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This is just a quick little tip for iPad users out there. If you are like me and using the Smart Keyboard or any keyboard that doesn't have an Escape key you can press command + . and that will most likely work as a way to escape from any text input you are in. I have found it to work in Google Sheets, Things 3, Safari, and several other apps. Your mileage may vary but for me it seems to work more times than not.

Give it a shot and let me know where else you find it to work. You can email me or get a hold of me on Twitter.

Craig Hockenberry writing for Iconfactory:

Are you one of the many people affected by a MacBook keyboard failure?

If so, you now have the slightest hint of what it’s like to live with a disability. You can’t use a product like everyone else and it’s preventing you from achieving your goals.

Maybe you say “screw it” and write an article for the Wall Street Journal without those keys. Or maybe you hang on desperately to an old laptop (these words are coming from a MacBook purchased in 2013.) An external keyboard might be a temporary workaround.

But there is a clear distinction here: you have a course of remedy. You can take the laptop in for service or choose a different model. And while a failing keyboard is definitely a problem, it pales in comparison to someone’s permanent disability.

Craig makes a great point here on this matter and I think that it is something many of us don't think about regularly, including myself. Apple has done great work for accessibility for those with disabilities and I hope they continue to do so. That said, the burden also falls on the developers, and I hope they are paying attention.

With my iPad only lifestyle, there has been a pain point that's been present with a lot of iPad Pro users: keyboards.

There never seems to be a perfect keyboard for the iPad that is agreed upon with everyone. In fact there are a number of choices that seem to have some sort of drawback no matter how you look at it.

I like to to think of iOS keyboards like that of trail mix. By that I mean there are lots of options, but you are never satisfied with what you get.

The Peanut

The Magic Keyboard is the peanut, simple yet reliable and gets you where you are going. However, it is missing the sweetness and delight that you want. With no backlighting and a Bluetooth only connection, you often have to wake it from its all too frequent sleep mode just to get the keys to work with the iPad. Sure you can simply tap an arrow key when you want to use it, but when it is such a prevalent and repetitive thing to do it becomes tedious and tiring.

The Sunflower Seed

The Smart Keyboard is the sunflower seed. Small and plentiful, but doesn't provide enough sustenance in its own. The Smart Keyboard is the most frequently recommended keyboard for an iPad Pro, but it doesn't check all the boxes. Again, with no backlighting working on the keyboard in a dark room just doesn't work. Now as a step up from the Magic Keyboard it does have a Smart Connector, but with that comes sacrifice in keyboard size. Especially in the 10.5 iPad. The key size is small, space between keys takes some getting used to, and even some less used keys are squished to fit the footprint necessary to be used as a Smart Cover.

The Raisin

The Logitech Keyboard is the raisin of the bunch where some people like and is "healthy" competition in theory. In reality it sucks and nearly everyone hates them. Honestly the bulky keyboard ironically named Slim Combo seems to be a slap in the  face to the people who decided to buy it. It has a Microsoft Surface knockoff okickstand in the case making the footprint of this keyboard when in use take up more space than any other keyboard I have used. It does have backlighting, but the keys are even more cramped than that of the Smart Keyboard. This is the one keyboard I tell almost everyone to steer clear from because the cons outweighs the pros ten to one.

The M&M

Finally, the Brydge Keyboard is a lot like the cheap M&M knockoff in trail mix. It seems like the best option but it still tastes awful once you bite into it. I had high hopes for the Brydge Keyboard when it was first announced. It's only issue for me was that it had a Bluetooth connection, but I was willing to let that go for what it offered. The backlit keyboards and comfortable keyboard layout alongside a detachable clamshell design looks both functional and beautiful. Sadly, much like trail mix, the execution was lacking and it ended with a hunk of aluminum that barely worked properly. The keys were mushy and unresponsive in all 3 models I received when I order this keyboard. I have heard from people that you need to expect to send your keyboard back a few times before getting one that works properly, but to me that isn't acceptable in this ecosystem where a product that costs over $100 needs to be checked for quality and most likely sent back several times before a customer is satisfied. With that said, if you are willing to deal with that kind of hassle the Brydge Keyboard is worth a shot, the support team there is very nice and responsive, but you have been warned.

