“You can use a keyboard with an iPad????” I get this question a lot, usually when I have my iPad + keyboard on the table and am, in fact, using them together. The question they’re really asking is, “What kind of keyboard can you use with the iPad.”
Short answer: any keyboard with bluetooth.
But that doesn’t cover things like ease of use, mobility or weight. A good keyboard should echo the design of the iPad itself—comfortable, easy, and effortless.
The old setup
These are some of the best products on the market, both stable, thin, and compatible with each iPad generation. The downside? First the iPad’s bluetooth has to be turned off after every writing session, otherwise the keyboard will bounce around in the bag, randomly turning the ipad on and draining battery. Second, the setup requires a table. I prefer working at a table or desk, but when on the road access to comfortable writing spots can be iffy at best. Since most of my summer involved being somewhere other than home, I went on the Great Keyboard Hunt and discovered…
The new setup
My problem with most iPad keyboards on the market is that they’re more case than keyboard. The iPad isn’t just about writing. I read books, play games, check feeds, show photos, watch movies. Casing the iPad for writing, and de-casing it everything else is rather pointless. That’s the beauty of the Logitech’s keyboard—it’s slim, lightweight, and works like a Smart Cover.
There’s a switch on the side to turn the keyboard on and off, so bluetooth can always be left on. The setup becomes one piece instead of three separate ones. Hassle free.
But while it’s a full keyboard, it’s not full-sized. While great for emails and notes, it’s not comfortable for prolonged typing. My fingers got used to the keys, but my wrist would ache—a problem I’ve never had with Apple’s keyboard.
Though the new setup is great for everyday practicality, I still use my old setup to write on. Though, hopefully, not for long.
Kickstarter and upcoming keyboards
Apparently I’m not the only one looking for the perfect iPad keyboard.
First came Brydge, with a goal of $90,000 and clocking in at $797,979. It’s not hard to see why. (Click the images to see the product videos. Awesome stuff.)
Though the kickstarter’s complete, you can still preorder it. Shipping begins in October for the backers.
Second, came CruxSKUNK which you can still back (I am) until October 3rd. Not that you particularly need to. With a goal of $90k and 22 days to go, they’re at $183,661.
Brydge has the speakers, CruxSKUNK the 360 hinge. Both offer full-sized keyboards, typing anywhere, and easy access to the iPad. If you back CruxSKUNK now, you’ll get a keyboard very close to cost. Plus you’ll be among the first to get it once they start shipping. I’m excited.