Hands-On With Apple's New Smart Keyboard Folio for the 2020 iPad Pro Models

Apple last week introduced new 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, which are set to arrive in the hands of customers starting this week. Apple introduced a nifty new Magic Keyboard with trackpad alongside the new ‌iPad Pro‌ models that's coming in May, but it also debuted a new Smart Keyboard Folio, which is available now.

We picked up the ‌Smart Keyboard‌ Folio for the designed for the 2020 ‌iPad Pro‌ models and compared it to the ‌Smart Keyboard‌ Folio that was released alongside the 2018 ‌iPad Pro‌ models to see if there are any notable differences.


Design wise, the two keyboard are close to identical, but the new model is slightly darker in color, though it's still a dark gray shade. The material on the outside feels the same, but there is one major exterior difference - an Apple logo. The new ‌Smart Keyboard‌ Folio is outfitted with an Apple logo, which the original did not have.

There's also a square-shaped camera cutout instead of the vertical camera cutout of the prior model, which allows it to accommodate the new square-shaped camera bump on the new ‌iPad Pro‌ models.

Apple's 2020 ‌iPad Pro‌ models feature a dual-lens camera setup with wide-angle and ultra wide-angle lenses along with a new LiDAR Scanner that's designed to scan the area around you for all-new augmented reality experiences.

When it comes to the keyboard and the typing experience, there's no change. The keys are shallow with little travel and have a fabric-like texture that's meant to be waterproof and spill proof. It's not the greatest typing experience, but it's passable.

The new ‌Smart Keyboard‌ Folio replaces the prior model and it is designed to work with both 2018 and 2020 ‌iPad Pro‌ models. On 2018 ‌iPad Pro‌ models, the camera cutout will be larger than necessary, but it fits both. Apple is no longer selling the version with the vertical camera cutout.

Apple in May will release the new Magic Keyboard, which is equipped with scissor switch keys with 1mm of travel and backlighting, making the new keyboard more similar to a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro keyboard.

The ‌Smart Keyboard‌ Folio is priced starting at $179 for the 11-inch version and $199 for the 12.9-inch version, which is a good deal cheaper than the $299/$349 asking prices for the new Magic Keyboard options.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro
Related Forum: iPad

Top Rated Comments

The Game 161 Avatar
15 months ago
Basically the same as last years with a different camera cut out...
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jedy Avatar
15 months ago
This iPad is being touted by some reviews as a laptop replacement. Unfortunately it still only runs mobile versions of popular programs, if a mobile version exists at all. Until it can run full programs like Capture One, it won’t be a complete laptop replacement for everyone.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
now i see it Avatar
15 months ago
Gotta always remember that they want you to buy both a laptop AND iPad. The iPad was never supposed to completely do away with the need for a laptop. It will always be gimped in one way or another.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mi7chy Avatar
15 months ago
Anyone remember the disk notcher? Someone should come out with a keyboard folio notcher.

Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
The Cappy Avatar
15 months ago

When it comes to the keyboard and the typing experience, there's no change. The keys are shallow with little travel and have a fabric-like texture that's meant to be waterproof and spill proof. It's not the greatest typing experience, but it's passable.
Interesting that you'd say that. By a wide margin I prefer typing on that to the feel of my 2016 MBP.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jedy123 Avatar
15 months ago

I don’t think anybody is calling it a replacement for everyone. But as it stands, it is more than capable for the computing needs of a big majority of people.
Wired ('https://www.wired.co.uk/article/ipad-pro-2020-review') certainly seem to think it’s better than a laptop and Apple are certainly trying to sell it as a laptop. They fail to address the issue that iOS is nowhere near as sophisticated as OSX and doesn’t run the same software.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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