Surprise! Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro launches early

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iPad-Pro-Magic-Trackpad
The Apple Magic Keyboard isn’t like any other iPad Pro accessory.
Photo: Apple

Apple began taking orders for the new Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro on Wednesday, about a month before the expected launch. This is Apple’s first iPad case with a built-in trackpad, and it sports an eye-catching design that leaves the tablet seemingly floating above the keyboard.

The Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro is now available to order on the Apple Store. The version made for the 11-inch iPad is $299. Apple asks $349 for the one designed for its 12.9-inch tablet, putting this accessory well above the cost of rival keyboard cases.

Customers should begin receiving this product next week. Shipping is the only option, as this keyboard case can’t be picked up in Apple retail stores while these are all closed during the COVID-19 crisis. Orders placed today will arrive between Friday, April 24 and Friday, May 1. Those who want a pre-taste can see this keyboard in augmented reality.

Magic Keyboard is also an iPad Pro trackpad

The Magic Keyboard communicates with the iPad like the Smart Keyboard Folio — it uses the Smart Connector, not Bluetooth. The two items cling to each other magnetically.

Unlike Apple’s less-expensive Smart Keyboard Folio, this keyboard has backlit keys like on the newest MacBooks. Keys use a scissor mechanism and offer 1 millimeter of travel for better feedback and a more comfortable experience.

But the stand-out feature is a Multi-Touch trackpad, just like the Mac’s, that promises greater accuracy for precise adjustments. It works with an improved cursor in iPadOS 13.4 that highlights user interface elements and text fields for easier selection.

The trackpad now supports gestures, too. These can quickly access features like the app switcher and Dock, Control Center and Slide Over. Apple is making improvements to a number of apps, including the iWork suite, that will add greater trackpad integration.

Apple’s Magic Keyboard was unveiled along with the 2020 iPad Pro on March 18, and at that time the accessory wasn’t expected to debut until May. This keyboard case was designed for Apple’s latest professional-grade tablet, but is also backward compatible with the 2018 iPad Pro.