back to article For the price tag, this iPad Pro keyboard better damn well be Magic: It isn't... but it's not completely useless either

Apple has long toiled to position the iPad Pro as a legitimate computing device like the iMac and MacBook Pro. Earlier this year it tried to take a step closer to achieving that goal with the release of the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro. The Magic Keyboard tackles some of the pain points with traditional iPad cases. For starters …

  1. macjules Silver badge
    Gimp

    It's a game

    Cook: "No, we can't, can we? Do you really think that people will buy it at that price?"

    Marketing: "Surveys show that our fanbase do not care about the price, I mean, look at the price we got away with for the set of wheels for the Mac Pro."

    Cook: "Oh go on then - send it to market."

    1. HildyJ Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: It's a game

      Too true. iFans are notoriously price insensitive, which may be justified for their professional high-end kit but doesn't make sense for consumer grade iStuff. The flock's desire for the latest and shiniest keeps Apple in clover.

    2. ThomH

      Re: It's a game

      They didn't buy the G4 Cube or the iPod Hifi, and are currently mostly ignoring the HomePod and making the same jokes as everybody else about the wheels.

      I don't foresee much success for a £350 keyboard, with anyone.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: It's a game

        Then you don’t work with bosses who buy all the new shiny stuff on their department budget. Once one has got one the others see it and want one and then before you know it they are being ordered in spades.

        1. ThomH

          Re: It's a game

          No, I just don't consider the net total of bosses who force bad buying decisions upon their companies out of a desire for shiny things to add up to a large number of sales.

          Remember the official keyboard for the original iPad, which was similarly shiny? Neither does anybody else.

          EDIT: it was the MC533LL/B, apparently, to make searching easier. I can't find a launch price, but suffice to say — people buying into the iPad during its first year, surely those who are very easily attracted to shiny things, were offered an official keyboard at a reasonable price and even then they still didn't want it. A decade later I don't see how an expensive keyboard, no matter how much better, is going to fare much better.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: It's a game

            Yes, I remember the official keyboard for the original iPad, there’s a stack of them in the storeroom at the office.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's a game

        I bought the apple hi fi and it still works as does my ipod gen 3 sitting on top. Expensive yes, value for money... yes after 14 years without a glitch, it is still clear as a bell and god is it loud

        1. ThomH

          Re: It's a game

          Honestly, I kind of wish I'd bought one, but it's a great example of an Apple product with a splashy launch that the market wasn't particularly interested in and which Apple quietly killed relatively quickly.

          I think a lot of people overlook Apple's talent for mostly hiding its missteps.

      3. BreepBreep

        Re: It's a game

        It’s not really that far fetched. The iPad Pro is faster than a base model MacBook Pro and has a touchscreen, pencil support, and removable keyboard. It’s $1300 for the MacBook Pro and $1350 for the iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard.

  2. PhilipN Silver badge

    Because ... it’ll just work : Nope

    Because it works for a damn long time.

    I have almost every generation of Mac Mini filling up one cupboard and get one or other of them out occasionally to power up and play with. That’s just an example. On my experience you get at least three times the usage from an Apple machine/device, which will be years out of date before it breaks down. It’s almost frustrating that with all the latest backup systems available my ancient Time Capsule still bloody works!

    1. My-Handle

      Re: Because ... it’ll just work : Nope

      "Because it works for a damn long time."

      The same can be said of a lot of less expensive kit. I've got a 16 year old HP pavilion laptop that I dragged out of a cupboard and booted up a month ago and it... just worked.

      1. PhilipN Silver badge

        Re: Because ... it’ll just work : Nope

        "The same can be said" .... OK thanks for agreeing.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Because ... it’ll just work : Nope

          I don't think that was agreement. What I heard there was that yes, Apple devices last quite a while, but so do other machines, so there's not much difference, so the higher prices aren't justified on that alone. The point of disagreement is that you claim that Apple devices will likely last longer, whereas the reply claims they will both last quite a long time, and probably a similarly long time.

