Impressions of the Magic Keyboard and iPad Pro

When the iPad first came out in 2010, I immediately bought one. Holding it and interacting with it felt like the future of computing. But as the years went by and I upgraded to newer models of the iPad, I never really felt the same excitement. The software experience seemed stagnant, and I ended up using it more for reading and watching videos than anything productive.

Somehow, the iPad Pro evokes the same excitement the original iPad made me feel. The thinness of the case, the larger screen, and using Face ID feels like the future of computing again. I hope the Magic Keyboard can elevate the iPad above more than just a consumption device.

I have tried blending a tablet and a laptop before. A few years ago, I purchased a Surface Pro 5 with an i7 and a keyboard and pen, thinking it was going to be my primary mobile machine. I returned after a week because of how non-integrated everything felt.

The pen was basically a mouse cursor in most of the apps I used (save for OneNote), and I never felt like the Surface in tablet mode was a good tablet experience. Something as simple as reading an e-book felt harder to do on the Surface than on my iPad.

However, I am amazed at how well the Pencil is supported in iPad apps, so I have high hopes for the Magic Keyboard and the new trackpad support.

Magic Keyboard

Out of the box, this keyboard feels really solid. It’s more sturdy than the Surface Pro keyboard. It’s stiff and exact, whereas the Surface Pro keyboard felt a little flimsy. Also, this is also a lot easier for me to use in my lap than the Surface Pro.

I do wish the iPad would tilt back a little more. I feel like it’s the perfect tilt when I’m slumped in a chair, but when I sit up, it’s just not the correct angle.

I have the 11" iPad Pro, and the keyboard does feel a little cramped. I keep missing the command key when trying to copy and paste.

The 12.9" keyboard looks less cramped and seems like it would be a better typing experience. I went with the 11" iPad Pro because I thought if the keyboard/trackpad experience didn’t work out for me, I would still prefer the smaller iPad size as a tablet.

The keys feel great, though. I have a 2018 MacBook Pro, and I prefer the Magic Keyboard feel over the butterfly switches in the MacBook Pro. However, I do like the sound of the butterfly switches.


Trackpad support in iPadOS is more intuitive than I was expecting it to be, and it works well across most of the apps I use. Even when an app doesn’t fully take advantage of the trackpad, it is still a pretty remarkable experience. I was expecting it to feel like a bolted-on feature that would make me reach for the screen. But it feels as natural to use it as a MacBook Pro.

There are some places where I notice the lack of trackpad support. It’s evident when I’m playing a video in the YouTube app and hover the cursor over the playing video. The controls don’t show up like they do on in Safari.

Hover state is just something that developers didn’t have to consider on iPadOS before now.


As great as the whole iPad experience feels, I still can’t shake the feeling that the operating system is too limiting. I hope WWDC this year previews some improvements, but I’m doubtful I will be able to do any of my work as a developer on it.


It’s amazing to me how well the keyboard/trackpad experience has elevated the iPad for me. I’m trying out doing some of my administrative work on the iPad as an experiment. However, I’m a desktop OS kind of person by habit. I like more powerful multitasking concepts like floating windows, thinking about files instead of apps, and the menu bar, but this is a step in the right direction.

Some times I forget I’m on a tablet when I can effortlessly select text, Command+C, swipe left, and Command+V. And I do find myself hitting Command+Q and thinking it will close the app and take me back to the desktop–err–home screen.