One of the major accessories that was meant to tag along with the 12.9-inch iPad Pro was the Smart Keyboard. A keyboard case, Apple wanted to make it simple enough to get some work done on the big iPad, which isn’t really a computer but it could be close enough if you squint, and the accessory has been given positive enough reviews ever since it was released.
The same can be said for the Smart Keyboard accessory that launched along with the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. When Apple unveiled the smaller cousin of the bigger variant, expectations were high that Apple would also unveil a keyboard case for the device, too. And sure enough the company did just that, and the case has seen plenty of praise since landing on store shelves.
I’ve been using the Smart Keyboard for a bit of time now, and while I can understand where the positive remarks are coming from –after all, it is a solid keyboard– but the missing elements on the ’board, especially when compared to the competition, are just too blatant for me to ignore.
First up, the missing music playback controls for music, and volume level adjustment.
These are basically my biggest gripes of the Smart Keyboard, to be honest. The case is decently sized, and it’s easy to type on. But the fact that there aren’t keys to skip back, skip ahead, or pause music is crazy to me. The same goes for being able to adjust the volume of music/video playback on the iPad Pro.
These are keys that should be easily reachable. Just tilting the hand a bit further than usual. But now it means reaching up to the tablet (which isn’t all that far, obviously), and then activating Control Center. Which means, in some apps, having to swipe up twice to get it to work within different apps. Adjusting volume means reaching up to the top of the iPad and hitting the physical keys – or, again, activating Control Center.
Simply adding in keyboard shortcuts for these things would be pretty great, even.
The real rub here isn’t so much that the keyboard is missing these things –like a dedicated Home button!– but more so that the competition has them. It seems, at best, silly, and, at worst, ridiculous, that competitor’s make “better” keyboard cases for Apple’s own tablet.
Apple has its reasons, of course. And I’m sure they’re legitimate enough. And I also have no doubt that we’ll see a second-generation Smart Keyboard, for both the 9.7- and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, that have all of these things that are missing in the current version.
Still, while the Smart Keyboard has its strengths, the missing elements have me considering alternatives. What about you, though, iPad Pro owners? Did you give the Smart Keyboard a shot, but ultimately go with something else? If so, why? Or, if you’ve kept the Smart Keyboard, what made you avoid a competitor’s option? Let me know!