          Not that I necessarily agree, as there are many Apple devices that seem to get support for longer over some of the most well-known competitors, but I too have seen very functional devices from all sorts of manufacturers that continue to function for long after they were purchased. If hardware is treated well, including good management or at least replacement of its software from time to time, they usually keep working for longer than the average user expects. I do give Apple some credit for some of their devices, the easiest example being IOS devices getting several OS updates whereas Android is just getting to having some likelihood of security updates, but in other cases Apple has proven themselves to not be so interested in device longevity, including their battery fiasco and making everything less repairable as the years go on.

          1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
            Headmaster

            Re: Because ... it’ll just work : Nope

            Because it works for a damn long time.

            I have almost every generation of Mac Mini filling up one cupboard

            The key marketing trick that Apple have achieved is to have the former and yet still have their customers feel the desire to do the latter as well. Given how contradictory the two stances actually are if you stop and think about it, given the generations aren't that far apart.

          2. BreepBreep

            Re: Because ... it’ll just work : Nope

            Only problem with that is that tests and surveys consistently show that Apple devices actually last longer, so all evidence suggests that they do.

      2. FIA

        Re: Because ... it’ll just work : Nope

        The same can be said of a lot of less expensive kit. I've got a 16 year old HP pavilion laptop that I dragged out of a cupboard and booted up a month ago and it... just worked.

        HP....... Wow! You got lucky! :)

        1. My-Handle

          Re: Because ... it’ll just work : Nope

          Heh, yeah maybe :)

          I wouldn't trust a more recent HP to last even three years, but in the mid 00s they weren't too bad reliability wise.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Because ... it’ll just work : Nope

        "I've got a 16 year old HP pavilion laptop that I dragged out of a cupboard and booted up a month ago and it... just worked."

        Same happened with my Amiga A1200 last week when I "discovered" it during an archaeological expedition into the attic last week. Remarkabley, the HDD "just worked" after being powered down for many years.

        1. Paul Garrish

          Re: Because ... it’ll just work : Nope

          Just did the same with a 1992 A1200. I don't miss flickering CRT monitors though...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Because ... it’ll just work : Nope

      My daily driver is still a 2012 15" Retina Macbook Pro. Not many people are still using an 8 year old laptop.

      1. a pressbutton Silver badge

        Re: Because ... it’ll just work : Nope

        I got my x220 in late '12

        Not using it because it is in a drawer at work and the office is locked :(

      2. PTW

        Re: Because ... it’ll just work : Nope

        2011 Dell XPS X502L thanks, chunky, but it just works, every day. With 12Gb RAM and Devuan it does everything I need, docker, WINE for when I need to fire up EA, etc., etc.. And I can replace anything hardware wise. And does this keyboard have the rest of the keys that are missing from Macs?

      3. Noel Morgan

        Re: Because ... it’ll just work : Nope

        My Dell XPS M1330 from 2008 was in use up until christmas 2019.

        mind you I did upgrade from the crappy Windows vista that was installed.

        When you pay higher end money - you get a higher end device, not unique to apple.

        1. The other JJ

          Re: Because ... it’ll just work : Nope

          I don't even recall the 2008 XPS M1330 being that high end, although I bought low and immediately upgraded disk and memory. But I was treating myself as it was going to be my main machine while working abroad for a year. I still use it for ham radio work as recently as last month. It's had two memory upgrades, at least two disk upgrades (most recently to SSD), dual boots W10 or Ubuntu and performance isn't as shabby as you'd expect for a twelve year old laptop.

        2. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge

          Re: Because ... it’ll just work : Nope

          I'll see your XPS 1330 and raise you an XPS 1530.

          Still in daily use with an SSD and rocking Windows 8.1 with Classic Shell.

          I did a test upgrade to W10 a year or so back so I know that runs.

