Review: Apple's Smart Keyboard Folio is the best option for the iPad Pro, but has too many...

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 30
    I’m writing this on my new 11” iPad Pro with Smart Keyboard on my lap while sitting in my recliner. It is far more stable than my old 10.5 Pro and Smart Keyboard in this configuration and has much more of a laptop feel. I do agree that the back protection adds unwanted thickness; the 11” iPad Pro with Smart Keyboard definitely feels heavier than my old 10.5 with Smart Keyboard, but it also has a more premium look and feel, and the higher-quality keyboard with additional stability is worth it.

    I found the author’s complaint about the magnets a little misleading. The new Smart Keyboard has a far stronger connection to the iPad than the old one did. I’ve had the old keyboard cover slip off several times, once causing me to drop the iPad to the floor (causing small dent); I’m pretty certain that is not going to happen with this new keyboard cover and 11” Pro.
    redgeminipawatto_cobra
  • Reply 22 of 30
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 2,350member
    Any idea if the key labeling is better this time around? Mine, from the first generation iPad Pro 12.9”, started seeing the labels wearing off after three months. A & S are completely gone now, with D & others close behind.

    i included this fact in my review, about six months into ownership and Apple HID THE REVIEW from the store page. There was nothing abusive or inappropriate about my review. If I attempt to post a new one, it won’t let me, saying I’ve already reviewed that product. I’ve attempted to contact them about it and gotten no reply.

    They’ve also deleted iOS reviews I’ve posted (whether critical or not; never abusive), but the system allows me to post new ones. Apple have also never once sought further info on my product feedback bug reports.

     I feel like I’m blacklisted by Apple in some way.
  • Reply 23 of 30
    tht said:

    The Surface Book has a trackpad. Since the Surface Studio is a desktop, the vast majority of people likely use a mouse with it. There are times where their users would use the touchscreen, but it’s more of a feature add-on than the native way people use those devices.

    I was resisting the sarcastic remark to rogifan, but... all of computing since sometime before 1984 or so used computers without trackpads, without mice.

    Man, the tab key was used a lot for deployed DOS apps. You can still see some of this UI style today, like in hospital software. A lot of hospital workers are carrying these fully modern touchscreen 2-in-1 laptops, but they end up entering information in a character based UI system built from 30 years ago. I can’t imagine what type of Frankenstein’s monster they have for the backend. Now, it’s only used to begin paragraphs, for those who choose not to have a new line separate paragraphs. The iOS software keyboard on the 10.5 doesn’t even have it as a default key, and I don’t think it is even available for a text field key in web browsers.
    In the specific use case you mention, hospital software, using a mouse or trackpad would likely slow the user down quite a bit.  Most of that type of software is designed to be used in a standard way, with almost the same "flow" through a screen and through the app itself being used for each instance.  Muscle memory makes using the tab key to navigate such standard flow much faster than moving one's hand to a mouse or track pad just to get to the next field.

    Even a touch screen like an iPad has wouldn't be optimal because it means moving the hand between the screen and keyboard.

    Even now, when I'm designing a form or flow that's intended to be navigated in a certain way, I'll set it up so that the tab key moves between items to support that flow.  Even on a web page. :)

    Of course, most consumers don't need that sort of thing, so a mouse or trackpad is a great benefit.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 24 of 30
    I didn’t have the Apple keyboard with my 2nd gen iPad Pro 12.9”, so I can’t comment on that, but I got the new one for my new 12.9” iPad Pro, and I actually enjoy it quite a bit. It’s taking me some time to get used to typing on it after owning a ‘16 12” MacBook for nearly 2 years, as I adapted to the 1st gen butterfly keyboard. As for not having a back cover as part of the case, that became a lot more difficult with the new placement for the Smart Connector. 

    This setup, along with the Pencil, replaced my MacBook. So far, I’m not regretting it. It’s insanely fast compared to the MacBook. Everything loads faster, and it’s even much faster concerning WiFi speeds. Web pages load near instantly, and it’s much faster when swiping back pages. The MacBook would take several seconds for the previous page to load before I could swipe back another, which was very annoying. 

    As for mouse input, I’m not missing the trackpad too much. There are times it would be handy, but the more I go without it, the more I prefer to not use one. 

    Throw in the fact that I bought a cellular model, and it’s more convenient than any MacBook when on the go. I actually WANT to take my iPad off my desk, and use it for what it’s intended for, unlike the MacBook, which sat on my desk nearly 100% of the time I owned it. The 0% payment through my cellular carrier is icing on the cake. 

