed along the note to the team, which means it could come in the future; however, that's very much up in the air.
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
44,588
2,228
126
Excellent review, thank you for posting it! I've read & watched a lot of reviews on the Magic Keyboard & it looks SUPER cool - I love that they've added keyboard & mouse support, a USB-C connector, the ability to use a dock to get HDMI out, etc. I was thinking about getting the Magic Keyboard, but for my needs, I ended up going with a different setup. I'm switching from working in IT to working in BEC (Business Efficiency Consulting) & have taken up working in my mini Maker's Lab at home as my primary hobby, so both my job & my play-time are shifting to different focuses this year. The iPad fits right in as a constant companion for me. Here's where I'm at:

1. I just picked up an LTE 512GB iPad Pro (2020) with the Pencil 2.0. It's an amazing combination! The updated tablet OS & giant size really help make it usable. I've never had a cellular tablet before & it's super nice to have it just instantly work when I'm away from home & Wi-fi.

2. I have a $25 Composition case. It is 100% stealth, haha! It offers protection, the origami-style tri-fold stand, auto sleep/wake, and a charging slot for the pen. I really like having a secure place to put the pen - the iPad's built-in magnet is great, but having a place for it to clip in means it doesn't get lost in my bag. Here's a link:


3. I have a $35 AboveTEK adjustable magnetic stand. For the money, it's outstanding. I mounted the 3M-backed metal ring directly to the back of the iPad & it works fine with the Composition case. The base is heavy & weighted. When mounted, I plan to use it as often as a display for various realtime apps & as a second monitor using SpaceDesk. I've ordered several more stands (computer desk, bedside table, couch-side table, maker's lab, and kitchen for recipes). The ring stays on the tablet so I can easily move it to any of my rooms to use as a mounted display. Here's a link:


4. I thought a lot about how I would use it. I got pretty close to getting a Magic Keyboard. I also almost went with a docking system, where I could plug it into a monitor or TV & use my ergonomic MS 4000 keyboard & mouse. It made more sense to just get a simple display stand & then use it in my lap. Also, I'm really glad I went with the larger 12.9" size. I was worried it would be too big but honestly they could have gone even bigger lol. It's incredibly compact for the size!

5. I'm going with a Paperlike screen protector. They just started shipping the 12.9" 2020 model ($39). I really don't like the feel of the stock surface...it's sometimes grabby & sometimes smooth. The Paperlike was pretty expensive, but the reviews say it's pretty decent, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it fares for art projects:


6. Remote Desktop with the Pen is amazing. Tapping to click is remarkably accurate.

7. Shapr3D is really awesome. Not a fan of the monthly/annual subscription model ($32/mo or $240/yr), but I also understand the costs behind it, having worked with a lot of shops & CAD vendors over the years. The fact that it can do everything it lets you do on an iPad is nothing short of a miracle. Plus it's pretty crazy to be able to draw a part on my lap & send it to my 3D printer lol.

8. Procreate is glorious. I'm getting back into art after basically a 15-year absence. SUPER excited for Illustrator on iOS. Just picked up Affinity Designer for ten bucks, which has a Bézier pen tool to play with for now. There's a whole ecosystem of artsy apps to dive into, going to take some time to get up-to-speed on everything out there!

9. It's not an end-all, be-all device & I don't intend to use it as such. I strongly considered getting a flip laptop with a pen, like a Lenovo Yoga or HP x360, because then I could do full CAD, full artistic apps, massive multi-tasking etc. But my desktop workstation is my home base & I didn't want to have to sync stuff or run stuff in parallel. Plus a laptop would have been just a bit too cumbersome. The iPad works as a recipe display screen in the kitchen & as something to doodle on in 2D & 3D wherever I'm at. It will be filling some very specific niche uses I ahve for it.

10. I'm really super interested in the Brydge keyboard case. Basically turns it into a portable laptop. So so so cool. But, (1) they suggest using it only with a Brydge screen cover, (2) it won't fit my Composition case cover, which I love, and (3) I don't really plan on doing much typing on it. But definitely on my "very cool accessories" list!


11. I couldn't find my original 3 blog posts about it (RIP my old WP blog from a decade ago), but I did find some old posts:




The blog posts went into far more detail. I feel like the device has caught up to how I want to use it, for the most part, especially in terms of battery life. I'm not so heavy into PDF files anymore, as I'm out of school, and most of my continuing education is through videos & Amazon Kindle books. I had a vivid imagination & grand visions for what the iPad could be, and in practice (at the time), it was fairly disappointing. With the current model, for me at least, the pen & the ecosystem are the two things that make all the difference. The Pencil 2.0 is really fantastic & there's so much back-end support from developers & depth to the features of the apps that it really makes it a worthwhile device to own. Definitely looking forward to the next few months of getting up to speed with it!
 

Rottie

Diamond Member
Feb 10, 2002
4,784
1
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I had my 11" pro for a year, and I use it mostly as a control unit for my stereo system. Your mention that some apps don't use keyboard commands is huge, because if it doesn't work with the Roon app that would suck. Roon is the main reason I bought the iPad. It is my only app I've added to the iPad in the year I've had it. It's my first iPad, but I've used my wife's iPad 2 every now & then. I guess I'll give it a shot and see. Thanks for your insight!


If you mean the 12.9 inch, then yes it does.
I have 1st gen iPad Pro 12.9 inches but I could not find keyboard with trackpad everywhere not on Amazon they all work with 2018 - 2020 iPad Pro model only.
 

Muadib

Lifer
May 30, 2000
16,276
292
126
I have 1st gen iPad Pro 12.9 inches but I could not find keyboard with trackpad everywhere not on Amazon they all work with 2018 - 2020 iPad Pro model only.
Did you check Apple? I ordered one from them after my last post in this thread, and I’m still waiting. That more than likely means you won’t find it anywhere else.
 

TheStu

Moderator<br>Mobile Devices & Gadgets
Moderator
Sep 15, 2004
12,036
38
91
Did you check Apple? I ordered one from them after my last post in this thread, and I’m still waiting. That more than likely means you won’t find it anywhere else.
The Apple made one ONLY works with the 3rd and 4th generation iPads Pro (the ones with FaceID). Rottie is saying he has the 1st generation that has TouchID. I'm in a similar boat as he, I have a 2nd generation 12.9" Pro. No one is making keyboard+trackpad accessories for those models.
 

Muadib

Lifer
May 30, 2000
16,276
292
126
The Apple made one ONLY works with the 3rd and 4th generation iPads Pro (the ones with FaceID). Rottie is saying he has the 1st generation that has TouchID. I'm in a similar boat as he, I have a 2nd generation 12.9" Pro. No one is making keyboard+trackpad accessories for those models.
Sorry to hear that. Early adapter tax strikes again.
 

TheStu

Moderator<br>Mobile Devices & Gadgets
Moderator
Sep 15, 2004
12,036
38
91
Sorry to hear that. Early adapter tax strikes again.
I mean, I guess? They still run iPadOS 13, so they have trackpad support. I connected a Magic Trackpad to my 2nd gen Pro, and it works great in terms of connection, responsiveness, gestures, etc.
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
44,588
2,228
126
On a tangent:

Logitech’s iPad Keyboard Is the Magic Keyboard for Everyone Else

 

Muadib

Lifer
May 30, 2000
16,276
292
126
On a tangent:

Logitech’s iPad Keyboard Is the Magic Keyboard for Everyone Else

Sadly there is nothing for the 12.9 pro.
 

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