I ordered my iPad Pro just over two weeks ago - and it arrived here in Darwin just two days later.
At the same time I considered purchasing the Smart Keyboard, but the expected delivery was 4–5 weeks, so I decided to wait and see what other options would come onto the market. I ordered a Smart Cover instead, which shipped the same day, but was sent separately and arrived five days later!
When it arrived the smart cover had been damaged in the mail, so I called Apple who have refunded the cover, and then decided to go and look locally at a couple of retailers who had the cover in stock. Arriving at JB Hi Fi at Berrimah, I was surprised to find that they had a half dozen Smart Keyboards in stock. I decided to purchase one, and am really glad that I did.
Having been a happy user of Logitech keyboards for previous iPads I had grown used to the extra row of iOS specific keys for navigation (home, app switch), search and system contols (volume, brightness, etc), and was concerned that not having these would somehow limit my experience. Similarly I was concerned that the extra bulk and weight might diminish the utility of the Smart Keyboard.
I’ve been using the Smart Keyboard for about a week now, and love it. It makes the iPad Pro experience one that it both versatile and complete. The iPad Pro combined with the Smart Keyboard is a notebook computer alternative that will work for me.
It is still only a week, so I am sure my opinion will evolve, but here are my current thoughts on the Smart Keyboard.
- The convenience of the integrated keyboard with a Smart Cover is outstanding.
- The experience of the built in pairing is excellent. Plug and go in real life.
- The integrated charging/powering from the iPad Pro battery is excellent. One less charger to worry about.
- The lack of the extra row of iOS specific function keys has not turned out to be an issue for me. I like the app-specific smart key approach, and look forward to more app developers building in support for these. That CMD+Space brings up Spotlight (search) and CMD+Tab brings up an app switcher is a great experience as there is consistency with
- Any additional bulk/weight is negligible when compared with the standard Smart Cover for the iPad Pro.
- Proportionally the addition of the Smart Keyboard adds less bulk/weight to the iPad Pro than a keyboard case like the Logitech Ultrathin does to an iPad Air.
- I’d like backlighting, but not at the expense of extra size/bulk, so I think a happy medium has been reached.
My thoughts are along the same lines as the Initial Thoughts on the Apple iPad Pro Keyboard by MacSparky, who said
…the Apple keyboard has the right amount of balance between minimal profile and working keyboard that I think it is the keeper for me.
All in all, I am really happy with the Smart Keyboard so far. It is an awesome match with the iPad Pro, and I am keeping the Smart Keyboard on 24–7 as a cover with an integrated keyboard.
- There is no Apple Store within 2,500km of Darwin, but the local JB HiFi and Harvey Norman stores have good Apple stocks. ↩
- They also had Pencils in stock. As at 24 Dec 15, the Apple Online store is showing 4–5 weeks wait for the Pencil and 3–4 weeks for the Smart Keyboard. Harvey Norman had 13 Pencils & 12 Smart Keyboards on display that day. ↩
- Both the Ultrathin keyboard/cover and Keys-to-Go keyboards ↩
- For several years the month of March has been my iPads of March experiment where I’ve attempted to use only an iPad (and iPhone of course) as my on-the-go device, coupling these with a desktop at home (iMac) or work (generally a PC). Each year the iPad has gotten closer to the goal, but the iPad Pro realises it for me. ↩
- Looking at you, Byword. ↩
- Especially noting that the iPad Pro is already a larger device. ↩
- I haven’t seen any of the third party keyboards for the iPad Pro in the wild yet, so can’t comment on those. ↩
- I have subsequently been able to take a look at the Logitech Create keyboard for the iPad Pro. While it is a nice piece of kit with the function keys and backlighting, it is bulkier, and I honestly could not imagine using it as a permanent cover. ↩