    Since it now has USB-C, I have a feeling we’ll get expanded support with iOS 13. Even though we’ll never get full file system access, it would still be nice if we could at least format external drives, or maybe even view and interact with certain file types on one. That’s one thing I do miss I about the MacBook, so I’ll be keeping my old Dell laptop around for those purposes. Maybe we’ll get some pleasant surprises announced in June. 

    I’m also hoping we get the option for encrypted backups for iCloud, as it’s really nice to have a new iOS device up and running nearly 100% where the old one left off, including all app data. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 25 of 30
    MplsP said:
    When I got my iPad Pro a year and a half ago, I looked at Apple's keyboard and ended up getting this one from Logitech. It has nicer keys, is backlit, includes function keys, can be positioned at any angle and the keyboard easily snaps off when you don't need it. It even has a spot for the Apple Pencil. I don't know if they will have a similar product for the new iPad Pro, but I hope they do.
    Logitech’s keyboards for the iPad have been better than Apple’s in every iteration (often a bit cheaper too!). When Apple brought out the “rollaway” Apple Pencil only Logitech provided a workable solution. The backlit Logitech keyboard is brilliant if you work in bed with the lights off like I do (while my wife sleeps peacefully!).  The version for the previous iPad 12.9” even let you stand it up in portrait mode (not with the keyboard sadly thanks to Apple’s positioning of the connector) for FaceTime/Skype calls and if you wanted to use it to draw on it would lay back at a good angle with the keyboard detached or stand it upright, sans keyboard, for watching movies/Netflix etc. SOOOOOOO much more versatile and useful than Apple’s keyboard. Logitech haven’t yet released their keyboard for the newest iPads which is the only reason I haven’t yet upgraded!
  • Reply 26 of 30
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,707member
    I’m curious how anyone could use a physical keyboard without a trackpad. It would drive me nuts.
    You could try, I don't know, using one for a while (by which I mean "more than five minutes in a store"). Trackpads are totally awesome, I agree, but in actual use with a BT keyboard made for the iPad (or this Apple one), your actual need to touch the screen drops to almost nothing, thanks to custom keys in the function row for the most common commands like "home screen," "app switcher," "search" and "sleep." I can call up the onscreen keyboard using a key on my iPad keyboard (rarely needed) and select/edit using the arrow keys. A lot of the Mac keyboard commands work as well.

    One of the few times I do actually need to touch the screen is to bring up split screen, and to dismiss the second app. One could also argue that some of the operations handled by custom keys on iPad keyboards may be easier if there were a trackpad, sure, but it's just a different mode of working -- and easier (for me) than, say, making me use a Windows keyboard for anything. :)
    watto_cobraredgeminipa
  • Reply 27 of 30
    I wish the author had placed each folio keyboard next to the Apple Bluetooth keyboard. Every review s]seems to equate full-size with full-width. Not true! I own the original 12.9” iPad Pro and the keyboard cover and while it may be full width, it’s far from full height., meaning when you reach for other keys, especially those below home row, you have to uncomfortably curl your fingers to target the keys, and the fabric keys, while having a great feel with very little tactile feedback (thank god), are far less forgiving than real keys if your press is a bit off-center. I’m picky about these things because I suffered from bad RSI 20 years ago on horrendous ergo-hostile IBM RT workstation keyboards that had long stroke depth, strong tactile feedback and required relatively large amount of force to enable a key press. Good ergonomics: - NO “clacky” feedback. The spike of vibration travels through your finger and up through your elbow - short as possible key travel. You don’t want it so short that you keep landing false positive keystrokes, but not much deeper - flat keyboard or even tilt-forward. Don’t use the legs on a keyboard to make the numbers row higher off the desk than the space bar. Bad for your wrists. -
  • Reply 28 of 30
    Vinod MenonVinod Menon Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    Now that the smart connectors/ magnets are on the back of the new iPad Pro, is it possible to use the keyboard with iPad on a Portrait mode or does it work only on a landscape mode?
  • Reply 29 of 30
    This review is peculiar. Most of the Apple Smart Keyboard (ASK) reviews I read for iPad Pro 1/2 complained about 1) instability on the lap, 2) the horrible bump in the middle of the fold of the keyboard, 3) the accordion folding mechanism and lack of multiple viewing angles, and 4) lack of travel in the keys. I personally disliked the fact that the keys weren't backlit and that there were no iPad control/function keys. I tried just about every keyboard/case for iPad Pro 1 and 2 and ended up going back to ASK, except on long flights, due to its thinness. I thought I would love Logitech's Slim Combo, and hands down it has the single best iPad keyboard I've ever used. The backlit keys were essential for long flights.The problem is that with its mandatory back cover, it more than doubles the size and significantly adds to the weight. iPad + Logitech Slim Combo was thicker and heavier than my 13 MacBook Pro. Brydge gave no protection to the back and I couldn't use a screen protector. The Logitech K811 standalone keyboard requires a separate cover for the iPad and fewer than half of the function keys, well, function. I'm sure I'm forgetting one or two others that I tried and sent back. 