          Unless something biodegrades there could be a good few more years in it.

      4. DemeterLast

        Re: Because ... it’ll just work : Nope

        2011 13" Macbook Pro here. Actually thinking of upgrading to a 2015 15" MBP so I can install the latest OSX without witchcraft, but not because my old workhorse doesn't do what I need it to.

        I set up some ancient IBM Thinkpads from 2006 to do remote work over VNC/Wireguard for a couple of guys during the pandemic.

        I think my record was a Mac SE/30 that ran NetBSD and used as a test web and mail server for a really long time, decommissioned only a decade ago or so. If you have the time to trawl ebay for SIMMs, the SE/30 will take up to 128MB of the things. Definitely one of the best computers ever made.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Because ... it’ll just work : Nope

          Actually thinking of upgrading to a 2015 15" MBP so I can install the latest OSX without witchcraft

          I think the 2015's will be losing support from next year. Not 100 % on that but there was a timeline recently published. So worth checking this before you buy, if access to the newest OS release is important to you, though I'd agree that for many things it isn't.

        2. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Because ... it’ll just work : Nope

          Old computer willy waving. Who’d have thought it.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Because ... it’ll just work : Nope

            Jealous much? I bet you had a C64, which explains a lot. Speccy Rulez!! :-p

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: Because ... it’ll just work : Nope

              I had a Vic20, a speccy, a ZX81, and several other subsequent ones but never C64.

              I never achieved BBC Model B status though, too poor.

              1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

                Re: Because ... it’ll just work : Nope

                Been recapping my BBC Model B's power supplies recently. Still working once that is done.

      5. oiseau Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: Because ... it’ll just work : Nope

        Hello:

        Not many people are still using an 8 year old ...

        I still use my trusty Asus 1000HE 2.0Gb Netbook, puchased used albeit in mint shape in early 2010.

        Runs Devuan ascii and always goes with me when I have to travel to the country.

        Had an issue with the mobo last year so I got another with a broken screen for ~ $40, did the transplant and was on my way again. Kept the charger and sold the remaining parts, recovering almost $25.

        Can't beat that.

        When not on the road, it doubles as a host for my coffee roasting software.

        O.

      6. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Because ... it’ll just work : Nope

        I've got a 2010 MacBook Pro here that works fine. But Apple in its wisdown won't let it run more recent versions of the magical OS. I did also have to replace the battery because it got so swollen and the same thing has just happened to my 2015 MacBook Pro, Over in the corner is an older ThinkPad, the battery is dead but at least it didn't swell. In any case, don't expect any I-Pad to last that long.

        In these days of contract manufacturing, the actual brand doesn't matter as much. Which is probably why the new Huawei notebooks look so suspiciously like the new Apple ones.

      7. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Because ... it’ll just work : Nope

        Just retired my 2012 MBPR; now in use by youngest offspring.

      8. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Because ... it’ll just work : Nope

        "Not many people are still using an 8 year old laptop."

        FWIW, many people who buy their own kit are using it for longer than you might imagine. Corporate purchased stuff tends to not only get replaced on a regular rolling replacement schedule, currently about 5 years in most places, but the users tend to break them more frequently because they didn't pay for them and don't look after them

      9. AIBailey

        Re: Because ... it’ll just work : Nope

        Our main family laptop is a Dell from late 2010. Upgraded several years ago with a SSD, and I've chucked a couple of extra GB of RAM in its direction, but otherwise I've not had to repair or replace anything.

        It's still getting all W10 updates as well.

      10. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: Because ... it’ll just work : Nope

        I have an IBM Thinkpad T23 in daily use as a firewall, with a PCCard Gigabit Ethernet adapter, circa 2000. Runs 24x7 355 days a year. It replaced a T20 from about 1996 when I got FTTC, and the 100Mb/s built in Ethernet became a bottleneck.

