A second version of the Brydge 12.9 add-on keyboard for the largest iPad Pro will debut in July. Its all-aluminum casing will weigh less than its predecessor’s, it will use a newer version of Bluetooth, and the backlight will be brighter.
The Brydge line uses hinges that are also clamps to convert Apple’s tablet into a clamshell laptop. There are versions for all the various iPad sizes.
Several companies produce keyboard cases for the iPad Pro 12.9. Brydge’s offering is the one that tries hardest to turn the tablet into a MacBook. About all that’s missing is the trackpad, but iOS doesn’t support that type of input device, unfortunately.
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Brydge 12.9 Series II improvements
This second-generation model weighs just a hair less than the earlier one. Exactly how much less isn’t known, as development is still underway. “Our early samples are coming in 20g lighter. We’re yet to see the full production but will know the first week of June,” April de Haan, Brydge’s Senior Marketing Manager, told Cult of Mac.
This despite some additions, including another row of LEDs for the keyboard backlights.
The Brydge line’s hinge design means it can’t use Apple’s Smart Connector. It instead depends on Bluetooth to communicate with the iPad Pro. Series II uses Bluetooth 4.1, an upgrade over its predecessor which used Bluetooth 3.0. “The performance is much faster, with a higher transfer rate and low latency,” promised de Haan.
The add-on needs its own rechargeable battery, which Brydge says is good for 12 months on a single charged.
There is a drawback to the new design, however. Slim clip-on keyboards like this one don’t have much room for key travel, and Series II has slightly less that the previous one: 1.5 mm vs. 1.6 mm.
Price and availability
The second-gen Brydge 12.9 comes in silver and space grey to match the iPad Pro.
This is a premium accessory, and is priced to match. Brydge began taking pre-orders today on its website at $149.99. It’s expected to launch in early July.
Apple has made it very clear there won’t be a MacBook with a touchscreen. The company’s largest tablet with this add-on might be the closest we get.