The iPad Keyboard Dock was born directly from the fusion of an iPad dock to which a standard ultra-thin Apple keyboard has been applied, identical to the one we find with the iMacs. These two accessories have obviously been revised and modified to create a dock keyboard for the tablet: the Dock connector has been integrated with a longer solid plastic base to improve the stability of support, while in the disappeared keyboard the circular section that acts as a support and from container for batteries. The inclined position of the keyboard obtained directly from the dock, while the batteries are not necessary because the power supplied by the tablet.
The first impressions collected are positive: those used to writing with an Apple iMac or laptop are immediately at ease with this elegant and minimalist word processing system proposed by Apple. The size of the individual keys, the position and the distance, the feeling returned when typing: all identical to the keyboard of the iMac and practically identical also to the writing on the keyboard of Apple laptops.
During the test we also appreciated the dedicated keys for the use of the iPad functions. The upper row usually dedicated to the Function keys F1, F2, F3 etc. replaced with 14 buttons that allow quick access to the main iPad functions. Starting from the left we have the Home button to return to the main screen, the Spotlight button, two buttons to reduce and increase the brightness of the screen, a button to launch or stop the slideshow mode of the photos. Continuing we find the key to call up the virtual keyboard, an empty key to which no function is currently assigned, three states to control the audio playback functions: previous song, stop / play and next song. Finally, we have the audio mute button, two buttons to decrease and increase the volume, and finally a button that turns off and locks the iPad screen.
Some details that need to be kept in mind For those who have to insert long documents, write email the perfect Keyboard Dock solution to make work and operations much more practical and faster. Nevertheless, some precautions must be kept in mind. First of all if we use iPad protected by a third-party shell or with the Apple cover, in most cases it is necessary to remove the protection in order to use the base with keyboard. This can only be avoided if the shell or protection is truly ultra-thin.
Secondly, the Keyboard Dock can only be used on a solid and stable work surface: this means that a desk or table is needed. Not only is it not possible to use the iPad plus Keyboard Dock on our legs, for example to write on the train or sitting on a bench or chair, but it is also inadvisable to use it on the sliding surface often integrated in numerous computer desks. The third detail that did not convince us of the weight supported and the particular shape of this accessory that make it impractical for transport. No problem for those who think of storing it between clothes in a standard suitcase, but the white, massive and thinking plastic, the elongated shape of the dock on the back and the not really contained weight of the integrated metal keyboard are not the best for carrying in a notebook bag, for example.
As for the positive notes, we remind you that the Keyboard Dock offers a Dock port on the back to connect iPad to another accessory, for example the adapter for cameras, the Mac or the power supply. Finally always on the back we find a high quality audio output that allows you to connect an external speaker system. In this way it is possible to transform iPad even more into a desktop system to listen to music amplified by a stereo, a set of 2.1 speakers or more powerful to work with our favorite music in the background.
The possible alternativesApple offers the Keyboard Dock for 69 euros: keeping in mind the functions offered and integrated, the expense is justified for all iPad users who want to make the most of the tablet to insert long texts, work with Pages, Numbers, manage work emails or private in the maximum ease of insertion. The purchase can be avoided for users who already have an iMac with wireless keyboard or even for those who prevent a limited use of iPad as a work system. In these cases, for example, you can buy only the iPad Dock for 29 euros to keep the tablet upright and then use the Mac's wireless keyboard to write. Macitynet has already presented this solution.
Vice versa, for those who absolutely want to avoid the use of the virtual keyboard, the Apple Keyboard Dock accessory represents the most practical, elegant and also economical solution to create a complete word processing and "light" work system with iPad. If we do not have a wireless keyboard, in fact, in addition to the purchase of the Dock connector, the pair of iPad Camera Connection Kit adapters for 29 euros must also be taken into account. In addition to allowing you to transfer photos from a digital camera or from an SD memory card, the latter also allow you to connect any USB keyboard to the tablet, an undocumented but perfectly usable function. We conclude with a wish list: for a dock with a more versatile keyboard we hope that soon a base will arrive for iPad that allows you to work in landscape and not only portrait mode, finally we hope that Apple or one of the numerous third-party manufacturers will soon propose a solution to write with iPad also on the move.
PRO Excellent build quality 14 ad hoc function keys for iPad All in one economic and elegant solution High quality digital audio output
VERSUS It can be used only on the desk or on a table. Shape and weight not suitable for transport
Prices and availability In the Apple online store, the iPad Keyboard Dock proposed at 69 euros, while the simple iPad Dock base offered at 29 euros. Finally we remember the pair of adapters iPad Camera Connection Kit for 29 euros. All Apple iPad accessories are available at the Apple Store online from this dedicated section of the Store.