Who says iPad keyboards have to run on Bluetooth? Not MacAlly, that’s for sure. The iKey30 is a good ol’ USB keyboard which sports a 30-pin dock connector on the end of its cable, and comes with an almost ridiculous number of special function keys.
The iKey30 is a full-sized keyboard, complete with proper arrow keys and a row of function keys up top. In fact, it looks a lot like the old white iBook keyboard, with concave, bevel-edged keycaps and even the mysterious White Plastic Rectangle down by the cursor keys. It comes with a folding stand for the iPad which will hold it in both horizontal or vertical orientations, and in the latter it provides enough space for that cable to stay plugged in.
I do quite a lot of writing on my iPad these days, and I alternate between the Zagg/Logitech keyboard case and Apple’s own Bluetooth aluminum keyboard. The Apple ‘board is better for typing, but lacks the handy home, screen-lock and search keys of the Logitech. The Logitech, weirdly, adds dedicated cut/copy/paste keys, but does away with the brightness controls.
The iKey30 does the same thing, although the ridiculous assortment of special keys makes the lack of brightness control seem even stranger. There are keys for €, £, ¥ (but not $), undo, redo and keyboard language change, plus special keys for domain suffixes like .com. It reminds me of those awful PC keyboards from the 1990s which had keys to launch the web browser.
Worse, almost all of these keys have well-known shortcuts already. I find it hard to believe that someone buying a wired keyboard to use with their iPad wouldn’t know about CMD-Z, CMD-C and CMD-V.
Still, if you want a wired keyboard, and you need those extra keys, then the MacAlly looks like just the thing. The price is right, too: $50. But remember — you can use any Bluetooth keyboard via the camera connection kit. And whichever wired route you go, you can’t charge the iPad while using it.
- Via Dan Frakes