Apple offers up extended repair program for defective iPad Pro Smart Keyboards

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in iPad
To deal with problems encountered by some owners, Apple has launched a three-year extended repair program for the first-generation iPad Pro Smart Keyboard, AppleInsider can confirm.




People with a Smart Keyboard for first-gen 9.7- and 12.9-inch Pros can can get repairs or replacements for free, so long the accessory is suffering from one of several specific issues. These include sensor and magnetic connector problems, keys sticking, repeating, or being unresponsive, and trouble with data connections.

Normally the Smart Keyboard is covered under a single-year warranty, which has likely long expired for many first-gen Pro buyers.

Apple launched a similar program last summer. The company is presumably concerned about keeping Pro users happy, given that they might otherwise have to pay $149 or $169 for a new Keyboard, depending on what size of tablet they have.

While the iPad Pro is perfectly functional without any accessories, Apple has often marketed it as a laptop replacement, showing it being used in tandem with a $99 Apple Pencil and/or the Keyboard. In that regard Apple has been positioning the product against rival Windows tablets such as Microsoft's Surface Pro.

Apple may have to refresh the Smart Keyboard again this summer if rumors about Face ID-equipped Pros prove true. Ditching Touch ID will allow the company to once again shrink the iPad's bezels, and may also force it to reposition magnets and/or the Smart Connector.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    My keyboard was suffering with the issue of the ‘Device is not supported’ message. I was able to find sweet spots for a while and then it started causing the screen to flicker. I tried multiple times to fix it but they were only immediate fixes and only lasted as long as it was in that position, the moment I moved it it was back to the drawing board. So I took it in last month and they replaced it straight away. I did not have AppleCare, and have had the keyboard for the entire 2+ years. And now I am happily typing on my brand new keyboard! I am definitely upgrading with the next iteration of 12.9” iPad Pro. I really can’t speak more highly about any computer that I have ever owned then this one. It with iOS 11 made it possible to not need a desk/lap top. Love it. 
    racerhomie3toysandmewatto_cobrafirelockjony0
  • Reply 2 of 27
    dws-2dws-2 Posts: 175member
    I got mine replaced when it started getting flaky. The new one isn't quite as flexible, so when I use it on a flat surface, the keyboard wants to come up a few millimeters off the table. 
    edited April 13
  • Reply 3 of 27
    adbeadbe Posts: 10member
    My first one was a piece of crap which Apple replaced under the original recall program.  The new one has held out better, but is still a little flaky.  I don't love it, but the only real competitor for the 12.9" is the Logitech one, and that one feels like a real half-effort.


  • Reply 4 of 27
    The smart keyboard is pretty practical, but it always felt too expensive for a piece of hardware that deteriorates so quickly. Same happens with the smart covers, its impossible that is constantly flexing, sliding and moving to last very long (at least they aren't as pricy). The magic keyboard is a fraction of the price and that thing last for ever, probably not as practical, but you can use it with any device too.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 27
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 487member
    adbe said:
    My first one was a piece of crap which Apple replaced under the original recall program.  The new one has held out better, but is still a little flaky.  I don't love it, but the only real competitor for the 12.9" is the Logitech one, and that one feels like a real half-effort.


    I got the Logitech one and have been very happy with it. It seems like the keyboard Apple should have designed but didn’t - dedicated function keys, backlight, and a holder for the ApplePencil. Plus the keys have a better feel than the Apple keyboard.

    As far as being marketed as a laptop replacement, the iPad Pro most decidedly is not. I hoped to use it as such, but workflows were hopelessly cumbersome, then I got a crash course in the shortcomings of iOS on a plane one day when I tried to read some e-mails and look at some attachments that I had purposely made sure to check/download at home, but iOS had evidently decided they were needlessly wasting memory and deleted them between my house and the airport. I ended up shelling out the dough for a MacBook Pro; it is much more computer than I need, but at least it works like a computer and not a glorified iphone. 
    mariowinco
  • Reply 6 of 27
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 1,719member
    What the hell? I've never been informed by Apple of recalls or replacements for these things! I haven't even seen it mentioned here before today. After the first three MONTHS, my a s and d key labels were wearing off from casual typing. They're almost completely gone today.

    When I posted my review of the Smart Keyboard on Apple's online store my review was hidden and they will not tell me why! I was fair, well-worded, and not at all abusive. If I try to write a new one, the site just indicates something like "you already wrote a review for this item"; but it won't show said existing review and won't let me edit it. It's just NOT THERE! Apple hasn't replied to my inquiry about this either. They've deleted reviews of mine on the App Store as well, also with zero indication of why (though there I've been able to post new ones, and forget me being as detailed as the original one; what a waste of time). I've never been abusive in my App Store reviews, yet I see them deleted while other people's clearly abusive or scammy/fake reviews persist!

    As for functionality, the keyboard does have moments where it won't respond. It seems entirely caused by the bug-ridden iOS, though, because it behaves as through, for example, the Safari tab/app doesn't have the focus (focus issues being something that iOS shouldn't have, but clearly does, once you have a keyboard to reveal this issue). There are also a number of clearly incomplete implementations of Smart Keyboard support throughout the OS and API.

    I've not had problems with the connector or the keyboard hardware itself, aside from the letter labeling. If people have keyboards that stop working entirely, well that sucks even harder.

    I have reported every bug and bad behavior to Apple via their iPad feedback page. Not that my reports there ever seem to go heeded (at this point, I feel like an unpaid intern, reporting details about their products that they don't seem to care about, most of which started in 2013).
    muthuk_vanalingamanantksundaram
  • Reply 7 of 27
    emoelleremoeller Posts: 359member
    I must be the exception because I've had no problems with the one  I purchased when they first came out.   The one time I had a connection issue I carefully cleaned the connections with an alcohol soaked Q-tip and it has worked perfectly since (months ago)

    Now I don't use the keyboard all that much, but when I need it it is super helpful. I think if I had to use a keyboard more than 50% of the time I might look at an alternative, but for me it has worked perfectly.

