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Hands-On With Apple's New Smart Keyboard Folio for the 2020 iPad Pro Models

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Apple last week introduced new 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, which are set to arrive in the hands of customers starting this week. Apple introduced a nifty new Magic Keyboard with trackpad alongside the new iPad Pro models that's coming in May, but it also debuted a new Smart Keyboard Folio, which is available now.

We picked up the Smart Keyboard Folio for the designed for the 2020 iPad Pro models and compared it to the Smart Keyboard Folio that was released alongside the 2018 iPad Pro models to see if there are any notable differences.


Design wise, the two keyboard are close to identical, but the new model is slightly darker in color, though it's still a dark gray shade. The material on the outside feels the same, but there is one major exterior difference - an Apple logo. The new Smart Keyboard Folio is outfitted with an Apple logo, which the original did not have.

There's also a square-shaped camera cutout instead of the vertical camera cutout of the prior model, which allows it to accommodate the new square-shaped camera bump on the new iPad Pro models.

Apple's 2020 iPad Pro models feature a dual-lens camera setup with wide-angle and ultra wide-angle lenses along with a new LiDAR Scanner that's designed to scan the area around you for all-new augmented reality experiences.

When it comes to the keyboard and the typing experience, there's no change. The keys are shallow with little travel and have a fabric-like texture that's meant to be waterproof and spill proof. It's not the greatest typing experience, but it's passable.

The new Smart Keyboard Folio replaces the prior model and it is designed to work with both 2018 and 2020 iPad Pro models. On 2018 iPad Pro models, the camera cutout will be larger than necessary, but it fits both. Apple is no longer selling the version with the vertical camera cutout.

Apple in May will release the new Magic Keyboard, which is equipped with scissor switch keys with 1mm of travel and backlighting, making the new keyboard more similar to a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro keyboard.

The Smart Keyboard Folio is priced starting at $179 for the 11-inch version and $199 for the 12.9-inch version, which is a good deal cheaper than the $299/$349 asking prices for the new Magic Keyboard options.

Article Link: Hands-On With Apple's New Smart Keyboard Folio for the 2020 iPad Pro Models
 

jedy

Cancelled
Jan 16, 2011
26
22
This iPad is being touted by some reviews as a laptop replacement. Unfortunately it still only runs mobile versions of popular programs, if a mobile version exists at all. Until it can run full programs like Capture One, it won’t be a complete laptop replacement for everyone.
 
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mi7chy

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2014
6,852
7,839
Anyone remember the disk notcher? Someone should come out with a keyboard folio notcher.

 
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Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
34,956
36,891
Having a backlit keyboard would be pretty nice. However I'm in Canada, and the new magic keyboard is $450, so that's not happening ;)

Yes please. In darker environments, What I find some others tend to do, is they increase the brightness on the iPad, so the light shadows the keyboard from the increased brightness to see keys better, but on the flip-side, then your eyes strain harder. Having a backlit keyboard would be awesome, But probably not likely from Apple.
 
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Soccerrick10

macrumors newbie
Jan 28, 2019
25
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“But probably not likely from Apple”

Have you seen the latest product introductions? Due to arrive in May. A little pricey, but I can’t wait...
 
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Patriks7

macrumors 65816
Oct 26, 2008
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Vienna
This iPad is being touted by some reviews as a laptop replacement. Unfortunately it still only runs mobile versions of popular programs, if a mobile version exists at all. Until it can run full programs like Capture One, it won’t be a complete laptop replacement for everyone.
I don’t think anybody is calling it a replacement for everyone. But as it stands, it is more than capable for the computing needs of a big majority of people.
 
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Saturnine

macrumors 65816
Oct 23, 2005
1,128
1,255
Manchester, UK
I lost my iPad and keyboard folio at the airport last week.

I’ve replaced the iPad but decided to wait for the new keyboard before purchasing.

Call me picky but I’m surprised a company like Apple (with their design ethic) couldn’t come up with a more elegant solution for the camera gap when using the new keyboards with a 2018 iPad Pro - perhaps a little removable insert.
 
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FightTheFuture

macrumors 65816
Oct 19, 2003
1,417
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that town east of ann arbor
Gotta always remember that they want you to buy both a laptop AND iPad. The iPad was never supposed to completely do away with the need for a laptop. It will always be gimped in one way or another.
Why do you say that? iPad outsells Mac and even PCs by a large margin. This is like the iPhone and iPod. Apple would rather fully support iPad over Mac no matter what it takes, even if it risks cannibalization.
 
