David Di Franco


Smart Keyboard for iPad Pro Review

If there is one accessory that I can absolutely recommend for the iPad Pro, it has to be Apple's Smart Keyboard. While its price can be a bit on the steep side (save a few dollars on Amazon), I believe the cost is worth it. After all, Apple is touting the iPad Pro as a notebook replacement for some users, so a keyboard only seems necessary.

The build quality of the Smart Keyboard, as you can expect from most Apple products, is exceptional. Typing feels natural, despite the keys not having much travel, and it's designed well to the point where it's comfortable to use for extended periods of time.

You don't have to worry about getting dirt stuck in between the keys, either. Everything is woven together in a custom-fitted fabric, which is a big plus for those who like to keep their gadgets in pristine condition.

One of my favorite features of the Smart Keyboard is the ability to use shortcuts in iOS. Below are a few shortcuts that I use most often:

Command-H - Go to your iPad Pro's Home screen
Command-Tab - Switch apps instantly, similar to macOS
Command-T - Open a new tab in any compatible apps
Command-Space - Spotlight search while using any app

These shortcuts make using an iPad Pro more useful and much like a notebook, further proving the point that tablets can eventually become an everyday computer for most users. That day is still a ways off, but we're certainly getting closer.

And speaking of shortcuts, holding down the Command key in any compatible app displays an overlay of keyboard shortcuts that can be used. This is especially apparent in Apple's apps, like Safari and Pages.

Let's talk about the Smart Connector, a new technology that Apple is implementing into their "Pro" line of products. Because the Smart Keyboard uses the Smart Connector interface, this means that you never have to worry about Bluetooth pairing or even charging. Everything is handled by the iPad Pro, which is a huge convenience. This alone can save you a ton of time and frustration.

The Smart Keyboard also doubles as a case. Disconnecting the Smart Keyboard via the Smart Connector allows you to fold it into a case, thus protecting your iPad Pro from everyday wear and tear. While this functionality tends to skip my mind since I primarily work at a desk, it's certainly a nice bonus for those users who prefer to work while on the go.

But as great as the Smart Keyboard is, there are two areas I think Apple can improve in — the first being physical shortcut keys. Software shortcuts in iOS work great, but the lack of having shortcut keys for basic functions like volume and display brightness seems like a simple oversight to me. Instead, you are often having to rely on lifting your fingers from the Smart Keyboard itself andusing the controls on the iPad Pro.

Another setback is the lack of backlit keys. While this isn't personally a big deal to me, I have seen complaints from other Smart Keyboard users, and rightfully so.

If the above setbacks are important to you, then I suggest looking into Logitech's Create. It features physical shortcut keys and backlit keys, and for less than the price of what Apple is asking.

Overall, I have to say that I am enjoying the Smart Keyboard. In my opinion, it's a necessary accessory to truly experience what the iPad Pro has to offer — aside from the Apple Pencil, of course. Pricing starts at $149.

If you are interested in learning more about the Smart Keyboard, check out my video review below.