The launch of a new iPad Pro range keeps pumping our blood – but it's not the updated tablets that we really noticed this year. Although the updated internals and camera module are impressive, Apple's new Magic Keyboard is the most exciting addition to the iPad Pro stall for most people.
With a trackpad and a floating cantilever mechanism, the Magic Keyboard is the most exciting a stunning part of the kit – but is it really worth the much higher price than the more traditional Apple offerings? Well, we're going to compare the new Magic keyboard to Apple's Smart Keyboard Folio and mark the two keyboards in a number of categories. We'll also show if there are options outside of Apple's walled garden that might be worth considering.
The Magic Keyboard is probably the most visually impressive product from Apple, which has been launched this year. It attaches magnetically to the back of the iPad Pro and uses a cantilever mechanism to create a floating effect that hovers the iPad over the backlit keyboard. To say that it is visually impressive is an understatement. The cantilever is adjustable so that you can adapt it to your needs. Thanks to the magnetic attachment, you can attach and detach your iPad quickly and easily. In a premiere for each iPad there is a large trackpad under the keyboard and a separate USB-C port with pass-through charging, so that you can use other accessories at the same time.
In contrast, the Smart Keyboard Folio is a much more traditional affair. It also attaches magnetically to the iPad Pro's pogo pins, but has a lot more to do with more normal keyboard cases. The tablet is located directly behind the backlit keyboard and can be positioned at two angles. The protection of the case extends over the back of the tablet and can be combined into a protective folio – hence the name. Therefore, if you take your iPad out frequently, it's a great option.
The Smart Keyboard Folio has a certain subtle style that we like, but the dazzling design and floating mechanism of the Magic Keyboard win the day.
Winner: Apple Magic Keyboard
But a nice design means nothing if the keyboard keys are mushy. We haven't had a chance to try the new keys on the Magic Keyboard yet, but Apple seems confident that they won't disappoint. Each key rests on a scissor mechanism and has a spring travel of 1 mm. Apple claims that it will offer the best typing experience on the iPad so far.
Apple has a lot to prove when it comes to the iPad keyboard experience because it didn't exactly cover itself with fame. We were generally not fans of Apple's tablet keyboards, and we found that the keyboard of the Smart Keyboard Folio did not have a satisfactory typing experience. While not the worst keyboard, it was far from the best.
Although we are confident that the Magic Keyboard will deliver on Apple's promises, we hate to give it victory before we have had a chance to play with it a bit. This remains a tie – for now.
Apart from the fact that it is a complete keyboard, the special features of the Smart Keyboard Folio are. However, one of the few advantages over other keyboards is the use of the iPad Pro's pogo pins. Since it uses electricity and connects through it, you don't need to charge an external battery or mess around with your Bluetooth settings to get started.
The Magic keyboard offers this advantage and much more. The touchpad is a huge advantage and it would be enough to win the round alone – but then also consider the adjustable cantilever in the equation and it becomes ridiculously one-sided. The Magic Keyboard is Apple's newest and most advanced keyboard and shows it.
Winner: Apple Magic Keyboard
Price and Availability
The Magic Keyboard is certainly impressive – but the admission price is steep. The Magic keyboard for the iPad Pro 12.9-inch brings you an incredible $ 349 back and works with the iPad Pro 12.9 of the fourth and third generation – these are the models 2020 and 2018. The 11-inch iPad Pro Version is cheaper, but only marginal, and still costs $ 299. It works with both versions of the iPad Pro 11-inch. It is also only available in May.
The Smart Keyboard Folio is available now and has the advantage that it is much cheaper than the Magic Keyboard. The 11-inch version costs $ 179, while the 12.9-inch version costs $ 199 instead. The Smart Keyboard Folio works with the iPad Pro models 2020 and 2018.
Winner: Smart Keyboard Folio
The Apple Magic Keyboard is a clear winner, but is there a cheaper alternative?  Even though we haven't had a lot of opportunity to play with it yet, it's stunningly clear due to its stunning design, new trackpad, and adjustable mechanism that the Apple Magic Keyboard will be the iPad Pro keyboard it does in this one Year to beat – and that also leaves the Smart Keyboard Folio in the dust. The only reason to buy the Smart Keyboard Folio is that you have to spend $ 300 on a keyboard.
But if that describes you, keep in mind that there are other options outside of the Apple Store. Brydge must be one of our top favorites when looking for iPad keyboard cases, and it didn't waste time developing the Brydge Pro Plus. Brydge's unique attachment doesn't use a fancy floating mechanism, but it makes your iPad Pro look more like a MacBook with a machined aluminum keyboard. It also has a trackpad, backlit buttons, and a three-month battery life. It can currently be pre-ordered. The release is expected in mid-April. It costs $ 230 for the iPad Pro 12.9 and $ 200 for the iPad Pro 11.