Thursday, August 18, 2011

Why The iPad Needs A Keyboard (M.I.C. Keyboard Buddy Case)

I've had a combo Bluetooth keyboard/case for my iPad for about a month now and it's amazing how many times I've been approached by total strangers who want to know more about it. There are others but I use the M.I.C Aluminum Keyboard Buddy Case for the iPad 2.

From an aesthetic perspective it's a perfect match for the iPad. I've included some pictures here of my iPad in the case to give you a better idea of what it looks like.

From a functional perspective the keyboard works reasonably well. It occasionally needs to be power cycled because it either starts repeating the last key pressed or stops sending to the iPad but that happens maybe once or twice an hour tops. I'm not sure if that is a problem with the keyboard or bugs in iOS. I did briefly use a Microsoft keyboard with the iPad but that was awhile ago. I don't think I had these same problems but I could just be forgetting or the victim of small sample size in that case. It automatically puts the iPad 2 into low power mode just like Apple's smart covers.

The keyboard/case isn't a tight fit which is why I use an additional case from Timbuk2. That works great and is reasonably sized though a fair amount bigger than the iPad 2 by itself. It's an excellent combo to keep in my car so long as I avoid direct sunlight.

Most of the interactions I've had have been with wait staff at restaurants who are curious about the combo. Sometimes this has included staff who weren't even responsible for the table I was at. I'm generally very focused on whatever I'm doing so these encounters aren't being initiated by me. Yesterday I even had somebody follow me to the door of the restaurant I had eaten lunch at to ask me about my iPad/M.I.C keyboard combo.

When complete strangers are approaching me this frequently I start to suspect that the subject of their curiosity just might be a winning combination.

The iPad 2 by itself is still a conversation starter even several months after it's release but the level of interest has gone up ten fold easily since I've started using the M.I.C. Keyboard Buddy Case.

I would love to see Apple offer a keyboard like this for the iPad. It's pleasing to the eye and very useful if you want to turn the iPad into something a little closer to a real laptop. It's still not as flexible as a full on computer but I can do casual to intermediate content creation tasks now which has greatly increased the utility of my iPad 2 for me.

If I were Apple I'd move the charging/data port to the side of the iPad and create a docking station to interface with the iPad in some future version. This is essentially what ASUS has already done with the Transformer tablet though and Apple seldom imitates others.

The keyboard buddy is a visually outstanding product but somewhat flawed from a functional perspective. On balance I'm happy with the purchase and would recommend it for anyone looking to improve the functionality of their iPad. There are other options out there that might be better but I have no first hand knowledge of them.

The M.I.C. keyboard buddy is worth the $50 I paid for it. You're mileage may vary though.

Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. Nice read Mike,

    Did you see that Mossberg wrote up ipad keyboards today? I like yours!

  2. Thanks John. I'm typing on it now. It's nice to get away from work at lunch every once in awhile and just relax a bit. The iPad is a great companion on those kinds of days.

    I checked out the link, good stuff. There seems to be a growing list of companies entering this space which is great since they all seem to have a slightly different take on the concept. I'm a big fan of having choices.