An onscreen keyboard is sufficient for the casual typing such as writing a short tweet or SMS. For more serious writing, a physical keyboard is paramount.
At the time of writing, there are only two keyboard options available for the iPad Pro 10.5 that utilise the iPad Pro’s smart connector – Apple’s Smart Keyboard and Logitech’s ‘not-so’ slim combo.
Due to the bulky and extra weight of the Logitech option, I opted for Apple’s offering.
From a distance, the ‘new’ Apple Smart Keyboard for the iPad Pro 10.5 looks identical to its predecessor – the Smart Keyboard for iPad Pro 9.7.
Closer inspection will tell you the 10.5 is slightly bigger in both the overall size and size of the keys. But in my honest opinion, the keys are still not big enough.
Although I had a play with a Smart Keyboard at the local Apple store. It was not until I tried to do some actual work with one that the flaws of the Smart Keyboard became apparent.
The Smart Keyboard suffers from all the issues I experienced with the first two generations of the Microsoft’s Surface Keyboards:
- The keys feel compressed and unnatural to type on.
- There is only one angle in which the keyboard can be used – sitting flat on a desk that is of the right height. This means no typing on the bed, couch, and pretty much anywhere the iPad would normally feel at home.
Finally, when used as a portrait stand, it requires a solid and flat surface. And due to the iPad being at an almost 90-degree angle, it is very easy to topple and not the greatest viewing angle.
The build of the Smart Keyboard is interesting. I liked the choice of materials used for the front and back of the keyboard cover. However, I did not like the material used for the keyboard component of the keyboard cover.
The keyboard part felt like it was some cheap nylon covering some keys. I would have much preferred some proper soft plastic/rubbery keys.
Overall the build quality is acceptable. But definitely not on the level I expect from Apple and certainly not for the price Apple is charging for it.
All in all, the Smart Keyboard is a terrible product. Apple clearly has not picked up on the lessons Microsoft’s Surface products shared with the world.
My advice is to hold out and wait for Logitech to release a proper usable solution.