I'll just cut to the chase--typing on the new Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro is really quite fantastic. It's like typing on a MacBook Air, or the new 16-inch MacBook Pro. Or, it's like you'd expect typing on Apple's Magic Keyboard--because it is. You've probably already read about how it has the same scissor-switch action found on those keyboards and it's absolutely wonderful to type on. I'm using it as I write this review.
That's a good thing, and it turns the iPad Pro into an actual laptop replacement for real. I've advocated for the iPad Pro for that purpose for a while now, but honestly, this is the best working experience you're going to find.
The iPad Pro, first of all, is as powerful as my MacBook Pro for most purposes. It's more powerful than the new MacBook Air that I tested a few weeks ago. Apple is fond of pointing out that it's also more powerful than most PC laptops. Overall, I'd argue, it's the most versatile computer you can buy.
The biggest problem with the iPad Pro has been the way you work on it. The Smart Folio Keyboard was good, but it wasn't perfect. You couldn't really use it on your lap, and you were limited to two viewing angles. Both of those issues are no longer the case.
Okay, to be fair, there are a few drawbacks. First, there's no escape key, which seems like a strange decision. Of course, there's no dedicated row of function keys either, which would be nice for controlling volume, brightness, or even the keyboard brightness.
Also, the trackpad is a little small. Then again, a month ago, there was no such thing as a trackpad for an iPad. And, thankfully, Apple included tap-to-click, which is especially nice on this trackpad since it doesn't have Haptic Touch, but is a physical click. Also, despite its size--especially in comparison to my MacBook Pro--the trackpad does the job really well.
Mostly, that has to do with gestures and navigation. Swipe up with three fingers to return to the home screen. Do it again to get to the multitasking view. Swipe three fingers right or left to scroll through open apps. That even works for slide-over.
I wrote last year about how the iPad Pro needed to take after the Surface Pro in order to really get someone to ditch their laptop. Compared to that device, this is a far better setup. I have a Surface Pro 7, and I've ever been overly fond of that device's keyboard. For example, I definitely don't love the Surface Pro trackpad.
Also, despite the fact that it's slightly larger than that one, the new Magic Keyboard is far less sturdy. I always felt like that cover/keyboard combo had way too much deck flex to be used on a full-time basis. And using it on your lap was kind of an awkward experience considering you had to have the kickstand in the back extended on to your legs.
The iPad Pro, on the other hand, you can actually use on your lap. Which, seems like a pretty important consideration for something called a "laptop replacement."
A few of the reviews have focused on how the new keyboard and iPad combination is as heavy as a MacBook Air. I guess my argument would be that a MacBook Air is about the most portable laptop you can get. Weighing in less than that, but still having the flexibility and power of an iPad Pro is still a pretty good setup.
Good enough, in fact, to finally get rid of that laptop entirely.