    3. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: Because ... it’ll just work : Nope

      Yup, I updated our time capsule with an SDD - mainly because the HD gave up the ghost after 9 years and three house moves with much abuse in between. It still works quietly very happily and in the background - although it is not a terribly difficult thing to do.

    4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: you get at least three times the usage from an Apple machine/device

      I still have my IBM PC keyboard from 1989. I can just slap on USB converter on it and plug it in and it works too.

      So, how many times more do you need ?

    5. Tim Almond

      Re: Because ... it’ll just work : Nope

      But actually, they really don't. Because Apple will just stop your machine upgrading to the latest O/S. And then block you updating to the app store with the old O/S. And various other "need the latest OS" to run software.

      My daughter just got rid of a 10 year old single core Vaio. That also worked. And was running Windows 10 And upgrading to SSD was easy.

  3. Warm Braw Silver badge

    A pokey terraced house in Middlesborough for a month

    Not even pokey, at least by London standards. And I suspect there will be cheaper examples when students decide they don't want to pay £9K a year for video lectures.

    Just keep your parmo well clear of your £350 keyboard.

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: A pokey terraced house in Middlesborough for a month

      Now I want parmo :/

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: A pokey terraced house in Middlesborough for a month

      I'm just wondering how long an iPad Pro with fancy keyboard will last in a student house in the Boro. Probably not even as long as the parmo.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: A pokey terraced house in Middlesborough for a month

        "I'm just wondering how long an iPad Pro with fancy keyboard will last in a student house in the Boro. Probably not even as long as the parmo."

        No idea how long they last, but many students at Teesside Uni are issued one as a "freeibee" when starting their course, for at least the last two years.

    3. MatthewHughes

      Re: A pokey terraced house in Middlesborough for a month

      Molten béchamel sauce will ruin even the hardiest of 1980s-era IBM Model M keyboards.

    4. Glenturret Single Malt

      Re: A pokey terraced house in Middlesborough for a month

      I lived in Durham for a couple of years in the 70s and travelled all round the county but until I read this article I had never heard of Teeside parmo.

  4. John H Woods Silver badge

    boro parmo

    <sarc>Thanks</sarc> mate, I'm now homesick and hungry.

    1. MatthewHughes

      Re: boro parmo

      I dated a girl from Boro as a student, and honestly? The parmos were the best part of that relationship. Sadly you can't get them on my side of the Pennines.

      That said, I could never wrap my head around the propensity for Middlesbrough takeaways to put red cabbage on everything.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: boro parmo

      Where's the smogmen icon when you need it?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Have I got to go the Middlesbrough?

    I went there once.

    And it was closed.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Have I got to go the Middlesbrough?

      >And it was closed.

      You were lucky

  6. DrXym Silver badge

    £350 for a keyboard

    How do they keep their prices so low and still make a profit?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: £350 for a keyboard

      It's Magic.

  7. BebopWeBop Silver badge

    I (and my partner and daughter) use 12" (approx) iPad Pros for drawing and photo manipulation with the rather wonderful Affinity Photo. Very portable, very fine control with a pen - but of course eye wateringly expensive. However for the job (and my daughter is a professional in that illustrations and photo editing are part of her day job) they are difficult to beat at the moment. It does other things as well, so I justify it on the basis that I also use Mathcad and Mathematica as well as a decent word processor and spreadsheet - so it is a legitimate business expense :-)

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      You'll get similar results with a good Wacom tablet. But, I agree, if it helps you do your job then it's all good.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Similar - but only if you tether a PC to it or the Wacom runs a decent editor surely?

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    That keyboard is flat on the table

    Not a good typing position. The keyboard should be slanted toward the typist.

    But I'm guessing the hipsters will be using that on the couch, so no problem.

    1. gotes

      Re: That keyboard is flat on the table

      iPad Pro keyboard feet, only $99 for the pair.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: That keyboard is flat on the table

        "only $99 for the pair."

