Should you buy the new iPad Pro Magic Keyboard?

The new iPad Pro Magic Keyboard. You know you wanted it as soon as you saw it. That trackpad is calling your name. Plus, if you're an Apple nerd, you always want whatever new device or accessory they release. But it's twice as much as the Smart Keyboard, and that's already a chunk of change. No one ever said your love of Apple was going to come cheap. But should you drop the money on the new Magic Keyboard?

Should you buy the new iPad Pro Magic Keyboard?
The new iPad Pro Magic Keyboard Review / Credits: Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

I’m about as Apple as it gets. And I have it all. Desktop, MacBook Pro, iPhone XS Max, 12.9″ iPad Pro with Smart Keyboard, Apple Pencil, Apple Watch, an AirPort, a Time Capsule, Apple TV … I’m pretty Apple’d out. And I love it. I love how seamless it all is. I even got my husband on the Apple train when I met him, and he’s moved from an Android smartphone to an iPhone, from a Dell laptop to a MacBook. He even got his own iPad and Apple Watch. He won’t give up his custom-built Alienware desktop PC, but that’s fine.

When I saw the new iPad Pro Magic Keyboard, I practically drooled.

new iPad Pro Magic Keyboard / Credits: MacWorld

Mew iPad Pro Magic Keyboard in Use / Credits: MacWorld

I love my Smart Keyboard, and it makes it so much easier to use my iPad Pro when I’m working off of my iPad in the coffee shop or when I’m traveling. Not that I’m doing either of those things right now. Thanks, ‘rona. But as much as I love my Smart Keyboard, I wish it were better. I’ve always lamented not having a back cover, but I bought it before the Smart Keyboard Folio came out. I’m just careful with the iPad and put it in a soft case or the computer sleeve in my bag. It’s fine.

But this new Magic Keyboard? That’s a different story.

How is the Magic Keyboard different from the Smart Keyboard?

A trackpad. A trackpad for your iPad. What could be better? I’m pretty all-in about this. Using your iPad Pro on the go would be lightyears easier with a trackpad. Not to mention all the fingerprints and smudges you’ll avoid. Yes, it’s a first-world problem, but there are little things that are bothersome when you’re working on your iPad. Like moving from typing to touching the screen. With a trackpad, you’d be able to use your iPad just like you can your MacBook. How much easier would that be? Honestly, it’s the little things that make the most difference.

iPad Pro Magic Keyboard

iPad Pro Magic Keyboard Outside

The Magic Keyboard has more features

If you’re going from a Smart Keyboard Folio, the added back protection isn’t a new thing for you. But if you’re moving from a Smart Keyboard to a Magic Keyboard that’s going to be a fantastic new feature. At least, it’s a big improvement and solves a problem for me.

The Magic Keyboard also features a USB-C port that allows passthrough charging. Sign me up. That leaves the iPad port free for other accessories. You know what I’ll be using that USB-C port on? Charging my Apple Pencil. Because it’s always out of juice at the wrong moment. Though I have a fantastic carrying/charging/accessory case for my Apple Pencil that I’m in love with. Seriously, if you have an Apple Pencil and you don’t have this case, you’re missing out.

Check out the floating design

One of the things I love most about the Magic Keyboard—other than the trackpad, of course—is the floating cantilever design. With the Smart Keyboard and the Smart Keyboard Folio, you don’t have a choice of viewing angle. It just is was it is. But the Magic Keyboard changes that. The iPad attaches magnetically to the Magic Keyboard, and you can adjust the viewing angle. Right now, if there’s a glare on the screen, I have to reposition myself rather than just tilting the screen a little bit like I do with my MacBook.

The keyboard itself is great too

One of the things I love about everything I have being Apple is uniformity. I love that I can go from typing on my desktop keyboard to my MacBook keyboard to my iPad Smart Keyboard and the keys are all the same. I don’t have to adjust my typing for a keyboard that’s smaller or bigger, and muscle memory can pretty much take care of it all.

The Magic Keyboard is upgraded from the Smart Keyboard and features backlit keys and a scissor mechanism with only one mm of travel. When I’m working in places that might be a little dimmer, I love the backlights. Do I need them? No. I just like the way they look.

new iPad Pro Magic Keyboard / Credits: MKBHD

The new iPad Pro Magic Keyboard / Credits: MKBHD

So, do you need to buy a new iPad Pro Magic Keyboard?

Short answer? Yes and no.

I desperately want the upgraded keyboard. And I talked to my husband at length about it last week as I was trying to make the decision. I mostly use my iPad Pro keyboard when I’m traveling. Or when I’m working in a coffee shop and don’t want to take my laptop with me and just want to travel light. Right now, I’m not doing either of those things. Again I say, thanks, ‘rona.

The new iPad Pro Magic Keyboard Review / Credits: MKBHD

The new iPad Pro Magic Keyboard Review / Credits: MKBHD

Plus, I have a 12.9″ iPad Pro, which means a $349 price tag. The 11″ is $299. I’ve already spent $150 on a Smart Keyboard. And we have only one iPad Pro, which means the Smart Keyboard is just going to be $150 sitting on a shelf in my office. Ultimately, I decided the price tag was just too much for me to spend at this moment. Especially since I want to upgrade my Apple Watch from the 2nd generation one I currently have.

However, if you have multiple iPad Pros, are getting a new one, or have the money to spend, yes. Get it. One hundred percent. Because as soon as I feel more comfortable going back to my regular spending habits—after furloughs and pandemics and coronavirus subside—and I’m traveling again, I’ll likely drop the money to get the new Magic Keyboard.

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Tera has worked in the publishing industry since 2004 and considers the written word her first love. When she's not writing or editing, she's usually traveling, knitting, or binge-watching Netflix.
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