Apple’s Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro may have been the biggest push to make the tablet a more capable laptop replacement, but don’t expect the removable folio case to work well with the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Although the largest newly renovated iPad Pro appears, apparently, identical to the 2018 and 2020 versions of the tablet, a slight increase in thickness means a big success in your wallet if you are upgrading.
The problem is that, despite appearances, the new 2021 iPad Pro is slightly thicker than its predecessors, at least for the 12.9-inch model. Last year’s 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the 2020 model, was 5.9 mm thick. This year’s replacement is 6.3 mm thick.
The culprit is believed to be the Mini-LED technology that Apple used for the screen. Under the Liquid Retina XDR brand, it has thousands of tiny LEDs that can be individually controlled to improve lighting and brightness. The problem is that, like iGeneration and The Verge report, the change in dimensions also affects compatibility with previous versions of the existing Magic Keyboard.
Apparently, half a centimeter is enough to make the new iPad Pro 12.9 inches too thick to fit the old Magic Keyboard. This means that you will also need to budget for the latest version of the Magic Keyboard, which costs $ 349. This will be compatible with earlier, thinner 12.9-inch iPad Pro tablets.
It is a problem that does not arise for the 11-inch iPad Pro, which even after the 2021 update does not include the new screen technology. This was reserved for the largest and most expensive model in the process, which means that the tablet adheres to 5.9 mm thick.
To be fair, Apple never introduced the Magic Keyboard as a “buy once, use it forever” accessory. Instead, the removable nature is designed to bring flexibility to the way the tablet can be used: as a more traditional laptop replacement with a keyboard and trackpad, or as a slate with the QWERTY removed. Apple’s typically evolutionary industrial design from generation to generation may have eluded us with a false sense of security with accessories, although it is still frustrating for those who invested several hundred dollars in a keyboard last year.
It remains to be seen whether third-party keyboard covers – and folio covers in general – will experience the same size challenges as Apple’s Magic Keyboard. This will presumably depend on things like general tolerances and hinge design. We will know more when the 2021 iPad Pro goes on sale in the second half of May. Orders start on April 30, with the 12.9-inch model starting at $ 1,099, or starting at $ 1,299 for the version with integrated 5G data.