Adding an extra camera lens and LiDAR to the 2020 iPad Pro changed the design enough that virtually all keyboard cases designed for its predecessor can’t be used with the new model. And Apple’s own Magic Keyboard won‘t debut for months.
Still, there are already a couple of keyboard cases available for people expecting a new iPad Pro to arrive this week.
Redesigned camera hump makes many cases obsolete
The 2018 iPad Pro has a single camera lens. But the iPadOS model unveiled Wednesday has two. And Apple built a LiDAR 3D scanner into this tablet, making it well suited for augmented reality applications.
But these additions greatly increased the size of the “camera hump” on the back of the tablet. And thus any case that wraps around all sides of the 2018 iPad Pro won‘t work with this year’s model.
Apple doesn’t warn accessory makers about changes to its upcoming products. So they found about about this modification at the same time as the public. Still there are a couple of keyboard case options from well-respected companies available on launch day.
Apple Smart Keyboard Folio
Apple released a modified version of its Smart Keyboard Folio for the 2020 iPad Pro. It’s nearly identical to the one the company began offering years ago, just with a larger opening for the bigger camera hump.
This is a very slim and lightweight keyboard case. The focus is on portability, and Apple didn’t redesign this clip-on accessory to include a trackpad. It uses the Smart Connector on the back of the tablet, not Bluetooth.
The Apple Smart Keyboard Folio updated for the 2020 iPad Pro is available now from the online Apple Store. The version for the newest 12.9-inch iPadOS tablet is $199. One for Apple’s second-generation 11-inch costs $179.
The Brydge Pro doesn’t wrap around the back of the tablet it’s clipped to, so it’s not affected by the redesigned camera hump in the 2020 iPad Pro.
In many ways, this high-end keyboard turns the iPadOS device into a MacBook, but one without a trackpad. It uses Bluetooth, or a USB-C cable, to communicate with the tablet.
While there’ll be just these few options when the 2020 iPad Pro first reaches customers’ hands on Wednesday, March 25, those willing to wait a bit will have more keyboard case options for the latest tablet.
Coming soon: Apple Magic Keyboard
Apple has drawn much attention to its Magic Keyboard, which was unveiled along with the 2020 iPad Pro. This is the first iPad keyboard from Apple with a built-in trackpad, and it comes with a significant upgrade to trackpad functionary in iPadOS 13.4.
But this Magic keyboard won’t go on sale until May. It’ll cost $299 for the 11-inch model and $349 for the 12.9-inch version.
Coming soon: Brydge Pro+
Launching a bit sooner is the Brydge Pro+. This takes the clip-on keyboard already discussed and adds a trackpad.
Its maker produced a video showing this product in action:
The Brydge Pro+ is a scheduled to start shipping in mid-April. Prices start at $199.99 for the 11-inch model. Those with a 12.9-inch iPad Pro will need to pay $229.99. Brydge is taking pre-orders now.
It’s quite likely other companies are working hard on their own keyboard cases that are designed for the the changes in the 2020 iPad Pro, and will announce them soon.