The Magic Keyboard

Posted on April 24, 2020

Morning coffee with the new iPad Magic Keyboard

My new iPad Magic Keyboard arrived yesterday. I’ve been waiting for this thing patiently since it was announced last month. Along with the Airpods, this is one of the Apple products I’ve been most excited about in the past few years.

Some initial quick thoughts follow…

It feels really nice, so much better than the squishy keys of the old keyboard cover. It feels like I’m typing on a real computer now, instead of some bolted-on after thought accessory.

I work in the mornings before the kids wake up often, usually on the iPad in the kitchen. It’s so nice to have the keys lit up so I can actually type in the dark and see what’s going on. The backlit keyboard is a wonderful addition.

The viewing angle is slightly more adjustable than the keyboard cover, but not by very much for my practical use. I guess it’s nice to be able to fold it into itself a bit more, but I’m not sure I’ll ever use that, especially when just using this as a laptop replacement and typing on a table top. I actually wish that it opened a bit more for typing while standing up at a counter-height surface, but that’s a minor quibble.

These keys sure do feel nice! The mechanism under the key is crisp and responds very well.

It’s going to take a bit to get used to the iPad screen hanging out right above the number keys. It seems I lift my fingers up when typing more than I would have predicted so I’m hitting the bottom of the iPad screen more than I’d care to. I think with some practice this will go away.

Initially when I attached this keyboard to my 2018 iPad, it did nothing. Oh shoot, did I get a dud? I was so excited to play with this thing. No, it works fine. It turns out that I needed to run a software update on my iPad. After a slow update and reboot, I’m in business. Halfway through the reboot the keyboard just lit up… ahh.

I still don’t understand why the need for a hardware ‘globe’ button that enables the emoji keyboard. The iPad keyboard cover I was using prior has it as well. Why? It’s in the same place as the Fn key on a standard Mac laptop, so I instinctively hit it when I’m doing text manipulation. (I never realized how often I use Fn-Delete to remove characters in front of the cursor. It turns out that Control-D does the same thing, so I need to switch my muscle memory to that instead.) Lucky for me, I can use the keyboard settings in iOS to disable the silly globe key so it has no effect when pushed. Waste of space, but I can handle that.

The trackpad… wow there’s a trackpad for iOS! This is so delightful. It’s so natural for me to reach for the trackpad now instead of having to lift up my fingers and drag the screen around when I’m typing. It sounds silly, but it makes for such a nicer experience.