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Works4Me

macrumors regular
Aug 29, 2007
216
320
Canada
I'm really hoping Zagg or some company come up with a still reasonably thin but less expensive solution with a built in trackpad. Not a fan of Brydge's, just for the size
 
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GDF

macrumors 6502a
Jun 7, 2010
756
436
Hopefully, they made it so it lasts a lot longer than the last version. That one was junk for the 11 Pro. Wears out quickly.
 
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fbr$

macrumors 6502
Feb 6, 2020
286
456
Funny that, if the iPad was a replacement for a Mac, nobody would buy a Mac, then nobody would be able to use Xcode to write apps for iPad, then the iPad (with no apps!) could not be a replacement for a Mac...
 
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The Cappy

macrumors 6502
Nov 9, 2015
365
636
Dunwich Fish Market
When it comes to the keyboard and the typing experience, there's no change. The keys are shallow with little travel and have a fabric-like texture that's meant to be waterproof and spill proof. It's not the greatest typing experience, but it's passable.
Interesting that you'd say that. By a wide margin I prefer typing on that to the feel of my 2016 MBP.
 
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jedy123

macrumors newbie
Feb 10, 2016
4
4
I don’t think anybody is calling it a replacement for everyone. But as it stands, it is more than capable for the computing needs of a big majority of people.
Wired certainly seem to think it’s better than a laptop and Apple are certainly trying to sell it as a laptop. They fail to address the issue that iOS is nowhere near as sophisticated as OSX and doesn’t run the same software.
 
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SurferPup

macrumors regular
Aug 20, 2011
196
102
Sunshine Coast, 🇦🇺 Australia
I'm hanging out for the new  Magic Keyboard although cost of AUD553 is kinda exorbitant, $400 was my ceiling price point.  Magic Mouse 2 works with 2018 iPad Pro after iPadOS 13.4 upgrade. Secondary left/right clicking enabled, natural scrolling disabled and increasing tracking speed just like customising mouse settings on a MBP. Carrying a mouse around with an iPad is impractical and more susceptible breaking. With a track pad built into the keyboard will be more second nature in operation.
 

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notabadname

macrumors 65816
Jan 4, 2010
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Wired certainly seem to think it’s better than a laptop and Apple are certainly trying to sell it as a laptop. They fail to address the issue that iOS is nowhere near as sophisticated as OSX and doesn’t run the same software.
A lot of people don’t need “sophisticated” software. When I am working in Excel, I really don’t care about the software being “sophisticated” in the background. And I am happy the not-so-sophisticated software doesn’t slow my iPad down. I am happy to have a relatively simple interface to select the software/App I need. Once I am within my App, don’t really care about the OS. I have done a lot with Photoshop on the iPad, and it will only expand. I have made numerous videos effortlessly in iMovie for my work. Less and less to I need my MBP. And when I use it, the stuff I work on was frequently started on my iPad, and just saved to the cloud. And I can work on a 32 inch monitor when in my office with my MBP when needed. But more and more, I find I can get my work done on the iPad. Simply countless Apps available and I rarely travel with the MBP. The iPad has become a true road warrior. So easy to travel with.
 
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bobob

macrumors 68040
Jan 11, 2008
3,255
2,172
Having a backlit keyboard would be pretty nice. However I'm in Canada, and the new magic keyboard is $450, so that's not happening ;)
Why do people think that quoting the price in foreign currency strengthens their argument?

Yes, the Magic Keyboard's price is high compared to less functional options, but it still costs $299 USD.

But if you really want to go whole hog, why not quote the price in Japanese Yen: OMG it costs 31,800!!!!!!!!
 
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Jury

macrumors 6502
Jan 13, 2020
292
64
The 2020 Apple iPad magic keyboard isn't just bad with lack of function key, the trackpad vertical length is a lot smaller and costs more than $300
 
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aknabi

macrumors regular
Jul 4, 2011
210
255
Why do you say that? iPad outsells Mac and even PCs by a large margin. This is like the iPhone and iPod. Apple would rather fully support iPad over Mac no matter what it takes, even if it risks cannibalization.

Yeah, because unlike a Mac which 2 people can share and create accounts for, that's still not possible with the iPad... not to mention you can't say run Xcode (which even runs on my also gimped 2015 12" MacBook).

But to clarify... iPadOS is gimped... the iPad is a technical marvel.
 
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MacFan23

macrumors 6502
Feb 17, 2010
389
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Wired certainly seem to think it’s better than a laptop and Apple are certainly trying to sell it as a laptop. They fail to address the issue that iOS is nowhere near as sophisticated as OSX and doesn’t run the same software.

“The iPad is not trying to replace existing laptops, it is trying to be a new kind of laptop. The trouble is it has taken ten years to get here. If only Apple would pick up the pace a little.”
 
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