Watching friends and reviewers get their new Magic Keyboards in the mail all week was brutal, because every word I read about them, and video I watched just made me want to touch one more. In the time of quarantine, there’s no store to visit to try new products out, so instead we’re left waiting for delivery, and hoping everything lives up to our dreams.
In a sentence: this is my new favorite keyboard.
My first thought when I took the Magic Keyboard package out of the mailbox was, “yow, this is heavy.” After taking the keyboard out of its packaging, the heft remained, but once I attached my iPad to it and started typing, I forgot all about the weight. Sure, this will be a bit heavier for travel, but the modularity is worth it for me. I can’t wait to type on this while traveling, then pull the iPad off the keyboard to carry around for reading in a park, or watching a tv show. It makes me wish it were possible to pull the screen off of my work computer and walk around with it too!
Ever since getting the Smart Keyboard, my iPad basically never left it. I carried my iPad around daily, fingers pressed into the keys awkwardly on the back of the screen. The previous keyboard for the iPad was also super strange in its own way, but looking back, having a primary iPad case expose you to the keyboard buttons constantly when all you want to do is read is so silly. This new Magic Keyboard makes no concessions to using it while not typing. The ease of removing the iPad from the keyboard (I’m almost tempted to call it a dock) is such that I don’t even think about taking my iPad with me to another room, sans keyboard. This mode-changing makes the iPad feel even more futuristic than it did before, especially because my hands are only now becoming accustomed to the thin, metallic body of the iPad, instead of the strange rubber skin of the keyboard case its lived in up until now.
So, what’s the keyboard actually like to type on?
Unlike most folks, I really enjoyed both the butterfly keyboard in my MacBook, and the cloth-covered one on the Smart Keyboard. I enjoyed the short-travel, and the weird texture, but the feel and thunk of this new keyboard is even better. I don’t really care about the backlighting, and I’m a little bit more concerned about the gaps that invite in stray drops of water, but as I mentioned above, I don’t plan to carry this with me all the time, so it’s more likely I’ll have a glass of wine sans non-waterproof keyboard, and keep drinks away when I plan to type.
I typed this review on the new keyboard, and the experience was absolutely fantastic. The new trackpad is small, but the ability to quickly laser-target my edits is a delight. No longer do I have to tap, stab, tap tap, arrow, arrow, arrow. I can just point, and click, and voila. When I’m not at work, I more or less only use my iPad, and this new keyboard means the typing I do will be faster, feel better, and even sound more pleasingly thunky.
Do you type on your iPad? Do you want to? Have you been tempted to plug your iPad into a monitor and use a Bluetooth trackpad? Do you love writing on the go?
If so, then this is probably the right keyboard for you. If you only occasionally reach for your iPad to watch YouTube videos, or are the kind of person who thinks traveling with an iPad and a MacBook is totally acceptable, then save your $300. In the same way that I’ve never purchased an Apple Pencil, many iPad users will never purchase this keyboard, and I think that’s totally fine. But the folks that do buy one, and get to experience the entirely wonderful experience of typing and editing will be incredibly satisfied, I think.