After five years of daily usage, the keyboard that came with my 2017 iMac Pro started to show its age. I mean, there is nothing wrong with it — just that the keys have become too soft. It has developed a certain patina — which is great on leather accessories but not as appealing on a keyboard. Or at least that’s the excuse I am using to justify spending a whopping $149 on the new Magic Keyboard with TouchID.
The new keyboard(s) is designed to work with devices powered by the M1 chips, and you need the latest version of Apple’s operating system. You can use the new Magic Keyboard with the Intel-based Macs, but the Touch ID doesn’t work with those machines. Also, instead of getting one with a numeric keypad, I ordered a smaller non-numeric version. Why? I wanted something that would work well with my home machine and my M1-powered 12.9 iPad Pro. Incase you were wondering, the TouchID doesn’t work with M1 iPad Pro, but it works as a lightweight replacement for my retiring V1 Magic Keyboard.
I prefer the standalone Magic Keyboard with my iPad versus the heavier, more expensive $350 Magic Keyboard for iPad. For a while, I have used my older Apple Keyboard — the one that used AA batteries. Sadly, it is being relegated to the retirement drawer.
For me, that was one of the best-designed keyboards — the battery compartment gave it a slant at a nice comfortable angle and allowed you to type for long periods. The subsequent version of Magic Keyboard got rid of the battery compartment and instead replaced it with an internal battery. It was sleeker and more angular, but it wasn’t my favorite. The new keyboard has more rounded edges and has a more contemporary look. It has lost a bit of its heft and height, and as a result, it feels a bit cramped.
The keys are quieter. The keys do feel much more comfortable when typing. As a personal preference, I like stiffer keys, as I have a heavy hand when typing. The keyboard is no paragon of ergonomic excellence, but then I intentionally opted for the compactness. I want the option to slip this into my bag with my iPad when I resume my work travels.
The Magic is TouchID
The main (and most important) reason I wanted to upgrade is the “TouchID” feature — so all the minor shortcomings are worth living with the new keyboard.
Setting up the TouchID is pretty simple. First, charge the keyboard. Then turn it on. Pair the keyboard with your computer. And then restart the computer. Go to the control panel, and click on the TouchID panel. Set up your ID. It should all take about five minutes. So far, I love using TouchID to sign into various services and websites. The only quibble, if I have any — the TouchID itself is very small, and sometimes you have to reposition the finger to get it working. That said, the convenience of using it for logging into websites, other services, and Apple Pay is worth this minor annoyance.
Bottomline: If you want to use this with your M1 iPad Pro when on the go and can’t live without the TouchID, then I say go for it. If you suffer from finger syndrome or indulge in long stretches of typing, I would say there are better options.