Actually, the original Magic Keyboard will work with new iPad Pro

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iPad-Pro-Magic-Keyboard
The Magic Keyboard for iPad looks incredible. And it’ll be usable with more than one generation of iPad Pro.
Photo: Apple

Turns out the 2020 version of Apple Magic Keyboard does fit the slightly thicker iPad Pro set for release in May. Apple said Thursday the accessory is “functionally compatible” with its newest tablet.

The clarification was necessary because previous statements from the company seemed to indicate that only a new, larger version of keyboard case was usable with the 12.9-inch version of the 2021 iPad Pro.

Apple added a paragraph to its support document for this keyboard on Thursday that says:

“The first generation of the Magic Keyboard (A1998) is functionally compatible with the new iPad Pro 12.9-inch (5th generation) with Liquid Retina XDR display. Due to the slightly thicker dimensions of this new iPad Pro, it’s possible that the Magic Keyboard may not precisely fit when closed, especially when screen protectors are applied.”

What a difference 0.5mm makes

All the keyboard kerfuffle started  because the 12.9-inch version of the 2021 model unveiled in mid-April measures a mere 0.5 mm thicker than its predecessor. And that was enough to cause Apple to make a slightly thicker version of the Magic Keyboard for the latest tablet.

But the older version is “functionally compatible,” even if it’s a tight fit. And it must be very close if a mere screen protector is thick enough to effect the fit.

Still, Apple’s clarification is good news for all the people who bought the $349 keyboard case for a previous model and were hoping to use it with the 2021 iPad Pro.

And users of the 11-inch version of the 2021 iPad Pro aren’t involved at all.  This tablet doesn’t come with the bigger version’s slightly thicker mini-LED screen so it didn’t change sizes. “The 11-inch iPad Pro remains the same dimensions as before though so the current 11-inch Magic Keyboard will still fit,” said an Apple representative assured Cult of Mac.

Check out the Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad Air

As noted in the Cult of Mac review of the Magic Keyboard, this accessory turns the iPad Pro into more of a laptop than ever before. That’s because it’s Apple’s first keyboard case that also includes a trackpad. The design catches everyone’s eye because it leaves the iPad seemingly floating.

This add-on communicates with the iPad Pro via the Smart Connector, not Bluetooth. The keys are backlit, and there’s an extra USB-C port for charging the tablet while typing.