'X-ray teardown' of iPad Pro Magic Keyboard illustrates complex engineering

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 2020
Repair site iFixit has shared x-ray photographs of the new Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro, and they reveal an accessory more complicated than it might appear from the outside.

The inside of the Magic Keyboard with trackpad, seen via x-ray. Credit: iFixit
The inside of the Magic Keyboard with trackpad, seen via x-ray. Credit: iFixit


Because of coronavirus lockdowns and social distancing, iFixit hasn't been able to complete its teardown of the new Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro as of yet. Instead, the company has settled for an "x-ray teardown" in partnership with Creative Electron.

The x-ray shots, shared by iFixit on Thursday, show that there's a lot more to the keyboard cover under the hood than one can tell at first glance.

"There is so much going on here, you might never guess that this is technically an accessory to the actual iPad Pro," iFixit wrote, adding that "rarely have we had so much to think about from a single image."

For one, the x-ray images clearly show a switch to a scissor-based keyboard, which iFixit says is the "least complicated" change but "probably the biggest improvement."

The trackpad appears to be a new design, and one that's different from MacBook variants. This trackpad actually features what appear to be physical buttons. Next to the trackpad are two large metal plates that may be reinforcements.

Moving up the Magic Keyboard, iFixit's images show at least two spring-loaded hinge designs, which are part of the sophisticated "floating" mechanism that sets the accessory apart from other products.

Other interesting tidbits include separated cable routes, which could ease hinge tension on the cables, and a mass of tiny magnets near the camera cutout.

The new Magic Keyboard with Trackpad accessory starts at $299 for the 11-inch model and $349 for the 12.9-inch model. They're compatible with both the 2020 iPad Pro and the previous 2018 generation.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 609member
    The big metal blocks to the sides of the trackpad aren't reinforcement, they're weights. Just metal slugs to affect the balance so the much-heavier iPad mounted on the top doesn't make the whole thing tip over.
    firelockrandominternetpersongutengelCesar Battistini Mazieroheadfull0winefastasleepF_Kent_DGeorgeBMacStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 20
    cg27cg27 Posts: 172member
    Perhaps a future iteration will offer batteries instead of slugs for more uptime, call it Pro and charge $99 more.
    razorpitpscooter63macapfelwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 20
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    I remember people complaining about the price.

    I suppose that their complaints were based on extreme ignorance combined with a healthy dose of self entitlement and just general cluelessness, which is nothing new when it comes to comments about Apple products and especially the pricing.

    The x-ray shows that the Apple Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro is unlike any other offering on the market. If anybody thinks it's the same, then they should go buy one of the cheaper alternatives instead.

    If you want the best, it's going to cost more than the others. There's a reason that it's the best. I haven't tried this magic keyboard yet, but I think it's pretty safe to assume that the feel, quality and usability will be way better than anything else out there.



    edited May 2020 MisterKitjmgregory1lolliverjahbladeF_Kent_DRayz2016el_capitan_morganStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 20
    peterhartpeterhart Posts: 145member
    The photo is backwards, unless it was taken from underneath or the the keyboard flipped over. At any rate, I myself have been curious as to why a teardown hasn’t been done yet...the hinge is a marvel, in my opinion. I’d love to see details of the inner workings in the future if they get the chance. Had mine for about 2 weeks and I love using it. 
    lolliverF_Kent_Dwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 20
    bluefire1bluefire1 Posts: 1,226member
    I bought it for my 2020 iPad Pro and it’s a phenomenal combination. I’m already using my MacBook Pro much less. 
    peterhartlolliverright_said_fredwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 20
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,679member
    apple ][ said:
    I remember people complaining about the price.

    I suppose that their complaints were based on extreme ignorance combined with a healthy dose of self entitlement and just general cluelessness, which is nothing new when it comes to comments about Apple products and especially the pricing.

    The x-ray shows that the Apple Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro is unlike any other offering on the market. If anybody thinks it's the same, then they should go buy one of the cheaper alternatives instead.

    If you want the best, it's going to cost more than the others. There's a reason that it's the best. I haven't tried this magic keyboard yet, but I think it's pretty safe to assume that the feel, quality and usability will be way better than anything else out there.

    The two issues are separate and irrelevant to each other. I've seen no one claim the magic keyboard was a poor device, but just because it's a complicated design doesn't mean it's not too expensive. 

