As we get more feedback on the new Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro I’m getting more interested in purchasing it. On one hand the keyboard looks to be one of the best keyboards if you’re working mobile with your iPad Pro. On the other hand...$349 USD1 for a keyboard is a huge investment.
Today I'm going to talk through my thought process for purchasing this expensive iPadPro accessory.
One of the big fears when purchasing a $349 keyboard for an iPad is that we have no promise that it’s going to fit any future iPad Pro. It was nice of Apple to make it compatible with the 2018 iPad Pro. Apple is also entirely fine changing the form factor of a device if they feel it’s going to serve their end goals for the device.
I admit that we don’t have this guarantee with any other iPad case either but they also don’t cost $500. My Inateck case costs about $40 USD. The Brydge keyboard I have was $119 USD, even their Pro+ keyboard is only $299 USD. In comparison the Apple keyboard is $349 USD for the 12.9” model. For that price I could purchase the Brydge Pro+ and still purchase the Inateck keyboard giving me two keyboard options
Some people have been justifying the purchase of the Magic Keyboard because it’s a “dock” for their iPad. I find this argument faulty though and feel that if you're planning on using the Magic Keyboard as a dock, it's a terrible purchase.
My current dock setup has a Twelve South StayGo hub that plugs in via USB C. That adds an Akko3068 USB C, or my new AnnePro2, and wired internet along with access to an external monitor if I want to use my iPad with it.
As long as the iPad supports USB C this system is going to work. As long as whatever device I want to use supports USB C then this dock has value to me. On top of that, the USB C hub was only $99 and doubles as a travel hub with its’ fancy hidden cable.
If you wanted wired internet and an external monitor with the Magic Keyboard then you’re still going to need some sort of USB C dock, or hub, or whatever you want to call it.
Another key piece of my iPad setup is the VESA arm and VESA tablet mount that enables me to have a solid ergonomic iPad desk. That’s a $25 VESA arm and a $100 Ergotron Tablet Mount. I suppose it’s possible that future iPad Pro’s won’t fit in the VESA mount if they get way bigger. The spec sheet says it fits up to 13” tablets, but based on my measurements I should be able to squeak a 15” tablet in there.
Heck, even if I swapped out to a totally different operating system it’s a VESA arm. I could mount many things on this without issue so the arm is remains a useful part of my technology stack.
At this point you could purchase my entire desk setup, without the monitor, for less than the iPad Magic Keyboard. If you’re willing to spend a bit more than the Magic Keyboard then $370 USD adds the Inateck keyboard case I’ve been using to your package so you have a mobile keyboard solution as well as an ergonomic iPad desk. Out of all those purchases only the tablet mount and the Inateck case may not work with future iPads which means you maybe only spent $140 that you’ll be out of in a year and unless Apple drastically changes the size of a large iPad Pro then the only piece you’d really be out is the $40 Inateck keyboard.
Every other piece will continue to work with future setups.
So the real question is, in the useful life of the iPad Pro Magic Keyboard, will I get $349 USD of value out of it. I’m not working remotely. I’m not working in many spots around my house because my kids are home doing school. I won't be using the Magic Keyboard on my desk because it would make my ergonomic situation much worse.
So the answer is a resounding no I won’t get $349 USD value out if it at this point.
Once we’re back out working remotely in libraries or coffee shops again, I’ll probably purchase it because it will be earning it's value as I work in various locations. Until that point, I’m keeping $349 in my pocket.
That’s almost $500 Canadian after taxes ↩