As we detailed earlier this morning, there is quite a bit Apple could announce this month, including the iPhone 9 and a new Apple TV. But one of the most intriguing ideas is a Smart Keyboard with Trackpad for iPad Pro. The key unknown here, however, is price.
The question to consider, as suggested by Jason Snell last week, is whether the new Smart Keyboard with Trackpad replaces the existing Smart Keyboard Folio, or complements it. It would make sense for Apple to position the trackpad-equipped option as the “Smart Keyboard Pro” or similar, especially for people who don’t necessarily want the added bulk that a trackpad could bring.
Snell wrote on Six Colors:
Let’s assume that this new keyboard accessory will only work on the new iPad Pro models that are rumored to be announced in late March. Would Apple continue to offer the current Smart Keyboard for those models, and offer this as a higher-priced, higher-functionality option? It all depends on the specs of this product. If it’s more expensive, thicker, and heavier, it will be a turn-off for some users who like the current Smart Keyboard. Then again, it would be very Apple-like to offer only a single style of keyboard.
I’m of the opinion that the Smart Keyboard with Trackpad will exist as another option for iPad owners. Not everyone wants a keyboard with their iPad Pro, and Apple sells the Smart Folio for those people. Likewise, not everyone wants a trackpad for their iPad Pro, so it would make sense for Apple to sell the Smart Keyboard Folio in addition to Smart Keyboard with Trackpad.
So for the 2020 iPad Pro, this seems like the perfect lineup of accessories:
- Smart Folio
- Smart Keyboard Folio
- Smart Keyboard with Trackpad (Smart Keyboard Pro?)
But then comes the question of price. Apple’s current iPad Pro Smart Keyboard Folio starts at $179 for the 11-inch version and $199 for the 12.9-inch version. These price points make it an expensive accessory, but one in which many people find value. For comparison’s sake, Brydge is selling the Pro+ with Trackpad for $199 and $229 — and I don’t see Apple undercutting Brydge.
If the Smart Keyboard with Trackpad exists as another option, it will almost certainly be more expensive. A $50 price bump seems fair, but it also wouldn’t unlike Apple to take things even higher. I could easily see this as the accessory pricing for the 2020 iPad:
- Smart Folio – $79 for 11-inch and $99 for 12.9-inch
- Smart Keyboard Folio – $179 and $199
- Smart Keyboard Pro with Trackpad – $279 and $299
Of course, there’s also the MacBook comparison. If you buy the base 11-inch iPad Pro for $799, and pair with a $279 Smart Keyboard Pro, that’s an all-in price of roughly $1,080. You can get a MacBook Air for $1,099.
Presumably the argument for Apple would focus on the iPad Pro’s touchscreen capabilities, and maybe even performance. I think Apple has a tricky balance to strike here, especially if the Smart Keyboard with Trackpad complements the Smart Keyboard Folio rather than replaces it.
What do you think? How much would you be willing to pay for iPad Pro Smart Keyboard with Trackpad? Let us know in the poll below and down in the comments.
- Report: Apple releasing iPad Pro Smart Keyboard with built-in trackpad this year
- Digitimes: Backlit Smart Keyboard for iPad Pro coming later this year, 13-inch MacBook Pro with scissor keys sooner
- Comment: I’d only want a Smart Keyboard with trackpad if it ticked two boxes
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