iPad Magic Keyboard

iPad Magic Keyboard

I tried using the keyboard and mouse with my iPad for a while to see how the iPad could cope with being a laptop replacement.

I concluded that I wouldn’t get the Magic Keyboard. However, here I am, typing this blog post on it.

Many people have already written reviews, so I’m a bit late to the game - they’ve pretty much given their opinion on it, and there isn’t a huge amount more I could add.

I have the 11” iPad Pro that work provide me with, along with the Apple Pencil - I supplied the case.

Here are some of my thoughts on it:

  • Typing is excellent. I’ve been put off by Apple keyboards in the past - the last typing experience I enjoyed was on the 2017 MacBook Air. This is actually very reasonable as well, so if this is the same keyboard as the 2020 MacBook Air, that should be pretty good. The closest feeling I can think is to the Microsoft Surface keyboard which (in my mind) is great for a portable device.

  • Disappointingly, the Keyboard doesn’t work with the RealVNC application, which was one of the reasons for purchasing it. Maybe it will in a future update, but for the minute, it doesn’t have trackpad support. I’ve since moved over to Jump Desktop, which cost me to purchase, but works with my Raspberry Pi1 and supports RDP, so I have also set up my Windows machine. In fact, silver lining, Jump Desktop seems to be far better than RealVNC, as the image quality is far better, even after I tried playing with the settings on RealVNC.

  • The trackpad shows that it is quite small at times - I’ll be scrolling and often run out of space but I think this just takes some getting used to.

  • The keyboard is perhaps a bit cramped - purely for the punctuation. The standard, main, keyboard seems to be OK, and once I got used to it, have been able to type fairly quickly. With more practice and time, this will hopefully improve when coming to typing. Obviously a larger iPad would have meant a bigger keyboard would would probably rival the Microsoft Surface in terms of size and easy of use.

  • One of the reasons I wanted the keyboard and touchpad was to use the iPad on my lap whilst sitting in a comfy chair (an Ikea Poang) with my feet up and this works perfectly for that. In fact, I find myself using the keyboard more for browsing now as well.

  • The lack of media keys is disappointing but I can’t see how these would fit on the keypad and maintain the current layout. However, with the volume on the iPad, the only thing I miss is a skip button for music.

  • I miss not having an escape key. As I get used to the keyboard, I keep making mistakes and keep reaching for an escape key to cancel whatever I’m doing!

  • With RDP enabled on my Windows PC, it’s like using Windows natively on the iPad.

  • I’ve found it works nicely for use when I’m on video chat and can use the iPad for taking notes. It’s certainly quieter than using my desktop keyboard, if I’m not using Shush.

Conclusions

Others have said that the keyboard is the item that the iPad should have shipped with. Obviously that’s not suitable, as the software support wasn’t there in the past but it’s certainly a bit of a game changer for me. I can happily type and then even better, when I’m heading out to do an inspection, I can remove the iPad, pick up the pencil and away I go.

Overall, it’s so far been an excellent purchase. Time will tell how I get on when I get back to work and use it alongside my desktop, but I can’t see anything being a big issue.

At the minute however, I still can’t see my iPad being a laptop replacement. Sure, this can do a lot of what I could do on a laptop, but it can’t do everything. For example, I can’t access my eBooks using Calibre, or I can’t use GNUCash for my finances (at least not without accessing another computer). So, going forwards, I think I’ll still have to have a laptop - however, for general office work, this should be perfectly suited to what I need.


  1. I have to change the authentication type of RealVNC on the Raspberry Pi - I followed these instructions. ↩︎