No need to wait on keyboard cases for latest iPad Air and iPad mini

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The Brydge 10.5 clip-on keyboard can be used with the new iPad Air.
The Brydge 10.5 clip-on keyboard can be used with the new iPad Air, and there are other options too.
Photo: Brydge

Apple’s newest tablets just started reaching the hands of consumers, but there are already several cases available for the iPad Air 3 and iPad mini 5, including keyboard cases in multiple designs. There are options now from Zagg, Brydge and Apple itself.

While not yet available, rugged-case maker OtterBox is designing products for these slates.

ZAGG keyboard cases

Because the new iPad Air uses almost the same design as the 10.5-inch iPad Pro from 2017, many cases designed for that model work with Apple’s latest. Jeff DuBois, Zagg’s public relations director, assured Cult of Mac that this includes all three of his company’s keyboard cases created for the earlier 10.5-inch model: the Slim Book, Rugged Messenger and Messenger Folio.

These all protect the new iPad while offering a laptop-style keyboard for easier text input.

The situation is different with Zagg’s offerings for the new 7.9-inch model. “The mini 5 does not fit our mini 4 lineup properly. It physically snaps in but the camera and volume buttons are partially covered,” said DuBois. “So we’re proceeding with the new tools for mini 5 keyboard production, and will announce those in due time. These updates will be backwards compatible with the mini 4.”

Brydge 10.5 and Brydge 7.9

Brydge makes clip-on aluminum keyboards that give iPads many of the features of a MacBook. And two of its current models fit Apple’s latest. “Brydge 10.5 Series II keyboard is fully compatible with Apple’s new iPad Air,” promises Brydge.

And the smaller tablet isn’t left out. This accessory maker indicates the 2019 iPad mini is compatible with the Brydge 7.9.

Apple Smart Cover

Apple‘s Smart Cover models for its older 10.5- and 7.9-inch tablets work just as well with this company’s newest iPads. These cling to the front of their respective tablets with magnets.

In addition, the Apple Smart Keyboard created for the 10.5-inch iPad Pro works with the new iPad Air.

OtterBox

The news isn’t all good. OtterBox makes very rugged cases designed to protect phones and tablets in harsh conditions. These are apparently so form-fitting that Apple’s new slates aren’t compatible with any of OtterBox’s current models. But the company isn’t letting it go at that.

Kianna Noonan, Communication Coordinator for OtterBox, told Cult of Mac, “Based on information on Apple’s website we do not believe current designs will be compatible with the new iPad mini (5th Gen). We are planning to have new case offerings for this device, available now for email sign-up on ‪otterbox.com‬. This applies to the iPad Air as well.”