Earlier this week, Apple unveiled a new version of its hugely-successful iPad Pro. The model packs faster internals and a LiDAR depth-sensing camera designed to make Augmented Reality (AR) applications and games infinitely more accurate. Alongside the new tablet, Apple confirmed that iPadOS 13.4 would bring support for a mouse and trackpad – one of the final missing pieces for those who want to replace their laptop with an iPad.
To show its commitment to the MacBook-busting feature, Apple took the wraps off its own “floating” keyboard cover that suspends the iPad in the air above a laptop-size keyboard and ForceTouch trackpad (exactly like the one you’ll find on the new MacBook Air) to boost productivity on-the-move.
The new accessory looks set to transform the iPad Pro, which switched from a Lightning port to USB-C to enable it to connect to professional cameras, printers, external hard drives and more with the last major redesign, into a much more capable device. Unfortunately, that extra functionality comes at a hefty additional cost. The Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro will costs £299 for the 11-inch iPad Pro and £349 for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.
Given that iPad Pro starts from £769 for the Wi-Fi only 11-inch model and £969 for the Wi-Fi only 12.9-inch, rising to an eye-wincing £1,619 for the maxed-out Wi-Fi and Cellular 12.9-inch model with 1TB of internal storage, this is already an expensive gadget. Adding a £349 keyboard brings the iPad Pro well-and-truly into the price bracket once reserved only for Apple’s MacBook Pro series.
And that’s not the only bad news.
The Magic Keyboard accessory you’ll need to transform your shiny new iPad Pro into a true laptop rival doesn’t arrive until May. Until then, you’ll have to pair it with a Bluetooth mouse or external trackpad to get your work done.
When it does launch, Apple will sell Magic Keyboard layouts for over 30 languages, including simplified Chinese, French, German, Japanese and Spanish.
If you’re stuck working from home during the novel coronavirus pandemic and were hoping to replace your ageing laptop with a flash new iPad Pro and a “floating” keyboard accessory to get your 9 to 5 done, you’ll have to wait.
iPad Pro is available to pre-order online right now (Apple’s brick-and-mortar stores are closed outside of Greater China for the foreseeable future to try to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus) and will start shipping March 25, 2020.