IPad Pro Smart Folio Keyboard vs. Magic Keyboard

Well, it’s iPad Pro (3rd Generation) since 2018 and have just loved it. There have been improvements with cameras and performance, but since this is mainly a read the Internet and research papers machines it has been great, even three years later.

Smart Folio Keyboard good but not great

When I got the Smart Folio Keyboard, it was a whopping $189, but it was nice to be able to type. Now, however, there is the $349 Magic Keyboard and more important they’ve introduced real mouse support for it. So lately, I’ve been carrying around a mouse to work with it for big typing. I still mainly use the MacBook Pro though for making slides because the Google Slides and Canva applications are just more limited.

But there have been a few problems with it. The first is that the keyboard is not backlighted and I really wish I had gotten keyboard cover for it, because the numbers and letters are all wearing on the keyboard. I’m a touch typist so it doesn’t matter much, but it is pretty ugly.

On the road, it is nice, but since it is propped up, it will often collapse when you are holding it your lap.

On the other hand, it is (relatively light) and the magnetic sticking really works well, it acts as an awesome protective case.

Magic Keyboard Amazing and nearly worth it

Wow, but then we got a new iPad Pro (5th generation) and the Magic Keyboard and I have to admit I made a mistake not buying the $349 Magic Keyboard.

The main thing is that it has just the right height. Having it a few inches above and angled makes it easier to read.

But the bigger miracle is the keyboard, which feels way nicer than the old butterfly keyboards (it’s the same action as the latest Macs apparently), it is backlit.

And saving the best for last, with a trackpad, you can finally use the iPad like a mini-MacBook.

The big disadvantage is that it is definitely heavier, the combo is more like a MacBook Air, but you can detach it easily, so it works as a convertible. And of course, it is more expensive than many chrome books, but you get what you pay for.

Keyboard Cover

And, then you want to get a keyboard cover. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have lost my keyboard keys, so get one for the Magic Keyboard cover which is great. The Smart Folio keyboard doesn’t have these, I presume this is because it is too shallow.

The Keyboard Shortcuts and Touchpad magic

What is really great though is that while you can touch the screen, the iPadOS 14 does have some great keyboard and touchpad shortcuts that takes away the need to do this. But, the great thing is the “normal” MacOS touchpad controls do work well. For instance, here are some of the great touchpad tricks:

  • One finger swipe down. Gives you the dock
  • One finder swipe down to get to dock, then another swipe gets you to Home. Or Three finger swipe up does the same.
  • Two finger swipe down to get Spotlight. I use this a lot as typing is way easier than finding applications
  • Two fingers let’s you scroll the Safari up and down
  • If you go to the upper left and click, you get the Control Center.
  • If you go to the upper right and click, you get the Notification Center
  • Move the cursor down to the bottom and click and you will get
  • Three finger swipe up and hold for a bit gets you to Multitasking view
  • Three finger swipe left or right switches between apps

And here are the great command keys which are all just the same as MacOS (and there are even more in the upcoming iPadOS 15)

  • Command key. If you hold it, you will get a list of all the shortcuts supported in the application which is a GREAT idea.
  • Command-Spacebar. This shows the Siri search field
  • Command-Tab. Switch between recent applications
  • Command-X, V and C. Are Cut, Paste and Copy
  • Command-Option-Space. Brings up the Emoji list

Then here are ones that useful and specific to iPadOS:

  • Command-H. Goes to the Home Screen
  • Command-Option-D. Show or hide dock
  • Command-Shift-3. Screenshot
  • Command-Shift-4. Screen shot and go to Markup

And there are bunch of application specific ones as well, so for instance with Safari which are basically the same as the MacOS version

  • Command-L. Open location
  • Command-[ and Command-]. Back and forward
  • Command -T. New tab
  • Command-W. Close tab

I’m Rich & Co.

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