The iPad is an interesting device—it’s not quite a laptop, but it’s also not a mobile phone. It sits between the two, offering the best of both worlds: a portable gadget you can easily bring anywhere with a large enough screen for productivity.
However, unlike the MacBook, the iPad has no built-in keyboard. So, if you want to use it for typing and other office-related tasks, you need a keyboard case. But with so many cases on offer from Apple, which one should you get? Let’s explore your options below.
Magic Keyboard: Make Your iPad Pro Feel Like a MacBook
If you’re rocking the 11-inch iPad Pro, 4th-gen iPad Air (and newer), or 3rd-gen 12.9-inch iPad Pro (and later), you can choose the Magic Keyboard. This keyboard case magnetically attaches to your iPad, ensuring it fits perfectly without disturbing your tablet’s design.
Once your iPad is attached to the Magic Keyboard, you can easily adjust the iPad’s angle to your taste. You can do this with its cantilevered design, allowing you to place the tablet as close to your face or the keyboard as you want.
The Magic Keyboard also has backlit keys, allowing you to type comfortably in the dark. Furthermore, it uses a scissor mechanism for its keys, ensuring it operates quietly and smoothly.
Aside from the keyboard, the Magic Keyboard also comes with a trackpad, letting you use it almost like a far more portable MacBook Air. It also has a USB-C charging port to recharge your tablet, freeing up the USB-C port on your iPad and letting you use some of the best USB-C accessories and devices on your tablet while simultaneously charging it.
However, the Magic Keyboard is the most expensive keyboard case in the Apple Store. It will cost you $349 for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro and $299 for the 11-inch iPad Pro and iPad Air models. Nevertheless, the premium you’re paying will undoubtedly increase your productivity.
Magic Keyboard Folio: Up Your 10th-Gen iPad’s Productivity
Despite not being an entry-level iPad, the 10th-gen iPad still offers a lot in terms of productivity. You can easily use it to write blogs, make short videos, and do light photo editing. So, consider getting the Magic Keyboard Folio to make your workflow easier.
Much like the Magic Keyboard for its more expensive cousins, the Magic Keyboard Folio features a fantastic keyboard and trackpad, delivering a great experience when you’re working. And although it comes in a two-piece design, it still attaches magnetically to your iPad.
The advantage of this two-piece design is you can easily remove the keyboard if you want to use your iPad without it. You can use it comfortably or pull out the stand to watch a movie on your desk.
Furthermore, the Magic Keyboard Folio has a 14-key function row similar to the MacBook, allowing you to adjust your iPad’s settings quickly.
While this is priced at $249—just $80 short of the base 9th-gen iPad—you can earn dividends from this investment if it triples your productivity on your 10th-gen Apple iPad.
Smart Keyboard Folio: A Slim Keyboard Case for Your iPad Pro
The Magic Keyboard adds a lot of functionality to your iPad Pro or iPad Air. However, you could get a base 9th-gen iPad at its price, which will deter many users from getting it.
But if you still want to protect your tablet while ensuring that you can be productive when you feel like it, consider the Smart Keyboard Folio. Like the Magic Keyboard, this keyboard case still attaches to your iPad magnetically, keeping it convenient to attach and remove.
However, this case doesn’t have a trackpad and a passthrough USB-C charger, so you’ll have to use your iPad’s screen for navigation and its built-in port to charge it. Still, if you’re getting the Smart Keyboard Folio primarily for typing on your iPad, you aren’t missing too much from the Magic Keyboard.
Nevertheless, this keyboard case offers several benefits: it has two notches to let you choose a more comfortable viewing angle for your iPad; it has a unique texture on its keys, making it comfortable to type on; and you get the iconic typing experience that Apple delivers with its keyboards.
So, if you don’t need a trackpad or prefer using your Apple Pencil (or any of the best Apple Pencil alternatives), the Smart Keyboard Folio is an excellent choice for increasing your productivity. It also starts at $179, making it far more affordable than the Magic Keyboard.
Smart Keyboard: The Best Keyboard Case for Older iPads
Apple releases new iPad models annually, but that doesn’t mean you should upgrade your perfectly working tablet immediately. So, you should get the Smart Keyboard if you have recently gotten an older iPad or want to make the tablet you already have more productivity-focused.
Much like the Smart Keyboard Folio, it lets you type on your iPad just by connecting it magnetically. That means you don’t have to rely on a Bluetooth connection—snap it on, and you’re good to go.
The Smart Keyboard’s main difference over all the other alternatives here is that it doesn’t offer back protection. Furthermore, this is the only Apple-branded keyboard case you can get if you have a 7th-gen to 9th-gen iPad, a 3rd-gen iPad Air, or a 10.5-inch iPad Pro.
But even if you have an older iPad, it doesn’t mean you’re getting the short end of the stick. You still get a premium typing experience and a unique surface on your keys. You can also use it as an iPad stand by tucking the keyboard behind your tablet. That way, you can enjoy your content without the keyboard sticking out in front of you.
So, for just $159, the Smart Keyboard will give your old iPad a new lease on life. That’s why a keyboard case is one of the must-have accessories to turn your iPad into a productivity powerhouse.
Make Your iPad More Productive
Although the iPad’s large screen and the vast array of iPadOS apps make it perfect for productivity, its lack of a keyboard can be limiting. However, since not all iPad users need a keyboard, it doesn’t make sense for Apple to include it in the box.
So, if you don’t want to lug around a separate keyboard for your iPad and want one handy anytime inspiration hits you, one of Apple’s keyboard cases is just what you need. But if you feel Apple offerings are overpriced and out of your budget, consider getting one from reputable third-party brands—that way, your iPad can be productive without breaking your budget.