The iPad Pro’s keyboard problems need more work

“Does Apple consider the Smart Keyboard an important new direction for the iPad line, or an accessory designed for old fogeys who can’t get with the program and adapt to typing on glass?” Jason Snell asks for Macworld.

MacDailyNews Take: Judging by the lack of backlit keys, no layout beyond the sole U.S. keyboard, and no top row of system-wide shortcut keys, among other issues, we’ll go with the latter.

“I’m not convinced that the Smart Keyboard offers more value than a regular Bluetooth keyboard that you can tuck away in a bag, unless (of course) you really need to carry a keyboard with you everywhere you go. As an iPad cover, it’s bulky and lumpy, and I found myself pulling it off at every opportunity,” Snell writes. “Whether I’m using a fancy new Smart Connector-based keyboard or an old-school Bluetooth one with the iPad, though, I keep finding quirks that remind me that iOS was built with software keyboards in mind.”

“It’s quite a task to add support for hardware keyboards to an operating system that was never really intended to use them,” Snell writes. “But in for a penny, in for a pound, as they say: Apple isn’ts just supporting these keyboards from afar, it’s selling one itself.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’re getting the strong impression that those who write for a living should stick to devices that are more built around, you know, the keyboard. Writers should choose a MacBook, MacBook Air, or even a MacBook Pro and — now, this isn’t a criticism of Snell as his article is expressly about keyboards — but reviewers shouldn’t be reviewing the iPad Pro as if everybody is a writer or a typist.

For the vast, vast, vast majority of users, the software keyboard on any iOS device is perfectly fine. That’s not to say Apple shouldn’t continue working to improve the software keyboard, autocorrect, and even their hardware keyboards, of course. There are certainly issues that need to be addressed (see Snell’s full article) and hopefully will be sooner than later.


  1. I tested out an iPad Pro in an Apple Store yesterday, and was actually quite impressed at the quality of the Apple Pencil and the iPad Pro Keyboard Cover. For the average user, I think they’re both great accessories, and if I had the budget or the need, I’m sure I’d be happy with both.

  2. If it doesn’t have the “14-year-old key” (the smiley face in the lower left-hand corner) then I’d guess it’s not for serious users…I mean normal Apple clientele…I mean I’d agree that it’s for “old fogeys.”

  3. The Logitech keyboard seems to be a better choice if you want all of the keys, back lighting and full protection. I was a bit surprised that the Apple keyboard only protected the screen and left the back bare. It does add a lot of weight though

    1. I returned the keyboard within minutes (before I walked off the Apple store). The reason simple: You cannot use the keyboard if you need to use the iPad in Portrait mode; Ouch… The logitech keyboard at least protects the back of the iPad Pro.

      I do like my iPad Pro and managed to find a case on Amazon that allows me to rotate for portrait and landscape use.

    1. The Smart Connector on the iPad Pro seems similar in nature to the port on the Apple Watch. I wonder if this is a new design trend for Apple to provide extensibility using a technique that seems better suited to waterproofing the chassis.

      You could combine a Smart Connector with MagSafe technology. Given a suitable number of contacts (plus, perhaps, a “shorting pair” that would serve as an interlock for activating the port only when a connector is engaged), could this be used to develop a really cool lightning port, USB 3.0 port, etc., on future Mac and iOS devices?

      1. The iPad Pro already has a USB 3.0 controller which is connected internally to the Lightning Port which means it can transfer data at 5Gpbs. All that’s required to unleash this capability is a Lightning adaptor compatible with USB 3.0 and that is coming.

  4. “We’re getting the strong impression that those who write for a living should stick to devices that are more built around, you know, the keyboard. ”

    Totally agree. I wonder if Apple should’ve given review units to those who already don’t need or own a Mac. Might give a better perspective by those whom the iPad is targeting as a potential buyer. Here’s another great perspective;

  5. As someone who works in education, I can tell you that the “next generation” (under 18) does not use physical keyboards. I’ve seen a kid speed type a paper on his cell phone with his thumbs. I’ve seen kids use the virtual keyboard on the Mac and fly (remember they’re not old and slow like the rest of us–no offense). And I’ve seen kids dictate a paper into their iPhone, as today’s voice recognition is much better . . . So while I can understand the POV of the 40+ year old writers, and their desire for a quality keyboard . . . the fact of the matter is that it’s not an issue for younger people.

  6. I don’t get it.
    The iPad Pro is pitched as being capable of replacing laptops and desktops, so….. why is it when someone tries and fails to make it work in doing just that it’s *their* fault??

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