November 16th, 2020

6 Months with the Magic Keyboard

When Apple introduced the Magic Keyboard I was excited, and sceptical. Sure it looked like an awesome piece of kit for my iPad, but at the same time it's almost $500 Canadian. That's a huge price tag for a keyboard with a trackpad that's limited to use with a single device. A device that has changed form factors and will change form factors. Unlike my coming Moonlander which will work for decades with my devices.

So let's talk about whether the Apple Magic Keyboard is a purchase I regret after a few months with it.

Typing Feel

While the Magic Keyboard is nowhere as nice as my Anne Pro 2 (Purchase on Amazon), or my Keychron (Purchase on Amazon) that doesn't mean it's a bad keyboard by any stretch of the imagination. I've typed many thousands of words on it and enjoyed the experience. In fact, most of my Monday morning writing sessions happen on the couch in my office on the Magic Keyboard. The keys don't have the satisfying sound or deep travel of my daily driver desktop keyboard, but I'm not complaining about them.

I was lucky in that I got to entirely miss the Butterfly switches that Apple bundled with their laptops. This feels just like my old MacBook Air that got passed on to my wife or the other wireless Magic Keyboard I have hooked up to an older Mac Mini that is a media server.

I'm perfectly happy with the typing experience provided by the Magic Keyboard. It's not some outstanding typing feel I'm going to recommend to everyone I ever meet, but it's good enough to get lots of words written without feeling like I'm bottoming the keys out or stabbing a hunk of glass.

Trackpad Feel

I purchased a Magic Trackpad 2 as soon as Apple released trackpad support on iPadOS and loved it. When I compared the size of the Magic Trackpad 2 and the trackpad that comes on the Magic Keyboard, I worried that it was small and would be hard to use.

Maybe I'm not picky, but I haven't found the trackpad on the Magic Keyboard to be small. I'm able to do everything I want with gestures without feeling like I hit the "end" of the trackpad ever. It melts in to the background of my computing life and works without fail.

That's what you want out of your tools.

On Your Lap

My biggest disappointment with the Magic Keyboard is that it's not as stable as I had hoped on my lap. It's not going to fall off your lap, but it does slightly tip back when I take my hands off the keyboard. I've been able to "fix" this by using a lap desk when I'm working on my office couch, but it would be nicer if it was a bit more stable.

I guess the only fix for this is to put more weight in the keyboard, or to change exactly where the iPad sits in the case so it has more weight over the keyboard? I have no doubt Apple tried variations of this to see what worked best, and this was the decision they made.

With all the computer guts in the screen, that's how these devices are going to be weighted.

Portability?

Yes the Magic Keyboard makes an iPad heavy. Yes it makes it heavier than some laptops. No I don't care and don't bother leaving a comment about how I'm wrong because I just said I don't care.

With the iPad I had already trimmed down my carry when I worked out of the house a bunch. Even now that we're not supposed to work in a coffee shop I have a nice local park with tables I can work at and my carry has become even smaller.

Lately I'd head out for the afternoon to work with only my iPad my PowerBeats Pro (Purchase on Amazon) and my iPhone in a small Timbuk2 messenger bag. I can't tell you how excellent it is to have such a small load and know you have my entire office.

Previously I was using stand alone cases and hauling a bluetooth keyboard with me or using my Inateck keyboard case. Yes both of these options work, but the Magic Keyboard works better.

The only other case I use now is the Apple Smart Keyboard Folio case when I don't plan on any extra typing, or when I'm using my iPad to see a recipe and don't want to fill the Magic Keyboard with gunk.

Is it Worth all the money?

Final verdict, this thing is still expensive. If you're just dabbling in using an iPad as your main computer I'm hesitant to recommend it, because of the expense. But, if you don't get it you're hampering the utility of your iPad as your main computer in ways that may make you discount the awesomeness of the device.

If you know you like an iPad as a main work device and want to get the best case for that scenario, the Magic Keyboard is the clear winner. Just build the cost of the Magic Keyboard into your purchase.

Now, what should I do with the 5 other cases I have in my drawer that I don't use at all?