Apple's Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro: Everything You Need to Know

Thursday March 19, 2020 5:09 PM PDT by Juli Clover

Apple in March 2020 unveiled the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro, which is similar to a Smart Keyboard for iPad but with a built-in trackpad for better navigation with a cursor.


In the guide below, we cover everything we know about Apple's new Magic Keyboard, including compatible devices, feature set, and more.

Design

The Magic Keyboard is similar in design to Apple's prior ‌Smart Keyboard‌ Folio for the ‌iPad Pro‌, but there are some unique design elements worth noting.


The keyboard itself attaches magnetically and wraps around the front and back of the ‌iPad‌ and it is flush with the ‌iPad‌ when closed, but when open, the back part of the keyboard case angles forward to attach to the area in front of the keyboard, leaving the ‌iPad Pro‌ floating in the air above the keyboard portion.


In this floating position, the ‌iPad Pro‌ is secured to the case using a magnetic connection. A cantilevered hinge allows the ‌iPad Pro‌ to be adjusted to various viewing angles.


When closed, the Magic Keyboard offers front and back protection for the ‌iPad Pro‌.

Trackpad

The trackpad on the Magic Keyboard is located below the keys, much like on a MacBook. It's smaller than the trackpad on a MacBook, but works in much the same way, allowing navigation throughout iPadOS with swipes, gestures, and taps.


Keys and Key Feel

The Magic Keyboard is a full-size keyboard that uses the same scissor switch mechanism that Apple has implemented in the 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro and the 2020 MacBook Air.


Scissor switches are more reliable than the butterfly switches that Apple was using in prior keyboards, with the butterfly switches prone to failure due to dust and other small particulates.

The scissor mechanism offers 1mm of travel for a quiet but responsive typing experience that Apple says is the best typing experience ever on an ‌iPad‌. Compared to the ‌Smart Keyboard‌ Folio that does not have a trackpad, the keys on the Magic Keyboard offer a more satisfying press thanks to the 1mm of travel.

The keys on the Magic Keyboard are backlit and the brightness will adjust based on the ambient lighting in the room.

Trackpad Gestures

Apple designed a unique trackpad experience built for a touch-first interface for the ‌iPad‌, introducing support for multi-touch gestures and the cursor.


When using the trackpad, the cursor displays on the ‌iPad Pro‌'s screen as a circle, a design Apple chose because it looked similar to the tip of a finger. The cursor displays only when the trackpad is touched and is in use, and it fades away when not in use.

The Magic Keyboard works across ‌iPadOS‌, with the cursor transforming when there are elements on the display that can be interacted with. The experience of using the trackpad is similar to using a trackpad on Mac, and it feels just as natural as it does on a Mac.

You can quickly edit text in apps using the cursor, scroll through Safari, enter multitasking views, and more, with a number of gestures supported. We've outlined some of the available gestures and navigation options below:

  • Bring the cursor to the top right of the ‌iPad‌'s display to open Control Center.
  • Bring the cursor to the top left of the ‌iPad‌'s display to open Notification Center.
  • Tap to open apps.
  • Press and hold to activate long press features.
  • Bring the cursor to the bottom of the screen to open the Dock.
  • Slide the cursor all the way to the right side of the screen to get to Slide Over apps.
  • Swipe down with three fingers to access the Home screen.
  • Swipe left or right with three fingers to swap between open apps.
  • Swipe upwards with three fingers and hold to get to the multitasking view.
  • Use pinch gestures to zoom in and out where appropriate.
  • Swipe down with two fingers to bring up Spotlight search.
  • Scroll through webpages in Safari with two fingers on the trackpad.
  • Long press when editing text to select text to copy or drag and drop.
  • Use two fingers in a text editing app to bring up Cut, Copy, and Paste options.
  • Click with two fingers for a right click gesture.

Both Apple apps and third-party apps will work with the trackpad by default, and developers are getting an API to add deeper trackpad support into their apps. Apple is also building support into specific apps like Pages, Keynote, and Numbers.

USB-C Port

There's a USB-C port on the Magic Keyboard that allows for passthrough charging, leaving the USB-C port on the ‌iPad Pro‌ itself open for connecting to displays or accessories. The USB-C port provides power to the ‌iPad Pro‌ inductively.

Compatible Devices

The Magic Keyboard is compatible with the first and second-generation 11-inch ‌iPad Pro‌ models and the 3rd and 4th-generation 12.9-inch ‌iPad Pro‌ models.

That encompasses all of the ‌iPad Pro‌ models from 2018 and 2020.

Software Requirements

Using the Magic Keyboard with an ‌iPad Pro‌ requires the ‌iPadOS‌ 13.4 update, which enables mouse and trackpad support along with many trackpad gestures and options.

Pricing

The Magic Keyboard for the 11-inch ‌iPad Pro‌ will cost $299 when it launches, and the Magic Keyboard for the 12.9-inch ‌iPad Pro‌ will cost $349.

Launch Date

Apple plans to release the Magic Keyboard in May, but has not yet provided a specific launch date.

Guide Feedback

Have questions about the Magic Keyboard, know of a something we left out, or want to offer feedback on this guide? Send us an email here.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro

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