Wednesday, March 18, 2020

iPad Pro 2020 and Magic Keyboard With Trackpad

Mitchel Broussard (Apple, Hacker News):

Apple today introduced a new iPad Pro with a faster A12Z Bionic chip, a new Magic Keyboard accessory with a built-in trackpad, an Ultra Wide camera, a LiDAR Scanner, and more. In Apple’s description of the new tablet, it calls it “faster and more powerful than most Windows PC laptops.”


The new LiDAR Scanner measures the distance to surrounding objects up to 5 meters away, and enables advanced experiences with augmented reality on the iPad Pro. Apple said this means that ARKit apps on the new iPad Pro will get improved motion capture and people occlusion, leading to AR experiences “never before possible.”

Lastly, Apple is adding trackpad support to iPadOS 13.4 and the new Magic Keyboard. This new accessory attaches magnetically to iPad Pro and includes a floating design that works well on both a lap or a desk. The Magic Keyboard features cantilevered hinges for smooth adjustments of the viewing angle up to 130 degrees, including a full-size keyboard with backlit keys and a scissor mechanism that delivers 1mm travel.

The cursor and trackpad support look great, though I’m not tempted at all to use this instead of a Mac.

The keyboard for the iPad Pro costs more ($349) than the regular iPad itself ($329), but there are also Logitech ones.

See also Federico Viticci (tweet), Ben Lovejoy, Craig Federighi’s demo.


Update (2020-11-27): Markus Müller-Simhofer:

When the physical Escape key returned with the 16” MBP I was sure it would follow on iPad. Sadly it's still missing. When stuck in a mode (e.g. accidental drag operation) it’s such a relieve that you can press it and no harm is done.

See also:

4 Comments RSS · Twitter

"faster and more powerful than most Windows PC laptops" <== Sure, and it's more expensive than most Windows PC laptops, especially if you add in a keyboard.

The arrogance displayed through Apple's approach to keyboards over the past few years is jaw dropping. I'm still fuming over the unnecessary complexity of trying to figure out which keyboard model is compatible with which iPad Pro generation, and good luck sourcing them once you do figure it out. At least the new keyboard is compatible with the previous generation iPad Pro. (Don't get me started again on their laptop keyboards.)

Kevin Schumacher

I'm not necessarily against the idea of a mouse with a tablet, although I think the way they went about it is more than a little bit of "OK, fine, we're throwing in the towel. It's a build-your-own laptop now." Would have made more sense to pivot the MacBook Pro line to have a swivel hinge and full touch screen so you could have a more robust OS with it, too.

But the price for the Apple "Magic Keyboard" (which is also the name of their fixed keyboard on the actual laptops, which makes me think somebody in marketing was having a laugh one day and it somehow stuck) is absurd. And this is coming from a guy who defended the $50,000-some Mac Pro configuration.

“Magic Keyboard” is also the name of all the external Bluetooth keyboards for Mac, which Apple currently sells (and has sold for years).

Remarkably unimaginative and needlessly confusing branding choice.

Sören Nils Kuklau

Remarkably unimaginative and needlessly confusing branding choice.

Unimaginative, maybe.

But confusing, I don’t agree. Their butterfly-mechanism keyboards were called butterfly*. Their current version of internal (e.g., the one in the 16-inch MacBook Pro) and external scissor-mechanism keyboards are called Magic Keyboard.

The branding clarifies that this is supposed to feel just like the standalone Magic Keyboard. There are differences in key travel, but it’s still the same “family” of keyboards.

To the average customer, this communicates exactly the right thing: that, if they already have some other Magic Keyboard (because, say, they have an iMac), then this will feel familiar. (Sure, there’s also some “let’s pretend that butterfly thing never happened, OK?” PR-ese to it.)

*) And rumor has it the rubberized Smart Keyboard is also butterfly under the hood.

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