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TIMO ZIMMERMANN

balancing software engineering & infosec

Magic Keyboard – first impression

posted on Wednesday 22nd of April 2020 in , ,

As you might know I am a big fan of my iPad Pro. Most recently I even made it my only device I carry when traveling for all my work, including software development. iPad OS 13.4 and its mouse and trackpad support introduced a new way to interact with the iPad – I used the accessibility feature before, but it always felt like an afterthought – which made it an even better laptop replacement for me. So you can imagine I was pretty excited when the Magic Keyboard was announced.

Having used it for a bit over a day now I can say I really like it. So here is a short, unordered list of things people asked me so far or things I was curious about.

It feels so much better than the Smart Keyboard Folio and Smart Keyboard. It is not even close. The key travel is nice and works well for me to type fast on it. It should be comparable to a 16″ MacBook Pro, but I was not able to use one long enough to actually compare them.

It is a bit annoying that you cannot fold it to the back of the iPad, you have to “un-dock” the iPad to use it as a tablet. Thanks to the magnetic connector this is neither hard nor tedious to do. Considering that iPad + keyboard are roughly the same weight as a MacBook Air it might actually be really uncomfortable using it as tablet.

Using the keyboard with one hand only definitely does not work for me. The hinge is too stiff, the magnets too strong, but you do not need a lot of force.

Adjusting the viewing angle is really nice and allows me to work comfortably with it on a desk or on my lap. It is the best experience I had so far using the iPad on my lap with a keyboard. There is no flex when typing, it is balanced enough to stand as long as you do not tilt your legs forwards, but it does not feel as stable as a laptop.

The joint facing towards you is a bit uncomfortable when you rest your hand on it, you want to make sure to have most of your hand on the keyboard. I happened to slip a bit when causally browsing and using the trackpad.

The trackpad is small. It reminds me of netbooks in the late 2000s. But compared to them it works, supports the multi touch gestures you know and after 10 minutes I got used to the size.

If you use your iPad a lot to get work done, enjoy using an external keyboard and like the mouse support in iPad OS I would suggest giving it a try. In my opinion worth the – quite large amount of – money.