Hands on: Brydge 12.9 Series II keyboard for Apple's iPad Pro aims for MacBook-style feel ...

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in iPad
iPad users who want their tablet to feel and function like a MacBook have a brand new option in town with the release of the Brydge Mk II. With Bluetooth 4.1 and iOS battery management technology, this premium keyboard boasts whopping battery life of up to one year on a single charge.




Brydge's latest hardware revision adds Bluetooth 4.1 support, which should result in faster pairing with the iPad, and reduced lag, going beyond the impressive battery improvements.

The design itself has also been revamped with lower-profile keys, featuring just 1.5 millimeters of travel. And the backlights on the keys themselves have three levels of brightness with less light loss.




On your desk or in your lap, it really does look like a MacBook. In fact, next to a 2014 13-inch MacBook Pro, the dimensions are so close that it's almost uncanny.

In fact, it does its job so well that the first thing we did upon using the Brydge was reach down to the space below the keyboard with our index finger, searching for a TrackPad. Alas, it does not have one, and there is no traditional cursor support in iOS.




In order to match the footprint of the iPad Pro, and to have the proper heft for lap use just as you'd use a traditional MacBook, the latest Brydge does -- once again -- add noticeable heft to the iPad package.

However, the Brydge compensates for this by having the iPad itself be easily removable, unencumbered by a case that encloses and holds the iPad itself.




In all, it's a minor improvement from the previous iPad Pro keyboard, meaning it's probably not a necessary upgrade for those who already own a Brydge for Apple's 12.9-inch iPad Pro. However, for those in the market for a MacBook-style keyboard for Apple's jumbo-sized tablet, the recent hardware revamp could prove to be a good jumping on point.

The Brydge 12.9 Series II is priced at $149.99 and comes in Space Gray or Silver. AppleInsider will have much more in our full review.


Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    nunzynunzy Posts: 662member
    Meh. Macs run OSX, and not iOS.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 2 of 16
    Finally a Mac that runs iOS.
    MisterKit
  • Reply 3 of 16
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,025member
    If I owned this keyboard there would be a big shiny spot where my thumb and fingers were constantly trying, in pathetic vain, to use a nonexistent trackpad. I really do hate the connection straps. Overall, it kind of reminds me of the "rubber duck" fake training weapons the military uses in boot camp - it kinda sorta looks like a MacBook Pro but it isn't. Doh! 

    Apple nailed it with the Smart Keyboard connected to the Smart Connector.  It adds to the iPad Pro's versatility without trying to pose as something that it's not and gets out of the way when unneeded. Perfect.
  • Reply 4 of 16
    hard pass. if i wanted a laptop... 
  • Reply 5 of 16
    Now matter how hard I try, the iPad can only do 90% of what I need. In the end, I can't live without a laptop, which is not heavier than an iPad Pro + a decent keyboard, sans the necessary trackpad. 
    entropys
  • Reply 6 of 16
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,296member
    toysandme said:
    Now matter how hard I try, the iPad can only do 90% of what I need. In the end, I can't live without a laptop, which is not heavier than an iPad Pro + a decent keyboard, sans the necessary trackpad. 
    Exactly. I tried using an iPad Pro. It could do *most* things but there were some critical ones it couldn't, and many of the things it could do were significantly more difficult and cumbersome to do than on OS X. In the end, I felt like I was doing things just to prove that I could do them and found myself longing for a real computer.
    GeorgeBMacdocno42
  • Reply 7 of 16
    And yet another keyboard with no escape key :-(
    Maybe one day developers like myself will find one that considers the needs of a command line developer that doesn’t require remapping of keys ;-)
  • Reply 8 of 16
    So why would anybody want the crappy "feel" of a MacBook keyboard?
    ... Oh yeh!   "Thin and light" again.   (Except if you want thin & light you would get Apple's smart connector keyboard).
    williamlondon
  • Reply 9 of 16
    MplsP said:
    toysandme said:
    Now matter how hard I try, the iPad can only do 90% of what I need. In the end, I can't live without a laptop, which is not heavier than an iPad Pro + a decent keyboard, sans the necessary trackpad. 
    Exactly. I tried using an iPad Pro. It could do *most* things but there were some critical ones it couldn't, and many of the things it could do were significantly more difficult and cumbersome to do than on OS X. In the end, I felt like I was doing things just to prove that I could do them and found myself longing for a real computer.
    They’re both real computers, with different form factors that are better at different use cases. Reading articles in bed on a laptop sucks. Passing around photos on a laptop sucks. Etc. A tablet is great for content, home automation control, casual photo adjusting and curating, consumer video editing, casual spreadsheet use, and a myriad of specialized use case apps. (I just got Apollo for reddit, and it’s better than using their website). Different jobs to be done. 
  • Reply 10 of 16
    We bought Brydge keyboards for the medical staff.  Our EHR software runs on it’s dedicated iPad app, and out in the field is noticeably faster than accessing the the same EHR through a browser over cellular (and is more focused on the physician’s input needs).