     I always keep it on my iPad Pro 10" and as a result the lower left corner (when on the iPad and folded over) started delaminating.   A very small amount of super glue about two months ago and its still fine.  

    When I upgrade I'll purchase another Apple Keyboard if it is offered.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 27
    jdb8167jdb8167 Posts: 103member
    emoeller said:
    I must be the exception because I've had no problems with the one  I purchased when they first came out.   The one time I had a connection issue I carefully cleaned the connections with an alcohol soaked Q-tip and it has worked perfectly since (months ago)
    I doubt you are the exception. The repair program is because this is a more common problem than most of Apple's manufacturing issues but I doubt it goes beyond a few percent of sales. For what it is worth, I've had my 12.9" smart keyboard since December 2015 and it has worked flawlessly the entire time. I also have a 10.5" with the smart keyboard and it has also been perfect. This is likely the norm.


    watto_cobrafirelock
  • Reply 9 of 27
    jdb8167jdb8167 Posts: 103member

    dysamoria said:
    After the first three MONTHS, my a s and d key labels were wearing off from casual typing. They're almost completely gone today.
    I would take that as a badge of honor. I've had my 12.9" keyboard since December 2015 with the keyboard is more or less permanently attached but I don't type on it enough to wear off keys. You obviously are getting a lot of use from the keyboard. 
    watto_cobraGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 10 of 27
    If only Apple would make a similar policy for the Apple Pencil.  Don't use it for an extended amount of time and it won't charge.  Need to bin it at that point.
    dysamoria
  • Reply 11 of 27
    pslicepslice Posts: 60member
    I had a problem with the keyboard and after going through tons of machinations with Apple Support they replaced it. It was a total pain. I wish Apple would trust it’s customers more than they do.
    dysamoria
  • Reply 12 of 27
    I've had tons of problems with my keyboard for the first gen 12.9" iPad Pro. I will be getting in touch with Apple based on this report -- his is the first time I've heard that Apple had an "extended repair program" for this.

    Frankly, for $169, it's a PoS keyboard. And damn ugly, to boot.
    edited April 13 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 13 of 27
    toysandmetoysandme Posts: 170member
    dws-2 said:
    I got mine replaced when it started getting flaky. The new one isn't quite as flexible, so when I use it on a flat surface, the keyboard wants to come up a few millimeters off the table. 
    Go to Settings, under General, and turn off Levitation. 

    kuduwatto_cobraGeorgeBMacSpamSandwich
  • Reply 14 of 27
    kudukudu Posts: 26member
    toysandme said:
    dws-2 said:
    I got mine replaced when it started getting flaky. The new one isn't quite as flexible, so when I use it on a flat surface, the keyboard wants to come up a few millimeters off the table. 
    Go to Settings, under General, and turn off Levitation. 

    😂 !!
    watto_cobraGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 15 of 27
    kudukudu Posts: 26member
    toysandme said:
    dws-2 said:
    I got mine replaced when it started getting flaky. The new one isn't quite as flexible, so when I use it on a flat surface, the keyboard wants to come up a few millimeters off the table. 
    Go to Settings, under General, and turn off Levitation. 

    ROTFL!!!
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 16 of 27
    Christos SChristos S Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    Very expensive and defective. Shame on Apple.
  • Reply 17 of 27
     I’m a heavy user of the Smart Keyboard and it has worked flawlessly for me. I’ve used it on both the 9.7 Pro and my current 10.5 Pro. About the only complaint I have with my current keyboard is that the labeling on the N key has begun to wear off. (I am a touch typist and I tend to mash my N keys really hard for some reason.) On the 9.7 keyboard after just over a year of use there were many key labels that had worn off. The keyboard still functioned perfectly but it looked pretty ragged when I sold it. The labels on my 10.5 Smart Keyboard are holding up much better by comparison.

    I went through three different Bluetooth keyboards from different manufacturers before Apple debuted the iPad Pro with Smart Keyboard. Most but not all functioned fine, but they ALL added way too much weight or made the iPad too stiff, thick, and awkward. And I didn’t like having to worry about charging them. The Smart Keyboard and its smart connector are very nearly a perfect combination for me. The keys have good feedback (important as a touch typist) a good feel. It is also lightweight and doesn’t have to be charged. My iPad Pro still feels like an iPad when the Smart Keyboard is connected.
  • Reply 18 of 27
    Apple continues to have production issues. The quality has decreased over the years post Steve Jobs. Tim Cook needs to pay attention to the company and spend more time on the details like Steve did. Less time on activism, and remember Tim you do work for the shareholders. The phone in help line is even more prone to errors. Many time the front line doesn't even know the problem or how to handle it. Apple on this road will crash.
  • Reply 19 of 27
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,692member
    freshh20 said:
    Apple continues to have production issues. The quality has decreased over the years post Steve Jobs. Tim Cook needs to pay attention to the company and spend more time on the details like Steve did. Less time on activism, and remember Tim you do work for the shareholders. The phone in help line is even more prone to errors. Many time the front line doesn't even know the problem or how to handle it. Apple on this road will crash.
    Right.. Demonstrably not true, but hey, continue the delusion.
  • Reply 20 of 27
    kbreed1234kbreed1234 Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    I have the 1st gen 12.9" and the keyboard makes. It my iPad cycle like it's charging and not charging rapidly (like every half second.) Glad to see I can get it replaced!  
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