        LOL, you wish! That's $99 each.

  9. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    RDP for OSx

    Is there such a thing as a remote desktop in the iWorld?

    Couldn't you just buy an old macbook air, sticky tape the iPad over the screen and use it's keyboard as a remote login to the iPad?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: RDP for OSx

      Have you seen the price of authorised Apple compatible sticky tape?

  10. Deimos

    iPad love affair

    My new iPad Pro 12.9 inch 2020 model arrived this week, replacing my 4.5 year old iPad Pro which still works perfectly. So far since I re-entered the Apple cult around ten years ago all my devices still Function including my original iPhone 3gs now used as a music player. The only reason to upgrade has been new toy lust and the older models are still working for the female majority in my house plus assorted extended family members. The truly unique thing about The icult is that my average time between upgrades is four years, when using microsuck kit my average time was a year. The icult also keeps doing drama free updates for machines for a long time after other manufacturers, especially microsuck.

    Icult kit is expensive but if you want quality with a genuinely top class interface then they are the absolute dogs danglies.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: iPad love affair

      My 11” Pro has just replaced a 4 yo 9.7” Pro. That one is on loan to a local charity for Teams conferencing. Older iPads, an iPad 2, the 3 or 4 (I can’t remember which and Apple didn’t call it that, anyway), and a Mini2, are all in use by other family members with simpler needs. My desktop is a mid-2011 iMac - still going strong on High Sierra, with Windows 10 and Ubuntu 20.04 on VMs. When I ran Windows based hardware I never went cheap but that rarely got to 3 yo before I’d get frustrated with it and need to replace. A quick estimate on hardware cost on an annual basis, my iMac is around 40% (i.e. under half the cost). Buying an iMac for my wife saves even more, especially time as I rarely get a call of “Darling - my computer’s..?”

      Sure, there is other kit that lasts, but part of the saving lies in the efficiency of MacOS.

  11. oiseau Silver badge
    Facepalm

    How much?

    Hello:

    ... paid £350 for mine.

    You're must be joking.

    Not a joke?

    Hmmm ...

    Then maybe you've been taking the same stuff this guy takes?

    O.

  12. Sandgrounder

    It's the software, stupid

    Apple kit may be resilient and long lasting (like many other decent manufacturers kit too that cost a fraction of the price I may add).

    But its the software that cripples it. I have a perfectly good 2012 imac with Ram and SSD upgrade that runs better than the day it was bought. But it is unusable for the only job I want it for, building iOS apps (how ironic). 2012 kit is unsupported, so latest xcode won't run, so can build apps up to ios 11 only.

    Perfectly good kit scrapped because of a bean counter's glint of an opportunity to screw the consumer again for a new purchase.

    Same applies to my iPhone 6. Perfectly decent device still but unusable because it won't get iOS 13, so no use for app testing anymore.

    Next time a fan boy drones on about how Apple kit lasts forever, they can have my old iMac to shove it where the sun don't shine.

    1. hardboiledphil

      Re: It's the software, stupid

      My 5 SE is running 13.4.1 and looks like it wants to download 13.5. How come a 6 won't run these?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Magic Keyboard

    Named after the Magic Money Tree?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Winner Is

    I got out my Sinclair ZX81 plugged the coaxial cable in and lo and behold “it’s alive”

    Now admittedly it did cost £49.99 in 1984 when I got it, so realistically I would expect it to still work at that price point.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ...but it is a gamechanger for iPad Pro.

    I bought it, and my reward is that I can run the iPad Pro from the trackpad now and do not have to touch the screen much if at all. That was a gamechanger for me.

  16. cheveron

    You could get two custom printed Vortex Poker III mechanical keyboards for that price

    I love the 12" iPad Pro. I also loved my old PowerBook 165. So I got WASDkeyboards.com to make a custom mechanical keyboard for my iPad. No batteries required and it works with the screen in vertical mode too. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=2785426364831905

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020