Yes, Apple has a new iPad Pro line with improved cameras and better performance. They’re available to order right now, starting at $799 for the 11-inch model and $999 for the 12.9-inch model. Orders are set to arrive on March 25. You can see our first look here.
Alongside the new tablet, Apple also announced a Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro that, among other new features, includes a trackpad. That’s right, the iPad Pro will soon have a trackpad.
With the release of iPadOS last September, Apple added support for a mouse or trackpad, but it was somewhat hidden as an Accessibility feature. But when Apple drops iPadOS 13.4 on March 24, it will include the completely revamped mouse and trackpad support, not only for the iPad Pro line but for all iPads.
We don’t know a lot yet about how it will work, but from what we can gather, the main takeaway is that the new mouse pointer adapts to whatever you’re hovering over. For example, when you move it to a text field, it turns into a cursor. Hovering over a button highlights the button, instead of showing the familiar mouse arrow.
Apple’s Magic Keyboard
The new Magic Keyboard will work with the new iPad Pro and the 2018 iPad Pro. It’s available in two sizes, 11 inches and 12.9 inches, which will cost $299 and $349, respectively. You can’t order one yet, but Apple says the keyboard will be available in May.
What makes the Magic Keyboard so, well, magical is its new design. It connects to the iPad Pro via the Smart Connector on the back of the tablet, which also powers the keyboard. Unlike the current Smart Keyboard Folio, the Magic Keyboard will allow you to adjust the viewing angle of the iPad Pro’s display, all without letting the tablet rest on the keyboard itself. The hinge has a USB-C port built into it that you can use to charge the iPad Pro while leaving the tablet’s USB-C port open to connect accessories.
The Magic Keyboard’s keys will have a scissor mechanism, similar to what Apple uses in its MacBook keyboards. Better yet, the keys will be backlit so you can work in the dark. The trackpad below the keyboard will take advantage of the mouse support in iPadOS 13.4.
Call it luck, or call it just good timing, but in January, keyboard accessory maker Brydge announced the Pro+ — a trackpad-equipped Bluetooth keyboard for the iPad Pro line. The keyboard isn’t shipping yet but should start in mid-April, according to the product listing.
The Pro+ looks a lot like a typical MacBook keyboard, complete with a trackpad, and will work just fine with the same software the Magic Keyboard will rely on.
The best part? The Pro+ is $199 for the 11-inch model, and $229 for the 12.9-inch model. That’s a fairly significant saving compared with Apple’s Magic Keyboard.
The Pro+ doesn’t use Apple’s Smart Connector to communicate with the iPad; instead, it has a built-in battery for power and relies on a Bluetooth connection.
Logitech Combo Touch
Apple’s new trackpad and mouse support extends to all iPads that run iPadOS. But Apple is only releasing a dedicated keyboard/trackpad combo for the iPad Pro.
To fill the gap, Logitech has announced the Logitech Combo Touch keyboard case with an integrated trackpad. The keyboard will be available for the iPad (7th generation), iPad Air (3rd generation) and the 10.5-inch iPad Pro and connects using the Smart Connector.
The Combo Touch features backlit keys and multiple viewing angles and looks like it has a cloth finish to it. It comes in two parts: a case with a stand that goes on the back of the iPad, and the keyboard, which detaches when it’s not needed.
You don’t have to use a keyboard case
With Wednesday’s announcement, we’re sure to see plenty of keyboard, trackpad and mouse accessories for the iPad hit the market in the coming weeks and months. But you don’t have to buy a keyboard/trackpad combo device in order to take advantage of the new feature.
Apple sells a Lightning to USB Camera adapter (that works with a mouse) and a USB-C to USB adapter. Or if you’d rather have a Bluetooth mouse, you can pick up something like Logitech’s M535 mouse. Your options are truly limitless when it comes to using a mouse with your iPad. Heck, even the Apple Magic Trackpad 2 would work.
Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s listed prices at the time of publication.