A Magic Keyboard Pro Could Push Even More People To The MacBook Air – 9to5Mac

Alongside the new iPads, we expect Apple to release a new iPad keyboard case design today, which will likely be called the Magic Keyboard Pro.

This could give the iPad Pro and keyboard combo a more MacBook-like look – but it could also lead a growing number of would-be iPad Pro buyers to the conclusion that they’d be better off with a MacBook Air…

Before the comments get fired up, let me first say that of course I appreciate that there are use cases that only an iPad can meet, even if you also use the Magic Keyboard.

If your usage involves drawing or handwriting, then the iPad and Apple Pencil are in a league of their own. If your iPad use involves handheld use, then there’s no contest either.

If you want a single device that switches seamlessly between a MacBook-style writing tool and a tablet, then you can’t beat the flexibility of simply plugging an iPad into a Magic Keyboard when you need to type and detaching it when you don’t. You may well be unlikely to make that choice, even if you pay a premium for the privilege.

But for many, the iPad is in increasing danger of being squeezed between ever-bigger iPhones and ever-better MacBook Air models. If your actual use of the tablet is limited, then you may find that a Plus or Pro sized iPhone is big enough to do the job. And if your iPad has been attached to a Magic Keyboard for much of its life, then it’s already an expensive setup – and likely to become even more so.

Let’s talk about prices

The 13-inch screen has long been the sweet spot for many, so let’s use that as a benchmark. We’ll also use the specs of the base model MacBook Air and match the 256GB storage on the iPad.

iPad Setup:

  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch, 256GB, Wi-Fi: $1,199
  • Current Magic Keyboard: $349
  • Total: $1,548

MacBook Air:

  • 13-inch MacBook Air, base model (256GB): $999
  • Total: $999

Thus, setting up the iPad is 1.5 times more expensive, and if you start determining, then very quickly you move not only beyond the pricing of the MacBook Air, but also into the territory of the MacBook Pro.

For example, the mid-range 14-inch M3 MacBook Pro with 1 TB of storage costs $1,799. A smaller 12.9-inch iPad Pro with 1TB storage and Magic Keyboard costs a total of $2,148 ($1,799 + $349).

Things can be a bit more expensive

The existing Magic Keyboard offers decent usability, but no one would argue that it has a premium look and feel. It’s basically a black plastic thing that compares poorly to a sleek MacBook.

Bloomberg has indicated that the new Magic Keyboard will address this, switching to anodized aluminum for a much more MacBook-like look.

That’s great, but Apple doesn’t generally give us something for nothing, so chances are this pushes the price even higher. A jump from $349 to $399 seems likely, and if there are new hardware-related features and a larger trackpad, it could go even higher.

As for the iPad Pro itself, we can probably expect a price increase there too, given the advanced OLED display – although here you could argue that as it will have a more advanced display than the MacBook range, we should ignore any increase in price.

My wallet is safe

Last month I mentioned the five reasons why my own iPad has been gathering dust for quite some time, despite my previous love for the devices.

It used to be my default device when I wore it, whether I was writing in a coffee shop or going away for the weekend, but now I take the 16-inch MacBook Pro. It’s bigger and heavier, but not enough to make my decision for me, and the battery life isn’t that different from an iPad with the magical keyboard attached that works even when it’s turned off.

When it comes to entertainment, Viture One XR glasses have taken over that role from my iPad – and for me, there’s no going back.

What are your own thoughts and plans? Please share in the comments.

Image: 9to5Mac collage by Apple and Luke Chesser on Unsplash

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