The iPad Pro 12.9 M1 launched in 2021 comes with a mini LED panel. That extra layer or backlighting makes the overall dimensions thicker and heavier. It is now 6.4mm vs 5.9 mm. With that, Apple also lauched a new Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro, now available in black and white. The real question is, will both keyboards work for both generation tablets? We are here to find out.
Difference in size (thickness) and weight between the iPad Pro
Here are the dimensions of the two tablets, earlier 4th generation model based on A12Z and new 5th generation model based on M1. With the brighter Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED LCD panel on the 2021 model, this made the tablet thicker. Not by a lot but still half (0.5) mm thicker. Being Apple, everything has to fit perfectly and here is where the new Apple Magic Keyboard 2021 comes. See list below for dimensions and weight.
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2020) 4th Generation
- 280.6 x 214.9 x 5.9 mm (11.05 x 8.46 x 0.23 in)
- 641 g (Wi-Fi), 643 g (LTE) (1.41 lb)
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) 5th Generation
- 280.6 x 214.9 x 6.4 mm (11.05 x 8.46 x 0.25 in)
- 682 g (Wi-Fi), 685 g (5G) (1.50 lb)
Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro 2020 vs 2021
All the features on both 2020 and 2021 models are the same. A full size keyboard that connects to the iPad Pro and draws its power via Smart Connector. This allows for the keyboards USB-C port to act as charging port for the tablet freeing up the tablets USB-C port for accessories. The back rest on the keyboard snaps to the back of the iPad Pro magnetically, holding it in place and the floating cantilever hinge lets you adjust the screen tilt up to 130 degree. Both also features a touchpad for gesture control and to drive the cursor on iPadOS. Mechanically and firmware wise, both keyboard covers work and behave the same.
Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro 2020
- It features the best typing experience ever on iPad, a trackpad that opens up new ways to work with iPadOS, a USB-C port for charging, backlit keys, and front and back protection.
- With a new floating cantilever design, iPad Pro attaches magnetically and allows you to smoothly adjust to the perfect viewing angle for you.
- Dimensions: 29.2 x 23.9 x 2.2 centimetres
- Compatibility: iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd and 4th generation)
Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro 2021
- It features a comfortable, responsive typing experience, a trackpad that opens up new ways to work, a USB-C port for charging, backlit keys, and front and back protection.
- With a floating cantilever design, iPad Pro attaches magnetically and allows you to smoothly adjust to the perfect viewing angle.
- Dimensions: 29.2 x 23.9 x 2.2 centimetres
- Compatibility: iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd, 4th and 5th generation)
The biggest difference in what we can see is the colour options. Old 2020 model is only available in black, while the new 2021 model is available in black or white.
To Answer the Questions on Everybody’s Minds
You may have the original Magic Keyboard 2020, or thinking of getting one given that it has just been made ‘obsolete’ and retailers are dumping them at bargain basement prices. OR you are thinking of getting the new Magic Keyboard 2021 and wondered if it will work with the old iPad Pro 2020 4th Generation. Note that we are only focusing on the full size 12.9-inch model. So to answer all you questions below:
- Will the old Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro 2020 work with the new iPad Pro 2021 (5th Generation)?
- Will the new Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro 2021 work with the old iPad Pro 2020 (4th Generation)
We are going to skip the obvious questions like “Will the old Magic Keyboard for iPad 2020 work with iPad Pro 2020?” and “Will the new Magic Keyboard for iPad 2021 work with iPad Pro 2021?”. These are quite obviously designed to work together.
1. Will the old Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro 2020 work with the new iPad Pro 2021 (5th Generation)?
Surprisingly even when the new iPad Pro 2021 (5th Generation) has gained 0.5mm in thickness, it still sits snugly in the old Magic Keyboard for iPad 2020 designed for a slimmer version. There are no visible stretches or bends to indicate that the thicker dimension may have an impact on how the keyboard cover shuts. The back of the keyboard cover snaps on find and works perfectly. The hinges will carry those extra 41/42 grams on the WiFi/5G models. It is after all designed to overcompensate and carry the entire weight of the tablet, allow you to move the keyboard around and dare I say even swing it (albeit slowly). So the quick answer is YES, the old Magic Keyboard will fit the new iPad Pro 2021 (5th Gen) tablet.
2. Will the new Magic Keyboard for iPad 2021 work with the old iPad Pro 2020 (4th Generation)
If you check the listing on Apple’s Online Store, it does say specifically that the new Magic Keyboard for iPad 2021 is meant for 5th Generation Ipad Pro 12.9 with M1 chip and mini-LED LCD panel. But the real question is, if I went ahead and bought the new Magic Keyboard, will it work with my old iPad Pro 2020 (4th Generation). Well, yes if you can live with the small gap new the hinge. You see, the new Magic Keyboard is slightly thicker in the closed position, with a wider gap to accommodate the new iPad Pro 2021. So, when used with a slimmer device, there will be evidence of loose fit, in this case a gap. All other dimensions fit perfectly. And, as the hinge is designed to handle the heavier iPad Pro 2021, it will carry the iPad Pro 2020 just fine. In fact, we are quite sure the hinge on both new and old Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro are the same. Again, the quick answer is YES, the new Magic Keyboard will fit the old iPad Pro 2020 (4th Gen) tablet if you can live with the small gap near its hinge.
A lot has gone into the design of the Magic Keyboard; its floating hinge with one of a kind cantilever design offering up to 130-degree tilt with smooth adjustability. The keys comfortable to type of and is backlit, perfect for working in any conditions. Using scissor mechanism, every button offers 1mm quiet travel for a responsive typing experience. At the bottom of the keys you will find a touchpad that supports that multi touch gestures and to drive the cursor on iPad OS. Then there is the pass through USB-C port to charge the iPad Pro. This means, you can use the USB-C port on the iPad Pro for other accessories. Finally, the keyboard cover offers both the screen and backplate some protection. I wouldn’t go as far as to recommend it as protection from drops or knocks, for that I would recommend a protective sleeve during transit or travel.
Apple lists the following as requirements for the new Magic Keyboard:
- System requirements: iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd, 4th or 5th generation) running iPadOS 14.5 or later.
Obviously, like we noticed, if you have an earlier 4th or 3rd generation device, you are going to notice a small gap near the hinge when the keyboard cover is shut.
To sum it up, mechanically and for iPadOS support, the old Magic Keyboard will work with the iPad Pro 12.9 3rd, 4th and more importantly new 5th generation. For the latter, it is a snug fit but no signs of stress or stretches when the keyboard cover is closed. Even so, Apple would rather have a new Magic Keyboard to go with the new iPad Pro 2021 for that perfect fit.