My Pick

I am not sure what the answer to this is, but as of right now I am sticking with the Smart Keyboard because portability and connectivity are my two biggest needs in a keyboard for my iPad and nothing compares to the Smart Keyboard in these areas. I also am a fan of the butterfly key switches in the Smart Keyboard as I have gotten akin to the MacBrook Pro keyboard when I was using it. I am able to write without much incidents of mistakes and I have zero latency and missed keys when writing on it. So for now this is what I am using.

With that said if a new keyboard came into play for my 10.5" iPad that executed on these areas and other things like a backlit keyboard and a better key layout I would happily spend my money on it. Sadly, I am not sure we will see anything new come to these iPads with the shadow of new iPads on the horizon, so I won't be holding my breath.

Writing on a keyboard is something many people take advantage of when they use their computer or laptop, but iPad users have the burden of shopping around for a keyboard as an accessory.
The reason this is more of a burden than many think is because no keyboard is perfect. With three different iPads out on sale from Apple today, to call the market divided would be an understatement.

When I first wrote for this blog I posted a story about how I used the Logitech Slim Combo for my 10.5” iPad Pro. I said that the key travel and features like backlighting and media buttons were the reason why I chose it over the Apple Smart Keyboard. I also took some shots at the keys on the Smart Keyboard and the material on it. I was wrong. The Logitech Keyboard has since lost its varnish and the Apple Smart Keyboard is growing on me.

I purchased the Apple Smart Keyboard again earlier this week because I found myself hating having to use the bulky Slim Combo. I also was using my keyboard more on my couch and less on a desk. Using Logitech’s keyboard on my lap was like balancing china plates to get that keyboard to work for me outside of a desk setting.

Finally, the keys never felt right for my hands. This is the most problematic issue for me because if I can’t write properly then my brain will just tell me not to write at all. After leaving my iPad after writing a few hundred words to make food or use the bathroom, I noticed my hands needed to have an adjustment period from using the Slim Combo. This was very concerning because I felt like I was in the midst of an RSI issue. If my hands hurt when using a tool specifically made for writing then I need a new tool.

The Apple Smart Keyboard was my only option because of what I deemed necessary on a keyboard. I wanted something that was attachable to the iPad, portable, and used the smart connectors to power the device. Once I realized the Apple Smart Keyboard was the next plausible option, I took the plunge and tried this keyboard out one last time. I’m glad I did.

Writing on this after spending months with the Slim Combo feels like my hands can breathe and I have never had more relaxed hands when typing for a long time. I was worried about the key travel and if I would be able to write with them, but that has been the easiest part about using this keyboard. The main keys on this device are where you would think they are and the chiclet style keys are a welcome change to the cramped keys Logitech put together.

The thing that I found to be the most difficult to get used to is that fact this stand only had 3 positions: the traditional keyboard setup, the keyboard folded over for watching videos, and the usual setup where the keyboard is resting on the tri-fold to be used for playing games. Going from pretty much any conceivable angle with he adjustable stand Logitech had to only three options, all with different uses felt constraining.

I really miss the adjustable hinge on the back of the Slim Combo, it was great for when I wanted to watch a YouTube video or an episode of television on Netflix. I could set it anywhere I wanted and find an angle that worked for me to view it.

I haven’t watched much on my iPad since buying this but the times I did for the purposed of this review it wasn’t the perfect viewing angle but I adjusted just fine with it. I often found myself just using it in the keyboard position because of how small the footprint this case provides when compared to the Logitech Slim Combo.

All in all this keyboard isn’t perfect, but no keyboard is. It seems to be the best option for my plethora of prerequisites. The Logitech Slim Combo is still a great option for many, just not for me.

If you are in the market for a keyboard and find yourself trying to figure out which of these two is best for you I would buy it from a store that offers at lease a 14 day return policy and try each out before you make your final purchase. I did this, but I didn’t give the Apple Smart Keyboard enough time as I probably should have. If I had, then I probably wouldn’t be in the position I am in now.