    Let me take it to the extreme - suppose it was $1000. Would it still be worth it? It's a complicated device, and the best, so obviously it should be worth $1000, right?


    minicoffeerazorpitchemengin1
  • Reply 7 of 20
    tex210tex210 Posts: 15member
    Over engineered means higher price.  Personally I’m on the low end.
    pscooter63
  • Reply 8 of 20
    MisterKitMisterKit Posts: 454member
    It’s a fair price for a quality piece of equipment. Simple.
    lolliverStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 20
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,201member
    MplsP said:
    apple ][ said:
    I remember people complaining about the price.

    I suppose that their complaints were based on extreme ignorance combined with a healthy dose of self entitlement and just general cluelessness, which is nothing new when it comes to comments about Apple products and especially the pricing.

    The x-ray shows that the Apple Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro is unlike any other offering on the market. If anybody thinks it's the same, then they should go buy one of the cheaper alternatives instead.

    If you want the best, it's going to cost more than the others. There's a reason that it's the best. I haven't tried this magic keyboard yet, but I think it's pretty safe to assume that the feel, quality and usability will be way better than anything else out there.

    The two issues are separate and irrelevant to each other. I've seen no one claim the magic keyboard was a poor device, but just because it's a complicated design doesn't mean it's not too expensive. 

    Let me take it to the extreme - suppose it was $1000. Would it still be worth it? It's a complicated device, and the best, so obviously it should be worth $1000, right?


    Total straw-man argument. Anything at some price point isn’t worth the price. The most economical item is overpriced is if someone doesn’t have the money. The question, and the point apple][ was making was that those that said it was just an overpriced keyboard with a fancy stand were wrong. There is a lot more to this. If they want a $50 keyboard for their iPad, fine. More power too them. But, and there were many posts in this vein, that were saying that this was overpriced because they could buy a $50 keyboard, or a $150 keyboard case were not comparing like items. This is a lot more high tech. Maybe it’s out of their price range. Fine. But for me I learned a number of things from this article that makes me think it is worth more than apparently similar items from Brydge or Logitech.
    randominternetpersontobianlolliverjahbladepscooter6313485kurai_kageStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 20
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,387member
    My Smart Keyboard for my iPad Pro lasted about 14 months.  In Other words, it failed just outside of warranty.

      At $169, it was a big waste of money.  

    I used it. I liked it. But it died like many out there.  

    I hope this new keypad is more reliable. 
  • Reply 11 of 20
    jmgregory1jmgregory1 Posts: 474member
    DAalseth said:
    MplsP said:
    apple ][ said:
    I remember people complaining about the price.

    I suppose that their complaints were based on extreme ignorance combined with a healthy dose of self entitlement and just general cluelessness, which is nothing new when it comes to comments about Apple products and especially the pricing.

    The x-ray shows that the Apple Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro is unlike any other offering on the market. If anybody thinks it's the same, then they should go buy one of the cheaper alternatives instead.

    If you want the best, it's going to cost more than the others. There's a reason that it's the best. I haven't tried this magic keyboard yet, but I think it's pretty safe to assume that the feel, quality and usability will be way better than anything else out there.

    The two issues are separate and irrelevant to each other. I've seen no one claim the magic keyboard was a poor device, but just because it's a complicated design doesn't mean it's not too expensive. 

    Let me take it to the extreme - suppose it was $1000. Would it still be worth it? It's a complicated device, and the best, so obviously it should be worth $1000, right?


    Total straw-man argument. Anything at some price point isn’t worth the price. The most economical item is overpriced is if someone doesn’t have the money. The question, and the point apple][ was making was that those that said it was just an overpriced keyboard with a fancy stand were wrong. There is a lot more to this. If they want a $50 keyboard for their iPad, fine. More power too them. But, and there were many posts in this vein, that were saying that this was overpriced because they could buy a $50 keyboard, or a $150 keyboard case were not comparing like items. This is a lot more high tech. Maybe it’s out of their price range. Fine. But for me I learned a number of things from this article that makes me think it is worth more than apparently similar items from Brydge or Logitech.
    I agree completely with you, but I would add that for some people, the perception of high price wasn’t just that they could get something cheaper from another manufacturer, but rather Apple’s own other products, like the MacBook Air or 13” MBP can be had for less (than the iPad Pro 12.9” plus Magic Keyboard), if you’re simply looking at comparing them as laptop to laptop-like devices.

