New iPad Configuration

I am a true believer in the iPad. I bought in on the first generation and have steadily upgraded as it has improved. At the moment, I’m writing this on a 9.7″ pro, which is amazing enough that I didn’t need to jump immediately to the 10.5″ (which is also amazing) but odds are good I’ll upgrade again when the next generation comes out. I find them to be powerful, magical devices, and it breaks my heart that I can’t really get away with using one as my all-the-time computer (that’s a whole topic of its own).

Critically, I have also been using them with keyboards since day 1. That was a bit heretical at the time, but for me, the idea of a super light writing machine was too much to resist. Over the years I have probably tried about 20 different keyboard solutions to greater and lesser success. I had hoped the new proprietary connector would really improve my options with the pro line, but that didn’t happen. If you want a keyboard case that uses it then you either need an apple Smart Cover (which is a great case but compromised keyboard) or a Logitech case (which has *great* keys and a place to put the Pencil, but also roughly quadruples the heft of the Ipad) and neither is really an exceptional option.

Now, back in the very early days of things, my solution was to carry around an apple keyboard and a stand. I had a nice case for it it, and it was super comfortable (they had great keys, and ran on batteries, which was convenient) and that was great, but a little awkward because the shape of the keyboard’s battery well made it a little thick. These days, apple keyboards are much slimmer, and I was intrigued when I saw a really neat looking case from Studio Neat, the canopy. It wrapped tidily around the newly keyboard, and unfolded with a space to prop up your ipad. I loved the idea, but could not quite justify the then-$50 price tag.

Thankfully, isn’t he apple accessories market, it does not take a lot of time for the knockoffs to show up, and when Fintie (who’s stuff I have had a lot of decent experience with) offered something similar on on amazon for $16, I grabbed it. I’ve been very happy I did.

My setup now looks like this:

And it’s delightful to write on. If you dig the ipad as a writing machine (and you should) then being able to go full keyboard is a joy. But the most critical benefit is when I’m not using it.

See, I still keep it in the apple keyboard cover, because it’s a very good cover and when I need a keyboard to do something quick and simple, like respond on slack or post a tweet, it’s all the keyboard I need. The rest of the time it’s light enough that I can use the ipad as a reader or game device or whatever else Steve Jobs intended. But since the keyboard is slim and light enough to casually toss into my bag, it means that when I’m going to sit down and crank out more than a few words, it’s trivial to pull it out and set up for serious business.

This excites me because historically keyboards have demanded a tradeoff between the ipad as a writing device and everything else. Keyboard covers are heavy or awkward and interfere with a lot of the “it’s just magic” ipad use cases.

Edit: Oh, one other benefit which seems like a small thing but it actually kind of amazing?

Orientation is no longer a thing I am bound to:

I honestly don’t know how big a deal this is or isn’t yet, because I am so trained to work in landscape, that I’m not even sure what it’s going to feel like to work in portrait mode, but I admit the prospect of having it be a little more paper-like in profile is pretty intriguing, if only as an option.