ipad pro apple keyboard rumor

There’s a rumor going around that Apple is planning a new keyboard and cover with a trackpad for its iPad Pros. I don’t know if it’ll be for the newest Pros it might introduce later this year, or if it will be for all the Pros it has released up to this date. Regardless, I have some experience with such keyboards as I’ve written about in earlier posts, and I’m very ambivalent about whether I want a trackpad added or not.

  1. Cost. The keyboard I have for the 12.9” iPad Pro was made by logi. Even though it’s not an Apple product, it still wasn’t cheap, costing around $100 when I purchased it. I can only imagine how much more the Apple version with integrated trackpad would cost.
  2. Ergonomics. You’ll note in the lede photo that I’ve got my iPhone 11 Pro Max lying on the part of the cover that has no keyboard keys (and which is there in a way for scale). Now imagine that the trackpad is about half that length. I see a cramped space for my hands to rest. I really prefer my pointing device off to the side on a table, and nothing to interfere with where I rest the palms of my hands while I type. You’ll also note how flat the keyboard wrist rest is. The thickness is negligible and contributes to my typing comfort.
  3. Robustness. I’ve already lost one expensive logi keyboard cover on my older, smaller Pro and I have no desire to go through that again. It was lost because it was dropped on one corner and two keys were broken out. That makes the keyboard rather useless, especially if it’s the corner where the cursor keys were located. On the larger cover above the edge of the keyboard is well away from the edge of the device when folded, so if it does get knocked it won’t damage the keyboard (the Pro itself suffered neither damage nor ding).
  4. Size. Having experienced the difference between the small and large Pros, I don’t see how a practical keyboard and trackpad can be combined for the 9.7” or the newer 10.2” Pros. The screen grew larger because the bezels were shrunk, but the overall physical size hasn’t changed.

All of that is based on a conventionally constructed keyboard with mechanical keys. Who knows what Apple has in mind (ignoring the fact that the rumor is true; it may very well be not). But the more sophisticated and complex the device gets, the more expensive it gets. It wouldn’t surprise me if Apple called it the iPad Pro Keyboard, and set a price in the hundreds of dollars for the thing. Which would place it well outside my budget for such a device to be sure. It will be interesting to see what happens later this year, but I’m pretty sure I’m not in Apple’s target demographic if it is released.

About the lede photo; you’re seeing the logi keyboard and cover, with the logi Ergo Max trackball sitting next to it. Using a trackball is much more comfortable than a regular mouse, as I don’t have to move a mouse, and thus, my right wrist stays still. It’s also a Bluetooth capable device and is paired with the 12.9” iPad Pro it sits next to. It works equally well with my MacBook’s Bluetooth radio.

my evolving use of the ipad with ulysses for writing

Something interesting is happening at the start of retirement; I’m using my iPads more than my iPhone.

Before I retired my iPhone was my primary iDevice, my iPad of choice if you will for reading the news as well as being a general communication device. It was a compact general purpose device that went with me everywhere I traveled requiring far less space than any iPad. I easily fell into the habit of using it equally at home as well as work. My poor old iPads languished, sitting on my nightstand most of the time, constantly connected to their chargers, only coming out when I needed a larger surface to view specific content or work with my photography. No matter how hard I tried to be more balanced in using all the portable devices, my iPhone became the go-to device everywhere.

Now that I’m home I’m it’s reversed. Now my iPhone sits on the charger a lot more while I work with the iPads, especially the big 12.9” second generation. It has become my primary writing tool, combined with Ulysses and the logi Slim Combo cover and keyboard. You’d think I would use my MacBook Pro, but I’ve discovered that the logi keyboard is far easier to type on for long periods of time because it lies flat on the table. Unlike the edge of the MacBook, there is no vertical rise due to the thickness of the computing machine the keyboard is attached to. It makes for a highly relaxing and highly effective writing experience. The MacBook isn’t abandoned as it were, as it continues to be used for tasks for which it is well suited, such as software development and running my various virtual machines.

I have two iPad Pros, a 9.7” first generation and a 12.9” second generation. They were both purchased on heavy discount (50% or more markdown, around Christmas season) after the follow-on generations were released. Newly released Pros are just too expensive. While they are both quite different size-wise, they share many common features, such as the OS at the same version, the use of the Lightening port for charging, a push button on the front, and the 3.5mm headphone jack on the edge. For me it’s worth hanging back a few generations not just on price alone, but to keep the front pushbutton and headphone jack. Quite frankly, considering the power of Apple’s silicon processors (A9x for the 9.5” and A10x for the 12.9”) I don’t feel either one is too slow for what I need. “Trailing edge” suits me just fine.

In the early days before the 12.9” iPad Pro arrived, I was focused on writing with the 9.7”. It had for some time another smaller logi cover and keyboard combo to cover it. But I dropped the 9.7” iPad one time too many on an edge and eventually knocked loose several keyboard keys on one corner, which effectively ended it’s practical typing usefulness. Rather than replace the keyboard with another expensive cover, I purchased a basic incase cover and I now use the 9.7” more for reading, drawing, photo post processing and viewing, and very light typing. It makes an almost ideal reading device for technical books. I’ve also discovered that with Ulysses installed on the 9.7” and using iCloud to save and sync between the devices, I can sit back and read what I’ve written, which believe it or not helps with light editing and corrections. I catch problems on the 9.7” iPad that I seemingly miss on the larger one.

Some Observations Working with Ulysses

As good as using Ulysses on an iPad is (and it really is quite good), there are still some issues with this tool combination:

  • Ulysses has a tendency to correct misspellings such that the correct word is the wrong word, such as correcting word as work. If I don’t catch them when I first make them, then they slip through and wind up being published on my blog. That forces me to go in via the WordPress web editor and make corrections. Which leads me to my second issue and biggest gripe.
  • I can make corrections in Ulysses and push them up to the blog. Unfortunately every time I’ve tried I wind up creating more than one post, which forces me to immediately go in and delete the older version.

That’s rather annoying. I’m left with the choice of either fixing the mistakes directly in the blog, thus forcing the original Ulysses writing to not be in sync with the blog, or else fix it in Ulysses and clean up the earlier duplicate posts. For the time being I’ll live with fixing my mistakes as I find them within WordPress.

Perhaps one day there’ll be a better way to correct and sync those corrections between Ulysses and WordPress. In the mean time the work-around is easy; slow down and be a lot more careful in writing and correcting before pushing out a post. The benefits of this system of writing I’m using far, far outweigh any perceived deficiencies.