    I’ve been using my iPad Pro 12.9” since I got it back in January of 2019, with the Keyboard Folio, traveling with it as my primary computer-like device - in lieu of lugging my 15” rMBP around with me.  I’ve liked using it, but it wasn’t efficient for working on spreadsheets, given the back and forth I was doing between typing and having to touch the keyboard.  

    The new IPadOS with its trackpad support was such a significant improvement, it has me using the iPad Pro almost exclusively now, even as I have been working from my desk and not traveling.  I was one of those who was on Apple’s Store App clicking to refresh when they said the Magic Keyboard was launching, but ended up deciding that I could wait, since I’m not traveling now.  I’m actually using an old Apple Keyboard and new Magic Trackpad 2 (gray to match my iPad Pro) while the iPad sits on custom black acrylic stand I developed WAY back when the initial iPad launched.  I love the large sized trackpad, so it does worry me a bit that going down the very small sized trackpad on the Magic Keyboard will feel limiting.

    I’ll definitely buy the new Magic Keyboard once I’m back on the road again, but for now my setup is working great as is.

    headfull0winelolliverMplsPwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 20
    laytechlaytech Posts: 260member
    I'd like to think it was more than just a keyboard with a few wires and magnets for the $590 the 12' model costs in Australia.
    MplsPprismatics
  • Reply 13 of 20
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,679member
    DAalseth said:
    MplsP said:
    apple ][ said:
    I remember people complaining about the price.

    I suppose that their complaints were based on extreme ignorance combined with a healthy dose of self entitlement and just general cluelessness, which is nothing new when it comes to comments about Apple products and especially the pricing.

    The x-ray shows that the Apple Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro is unlike any other offering on the market. If anybody thinks it's the same, then they should go buy one of the cheaper alternatives instead.

    If you want the best, it's going to cost more than the others. There's a reason that it's the best. I haven't tried this magic keyboard yet, but I think it's pretty safe to assume that the feel, quality and usability will be way better than anything else out there.

    The two issues are separate and irrelevant to each other. I've seen no one claim the magic keyboard was a poor device, but just because it's a complicated design doesn't mean it's not too expensive. 

    Let me take it to the extreme - suppose it was $1000. Would it still be worth it? It's a complicated device, and the best, so obviously it should be worth $1000, right?


    Total straw-man argument. Anything at some price point isn’t worth the price. The most economical item is overpriced is if someone doesn’t have the money. The question, and the point apple][ was making was that those that said it was just an overpriced keyboard with a fancy stand were wrong. There is a lot more to this. If they want a $50 keyboard for their iPad, fine. More power too them. But, and there were many posts in this vein, that were saying that this was overpriced because they could buy a $50 keyboard, or a $150 keyboard case were not comparing like items. This is a lot more high tech. Maybe it’s out of their price range. Fine. But for me I learned a number of things from this article that makes me think it is worth more than apparently similar items from Brydge or Logitech.
    Completely agree, but fundamentally this is a combination keyboard, trackpad and stand/folio and that is how it should be judged. Apple ][ seemed to claim that because Apple spent a ton of money engineering the device that alone justified the price. The amount of engineering involved doesn't automatically mean it's worth more or change what it is. If Apple uses excessive tech to accomplish the same thing that others do with less, should we pay more just because there's more tech? Say Logitech came out with a product that did everything just as well but with less technology. Does that automatically mean they should charge less?
  • Reply 14 of 20
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,146member
    laytech said:
    I'd like to think it was more than just a keyboard with a few wires and magnets for the $590 the 12' model costs in Australia.
    Sure looks like more than that to me.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 20
    bluefire1 said:
    I bought it for my 2020 iPad Pro and it’s a phenomenal combination. I’m already using my MacBook Pro much less. 
    Same here.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 20
    banditobbanditob Posts: 10member
    eriamjh said:
    My Smart Keyboard for my iPad Pro lasted about 14 months.  In Other words, it failed just outside of warranty.

      At $169, it was a big waste of money.  

    I used it. I liked it. But it died like many out there.  

    I hope this new keypad is more reliable. 
    With Apple, I’m never afraid to take something that’s reasonably close to its warranty period in for repair. They are usually amenable to still fixing it, as long as it is an actual component failure. Additionally, with the Smart Keyboard they did have some early failures so there may be one of their non-public replacement programs available for it. At any rate, my experiences with Apple taking care of me and going the extra mile have always been good and are one (of the many) reasons that I stick with Apple products. Just remember, “It never hurts to ask!“ and if you go in without attitude and ask nicely, you just may get a delightful surprise.
    edited May 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 20
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    MplsP said:
    apple ][ said:
    I remember people complaining about the price.

