As expected, Apple has revealed a new keyboard accessory for the just announced iPad Pro. The keyboard, appropriately named the Smart Keyboard, is like a Smart Cover infused with a keyboard. Apple has taken some of the technology forged in its MacBook line to create a low profile keyboard that works.
The Smart Keyboard connects to the iPad Pro via a new Smart Connector located on the side of the super-sized 12.9″ tablet. The Smart Connector will supply both power and data to the new Smart Keyboard for quick connectivity and ease of use. This means that the keyboard doesn’t need to use wireless Bluetooth connectivity, and doesn’t need to contain batteries.
As previously mentioned, Apple is using the key switch technology that it first pioneered in the most recently released 12″ MacBook line. This allows the keys to keep a low-profile, while maintaining useable key depth.
The keys look as if they’re coated with the same material as the rest of the case, though without seeing better pictures, it’s hard to determine how the keys will actual feel to the fingertips. Hopefully the texture won’t be too “tacky” and allow our fingers to easily float between keys as we type.
The iPad Pro Smart Keyboard reminds me a lot of the Microsoft Surface keyboard covers, and that’s a very good thing. The Surface keyboard covers are perhaps that device’s best feature.
The iPad Pro Smart Keyboard will ship in November for $169.
What do you think? Will the presence of a first-party keyboard turn the iPad into a true productivity device?