In Praise of Apple’s Unmagical Smart Keyboard Folio

Yours truly, yesterday:

In an ideal world, all 11-ish-inch iPads would support the same keyboard accessories. But here we are, with the new 10th-gen iPad only supporting the new Magic Keyboard Folio and the iPad Pro and iPad Air only supporting the Magic Keyboard. (Those latter two iPads also support the no-trackpad Smart Keyboard Folio, but I honestly have no idea who buys that thing other than people who’ve never tried iPadOS with a trackpad and thus have no idea how fun and useful it is.)

I’ve heard from a few friends who swear by the Smart Keyboard Folio already. Said one: “It’s about weight and ruggedness.” Said another: “This may come as a shock, but I use my daily driver iPad Pro 12.9-inch with a Smart Keyboard Folio. It’s lighter. I also have Magic Keyboards but my go to is the Folio.”

For the 12.9-inch models, the Smart Keyboard Folio weighs 407g; the Magic Keyboard 710g. 300 grams is two-thirds of a pound — a notable difference.

Another comment, from the first friend quoted above: “I think Magic Keyboard makes it more MacBook-like, Keyboard Folio is more iPad-esque.” I agree — and it explains my strong preference for the Magic Keyboard, extra weight be damned. It’s certainly easier to rotate the iPad to portrait — for, say, marking up a document with a Pencil — while it’s in a Keyboard Folio than a Magic Keyboard — if only because the keyboard half can be folded behind the iPad like that of a non-keyboard cover.

Saturday, 22 October 2022