     Each appointment still requires substantial typing as the physician inputs their notes.  Consistently they like these keyboards better than all the other brands we bought over many years.  Never feels like there is any risk of dropping the iPad as they move around during the exam.  Each appointment is lots of pick up, balance on lap, turn to show patient, discuss and document

    The iPad apps getting the most use on our machines are the EHR, UpToDate, micromedix,   Atlas the human body (to show patients “here’s where the problem...”) and Safari.

    Occasionally back in the office I see a physician reach up to touch their MacBook screen by reflex - but more often I see them camped out on a comfortable couch feet up finishing charts on an iPad Pro with Brydge.

    The only time they really want to sit at a desk with MacBook or large iMac is when they are researching tough problems (multiple browser windows side by side) or logging back into a hospital’s systems.  

    The admin staff on the other hand ask for MacBook Air/Pro or 27 inch iMacs for their work.
    edited September 2018 GeorgeBMacdocno42matrix077
  • Reply 11 of 16
    Does it use butterflies mechanisms?
    williamlondon
  • Reply 12 of 16
    We bought Brydge keyboards for the medical staff.  Our EHR software runs on it’s dedicated iPad app, and out in the field is noticeably faster than accessing the the same EHR through a browser over cellular (and is more focused on the physician’s input needs).

     Each appointment still requires substantial typing as the physician inputs their notes.  Consistently they like these keyboards better than all the other brands we bought over many years.  Never feels like there is any risk of dropping the iPad as they move around during the exam.  Each appointment is lots of pick up, balance on lap, turn to show patient, discuss and document

    The iPad apps getting the most use on our machines are the EHR, UpToDate, micromedix,   Atlas the human body (to show patients “here’s where the problem...”) and Safari.

    Occasionally back in the office I see a physician reach up to touch their MacBook screen by reflex - but more often I see them camped out on a comfortable couch feet up finishing charts on an iPad Pro with Brydge.

    The only time they really want to sit at a desk with MacBook or large iMac is when they are researching tough problems (multiple browser windows side by side) or logging back into a hospital’s systems.  

    The admin staff on the other hand ask for MacBook Air/Pro or 27 inch iMacs for their work.
    The admin staff probably needs the cursor & mouse control...
  • Reply 13 of 16
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,649member
    I use an iPad Pro a lot. When travelling I would prefer the iPad Pro. But I still have a laptop too. I do not use an external keypad with the iPad Pro, because I have always found it too compromised.  For a while I went surface pro, but it just isnt a good tablet.

    I think it would be far easier for an iPad Pro to have functionality extended to be a better light laptop than a laptop made into a better tablet.  If I wanted an external keypad, I would also want other peripherals, like a mouse or a trackpad.  So I could use it like the laptop I am trying to use it like.  While a can work without the mouse/trackpad, it just isn’t a good experience. I don’t think I should have to work around.
  • Reply 14 of 16
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,190member
    The admin staff probably needs the cursor & mouse control...

    A cursor would be my first and most important consideration when getting a keyboard. If it has cursor arrow keys, great. If not, it's a 'pass' for me. A trackpad would be awesome. But there are few times when I personally would have to do enough typing that I'd want a keyboard. 

    Conversely, an iPad is awkward to use in bed when using it for anything other than a short period. Even holding my Air 2 gets tedious when doing extended surfing. I can't even watch a TV without getting annoyed. Open up a laptop and all is well. Maybe one day somebody will produce a stable iPad holder for late night movie watching or surfing.

  • Reply 15 of 16
    OferOfer Posts: 15unconfirmed, member
    I don’t know why Apple stubbornly insists on keeping its iOS and OS X lines separated. If anyone had the potential to create a brilliant machine that is both pro-level laptop and a break-out touch-controllable pad, it’s Apple. They can show Microsoft how it’s done. Why buy a separate laptop and iPad when they could easily create a superior machine that handles both functions beautifully. And yet they stubbornly refuse to create such a machine claiming no one wants it. I would buy one in an instant. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way.
    edited September 2018
  • Reply 16 of 16
    Ofer said:
    I don’t know why Apple stubbornly insists on keeping its iOS and OS X lines separated. If anyone had the potential to create a brilliant machine that is both pro-level laptop and a break-out touch-controllable pad, it’s Apple. They can show Microsoft how it’s done. Why buy a separate laptop and iPad when they could easily create a superior machine that handles both functions beautifully. And yet they stubbornly refuse to create such a machine claiming no one wants it. I would buy one in an instant. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way.
    They were designed and tuned to work best with different form factors.   And, there would likely be comprises involved in completely merging/integrating the two.  But, that said, there is no good reason why they have built such a wall between them:    Touch screen/mobile for one.   Cursor/touchpad for the other.  I predict that that wall will slowly (IS slowly) being torn down -- particularly on the iPad as it slowly gains MacOS like functionality.

    Apple has said the iPad is/will be a laptop/computer killer.   I believe them.
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