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A new Magic Keyboard might not solve iPad Pro’s biggest problems

Published Sep 4th, 2023 12:13PM EDT
iPad Pro Magic Keyboard
Image: Jonathan S. Geller

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Apple is readying its most significant update to the iPad Pro so far. After unveiling a redesigned model in 2018 and adding the M1 chip in 2021, Cupertino is preparing a model with an all-new OLED display, the M3 chip, and even a revamped Magic Keyboard.

As a big fan of the iPad Pro – I still own a second-gen 12.9-inch model with a Smart Folio Keyboard – I thought that when Apple released a new version with a proper keyboard, the iPad could be the perfect replacement for those not interested in buying a Mac or even a Windows notebook.

But years have passed; Apple introduced the very expensive Magic Keyboard, then added several cross features between the iPad and the Mac with iPadOS updates. Yet we are still discussing whether or not the iPad Pro will ever be able to replace a computer.

Now, in his latest Power On newsletter, Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman gives us a glimpse of hope that a new Magic Keyboard is in the works and could help the iPad achieve that.

For the first time on a Magic Keyboard, the top case — the area around the keyboard itself — will be aluminum, matching recent Mac laptops. The new approach will make the accessory feel more like a premium product, with the Mac’s aesthetic (…) I’m told that, when closed, the exterior shell of the Magic Keyboard will retain the cover material of the current model. It will also continue to have one USB-C port.

Gurman also mentioned that a larger trackpad would be available with this product. Still, after so many years, I’m not sure if revamping the Magic Keyboard will be enough to end Apple’s crisis with the iPad Pro. Here’s why.

The iPad Pro has two issues – and the problem is that Apple’s Mac lineup solves them

When I bought my first 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the Macs weren’t doing that great, to be honest. It was in the middle of the butterfly keyboard controversy; the Mac had lost most of its ports, and the Intel chips were terrible.

This is why I thought I would give the iPad Pro a try. It had a beautiful display, the battery was way better than a Mac, and with a little getting used to, I could honestly do my everyday work with Apple’s tablet.

But as we all know, Macs got so much better thanks to the M chips that I can’t recommend an iPad to anyone looking for something different than watching TV shows. Right now, the problem with the iPad Pro is that it’s very expensive, iPadOS isn’t as good as macOS, and its accessories cost a lot – with rumors pointing out that they might cost even more.

Even though the iPad Pro is a beautiful piece of hardware, it’s very hard to justify a $1,099 (12.9-inch model) entry-level price with a $349 Magic Keyboard, which makes the iPad a lot heavier than a Mac, and that drains its battery way faster.

If Apple doesn’t improve the iPad software soon, I hope the next Pro model gets relatively cheaper or if the company adds more storage for the current price point. Otherwise, people should consider buying a new MacBook Air or a high-end MacBook Pro instead.

BGR will keep reporting on the latest news regarding Apple products and the company’s plans for the future.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.