First iPad Pro keyboard case with trackpad hopes to launch this winter


Sentis Libra iPad keyboard case with trackpad
An iPad keyboard case with trackpad wasn’t possible before iPadOS.
Photo: Sentis

Libra is angling to be the first-out-of-the-gate iPad Pro case that includes not only a keyboard but also a trackpad. This wasn’t possible before, but the just-released iPadOS adds support for mice and trackpads.

The designers are looking for backing on Kickstarter to defray the costs of developing an accessory that lets an iPad mimic a MacBook more closely than any before.

Libra iPad keyboard case with trackpad could be wish fulfillment

Some iPad users have been hoping for keyboard case with a built-in trackpad for many years, but iOS didn’t support mice. That changed when Apple introduced iPadOS 13, which can connect to mice and trackpads over Bluetooth, USB-C or the Lightning connector.

“With the release of the iPad OS, we knew that we could elevate the typing experience for iPad and at the same time add essential features that would deliver a more MacBook-like experience for users. Libra does just that, making the iPad more enjoyable, versatile and useful,” said Vince Zhu, Sentis CEO.

Libra‘s trackpad will use Bluetooth 5.1. Sentis has also promised gesture control in this accessory, such as the ability to zoom in and out, or scroll up and down on a page. Trackpad gestures aren’t a feature of iPadOS, so these would have to be added.

A MacBook-like keyboard too

The developers are promising a very usable keyboard too. Libra will have keys that are the same shape and size as the ones on Apple’s last-generation MacBook Pro, including the scissor-switch structure.

These will be backlit, and Sentis will add a row of iPadOS function keys for adjusting backlight brightness, music playback volume and more.

There will be versions for both Apple’s professional-grade tablets released in 2018: the 11- and 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The keyboard and trackpad will be the same size for both devices, and those who choose the 11-inch version will get a wrap-around case that allows this smaller tablet to be used with the full-size base unit. The 12.9-inch version will offer a simpler clip-on magnetic back protector.

Get in on the Libra ground floor

At present, the Sentis Libra is just a Kickstarter campaign. The company is offering special pricing for early adopters willing to put down money now and not receive their keyboard case until January 2020 at the earliest.

A limited number of backers can get this product for $89. Once those are gone, the second tier jumps the price up to $109.

More information is available on the Libra Kickstarter page.



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