    I suppose that their complaints were based on extreme ignorance combined with a healthy dose of self entitlement and just general cluelessness, which is nothing new when it comes to comments about Apple products and especially the pricing.

    The x-ray shows that the Apple Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro is unlike any other offering on the market. If anybody thinks it's the same, then they should go buy one of the cheaper alternatives instead.

    If you want the best, it's going to cost more than the others. There's a reason that it's the best. I haven't tried this magic keyboard yet, but I think it's pretty safe to assume that the feel, quality and usability will be way better than anything else out there.

    The two issues are separate and irrelevant to each other. I've seen no one claim the magic keyboard was a poor device, but just because it's a complicated design doesn't mean it's not too expensive. 

    Let me take it to the extreme - suppose it was $1000. Would it still be worth it? It's a complicated device, and the best, so obviously it should be worth $1000, right?


    But it isn’t a $1000, so what’s your point?

    If it’s too expensive then they won’t sell any. 

    Folk around here think that their unwillingness to pay for a product automatically equates to a problem with the product. 

    I won’t pay for a Lamborghini, but weirdly, I seem to be mature enough to take responsibility for that decision. 
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 20
    Just got mine, and it’s fantastic. For those saying “for the price of this and an iPad pro you could get a MacBook instead” the point is that I already have the iPad Pro so why would I need the MacBook? It’s an expensive accessory that, for me, makes the iPad so much better as a 2 in 1 device. In my mind, it’s worth it’s cost more so than a $170 CAD pencil.
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 20
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,205member
    tex210 said:
    Over engineered means higher price.  Personally I’m on the low end.
    It's not over-engineered. It achieves things competing products don't. In use it's simple and rewarding. The reviews have been solid. That doesn't mean your needs warrant it, but it certainly doesn't mean there's an issue or failing with the product such as "But it's over-engineered!"
    edited May 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 20
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,205member

    MplsP said:
    DAalseth said:
    MplsP said:
    apple ][ said:
    I remember people complaining about the price.

    I suppose that their complaints were based on extreme ignorance combined with a healthy dose of self entitlement and just general cluelessness, which is nothing new when it comes to comments about Apple products and especially the pricing.

    The x-ray shows that the Apple Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro is unlike any other offering on the market. If anybody thinks it's the same, then they should go buy one of the cheaper alternatives instead.

    If you want the best, it's going to cost more than the others. There's a reason that it's the best. I haven't tried this magic keyboard yet, but I think it's pretty safe to assume that the feel, quality and usability will be way better than anything else out there.

    The two issues are separate and irrelevant to each other. I've seen no one claim the magic keyboard was a poor device, but just because it's a complicated design doesn't mean it's not too expensive. 

    Let me take it to the extreme - suppose it was $1000. Would it still be worth it? It's a complicated device, and the best, so obviously it should be worth $1000, right?


    Total straw-man argument. Anything at some price point isn’t worth the price. The most economical item is overpriced is if someone doesn’t have the money. The question, and the point apple][ was making was that those that said it was just an overpriced keyboard with a fancy stand were wrong. There is a lot more to this. If they want a $50 keyboard for their iPad, fine. More power too them. But, and there were many posts in this vein, that were saying that this was overpriced because they could buy a $50 keyboard, or a $150 keyboard case were not comparing like items. This is a lot more high tech. Maybe it’s out of their price range. Fine. But for me I learned a number of things from this article that makes me think it is worth more than apparently similar items from Brydge or Logitech.
    Completely agree, but fundamentally this is a combination keyboard, trackpad and stand/folio and that is how it should be judged. Apple ][ seemed to claim that because Apple spent a ton of money engineering the device that alone justified the price. The amount of engineering involved doesn't automatically mean it's worth more or change what it is. If Apple uses excessive tech to accomplish the same thing that others do with less, should we pay more just because there's more tech? Say Logitech came out with a product that did everything just as well but with less technology. Does that automatically mean they should charge less?
    Fundamentally a car is a wagon, a combination of 4 wheels and cargo space, and that is how it should be judged. -- just doesn't make sense, does it?

    When Logitech comes out with a product that meets the same use cases, in an equal-quality fashion, but for less money, let us know. So far, they haven't, despite having a years-long head start when the 2018 was released. Either it can't be done, or they needed Apple to spend the R&D to show how it's done first in order to copy it. 
    watto_cobra
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