    When I got my iPad Pro 3 I decided to go with the Apple Smart Keyboard Folio (ASKF) since I so regularly defaulted to the SK on my iPad Pro 1 and 2. Here's why I said this review is peculiar... Apple fixed some of the worst problems with the ASK identified by most reviewers. The ASKF is surprisingly stable on the lap. I use iPads on small to large airplanes. ASKF is much, much better than the ASK for lap use. in addition to the completely flat bottom, the magnets are much stronger and give an overall more stable feel to the unit when in lap mode. The problem of lack of back protection is solved. The horrible folding mechanism is solved. The bump is solved. The lack of viewing angles is somewhat solved (I'd still love a lower "drafting" angle). The keys feel springier, like literally, springs in the keys of the ASKF versus the ASK.

    One of the two remaining glaring problems for me - the lack of backlight and function keys - are really design/weight issues. Were Apple to add backlight, we'd be into the obese Logitech dimensions. Ok. I can give that up. But what is baffling is that there is ample space for a half-sized-key row of iPad control keys (play/pause, home, etc) on the ASKF, but nope, none there. I could understand if all of these functions were replaced with keyboard shortcuts, but they are not. Want an exercise in extreme frustration? Try pausing an iTunes track while working on another app. Or better yet, advance a track. On every single other Apple device it is a simple keystroke or tap. Why is it buried on iPad? You have to swipe down for the control center then play/pause/advance, which disrupts workflow to invoke the control center overlay screen.

    Overall, the ASKF is a giant step forward for Apple's house keyboard/covers. I'm not sure I'll even try the others this time unless someone comes in under ASKF weight/thickness WITH backlighting AND/OR control keys. Maybe there is some wizz-bang coming, but it is hard to imagine an all around better package. 
    MplsPraoulduke42
  • Reply 30 of 30
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,733member
    tht said:

    The Surface Book has a trackpad. Since the Surface Studio is a desktop, the vast majority of people likely use a mouse with it. There are times where their users would use the touchscreen, but it’s more of a feature add-on than the native way people use those devices.

    I was resisting the sarcastic remark to rogifan, but... all of computing since sometime before 1984 or so used computers without trackpads, without mice.

    Man, the tab key was used a lot for deployed DOS apps. You can still see some of this UI style today, like in hospital software. A lot of hospital workers are carrying these fully modern touchscreen 2-in-1 laptops, but they end up entering information in a character based UI system built from 30 years ago. I can’t imagine what type of Frankenstein’s monster they have for the backend. Now, it’s only used to begin paragraphs, for those who choose not to have a new line separate paragraphs. The iOS software keyboard on the 10.5 doesn’t even have it as a default key, and I don’t think it is even available for a text field key in web browsers.
    In the specific use case you mention, hospital software, using a mouse or trackpad would likely slow the user down quite a bit.  Most of that type of software is designed to be used in a standard way, with almost the same "flow" through a screen and through the app itself being used for each instance.  Muscle memory makes using the tab key to navigate such standard flow much faster than moving one's hand to a mouse or track pad just to get to the next field.

    Even a touch screen like an iPad has wouldn't be optimal because it means moving the hand between the screen and keyboard.

    Even now, when I'm designing a form or flow that's intended to be navigated in a certain way, I'll set it up so that the tab key moves between items to support that flow.  Even on a web page. :)

    Of course, most consumers don't need that sort of thing, so a mouse or trackpad is a great benefit.
    As someone who works in a hospital, I can confirm your analysis. When you're entering a form, using tab (or a function key) to move between fields is MUCH more efficient. Mice and trackpads work well for some things but constantly moving your hands from the keyboard to the mouse and back to the keyboard is horribly inefficient and tedious. 

    One other really nice feature in iOS (at least for iPads) is that if you press and hold the command key on the keyboard, the available keyboard shortcuts will show up on the screen. 
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