Why Hasn’t Anyone Made a Keyboard Case With Magnets?
About me: I’ve got a 10.5″ iPad Pro. Thinking about upsizing to the 12.9″ sometime next year. I currently use my iPad for mostly simple things (web browsing, book reading, movie watching), with some “pro things” taking up the remainder of the time (editing raw photos in Affinity, music production in Garageband). My workflow will likely change significantly when I start med school next year and start taking prolific notes again for the first time in several years.
Anyway, I’ve got a Brydge Keyboard that I hardly use–and here’s the reason why: No, it’s not because of the missed keystrokes, though that sometimes is annoying. No, it’s not the pressure exerted by the little tabs that hold the weight of the iPad. It’s because it’s such a goddamn pain to get the iPad and out of the keyboard. They beauty of the iPad smart case–in the midst of its limitations as an actual keyboard–is the simplicity of going from laptop-style typing to tablet-style holding. Just fold the case, pick up the iPad, and you’re good to go. The downsides, though, are significant: fixed angles to type at, and a (in the opinions of many) a less-than-ideal typing experience.
It’s depressingly clear that both styles of keyboard have severe limitations–either limit the versatility of the iPad to give a more laptop-like experience, or hamper the keyboard to ease the transition from tablet to pseudo-laptop. So, why in the world hasn’t anyone made a keyboard case that combines the pluses of both? All we need is a keyboard with a laptop style hinge, a-la Brydge, that doesn’t make it so hard to take the iPad out anytime typing isn’t a priority (reading, drawing, etc.). Luckily, Apple already got us 90% of the way there with the strong magnets in the back of the new iPad Pros. They’re strong enough to hold the iPad in just about any orientation (including mounted on a fridge…look it up), but since they’re magnets, they’re easy enough to pry a case from the back of the iPad any time you want.
So here’s my though, for anyone who cares: make a Brydge-style keyboard with a laptop-style hinge, but instead of tabs that grab the iPad like rubber vice-grips, attach the iPad to a Smart-Keyboard-like full back support using magnets. Make it out of a metal plate so that the support is stiff enough to support the iPad in any position. I don’t care if it adds a couple millimeters of thickness–it’s still way, way thinner than the laptop I would otherwise be carrying. Now, not only does this remove the pressure placed on the corners of the screen by the current Brydge by spreading the support out over the entire rear area of the iPad’s, but it makes the device much easier to remove from the keyboard, since there’s no more sliding in and out of sticky rubber claws.
This was just a shower thought this morning, so it’s not meant to be a market ready idea, but if anyone wants to chime in with critiques, I’d love to have an impromptu engineering brainstorm with reddit. What do you all think?