Apple Store comparison page for iPads showing 11 and 12 in iPad Pros and iPad Air

A Tale of Two iPads (and Two Keyboard Cases) by Jill from the Northwoods

Hello, this is Jill from the North Woods.

The story of my buying an iPad goes all the way back to 2010. I oversaw a pool of medical tablets for medical staff to carry around and enter patient information through these tablets. I kept them healthy and gave them out when there were certain types of demonstrations that required them. I dreamed of the day when I could have such an amazing device.

In March of 2010, the iPad came out, and as soon as I saw it, I went to the store. I couldn’t believe it. Not only was it what I wanted, but it was also beyond what I wanted. Turned upside down, it would still work! It was just the thing I had wanted for years and years. It was my dream device.

Despite not really having the money to buy it, I bought it anyway and immediately adored it. I showed it to all my friends, and they thought this was some sort of a silly niche device. They couldn’t believe I had spent money on this. I said, “No, no, no, you have to understand that this is the future. This is what everyone’s going to be doing. This will free us from our computers!“

After a while, maybe six months, my friends finally saw all the different things I was doing with it and decided it was for them too. Eventually, they followed my lead. I did everything on it! I read. I played games. You name it, and I did it on this iPad. I used it like a laptop, even though it was not prepared to be a laptop way back in 2010.

This brings us to today. I no longer have that first version iPad, but I do have the first version of the iPad Pro that came out because the big iPad was even more amazing. I even had one of those magazine subscription applications that Apple eventually bought. I loved reading magazines on the iPad.

This iPad Pro went with me everywhere. And in fact, when I would go to training sites, all the other trainers would have these huge stacks of manuals they would go through page by page. But there I was with my iPad Pro, flipping through the pages and walking up and down the aisles so I could help people get through the training manuals. It was just my favorite thing.

I eventually did buy an iPad Mini, and I liked it just fine. It’s a perfect kind of bedtime companion if I want to check the radar or if I want to play a quick game. I can do very quick and small things with it. I do love my Mini, but I also bought the smallest Mini possible, and quite frankly, 64 gigabytes just does not do it for me anymore.

Picking an iPad

So, I started looking towards buying a new iPad. But the question was, do I really need an iPad? I have a MacBook. I use it all the time, and it goes with me everywhere I go. I travel less than I did before the pandemic. Quite frankly, I have the iPad Mini, so I maybe don’t even really need another iPad. My iPad Pro is still chugging along. I use it as a way that I can look at certain data all the time despite the fact it’s old and has a very old processor. It still has an amazing screen. To be my weather station, it does a great job.

But now, what do I do about a new iPad? I’m being a little bit cost-conscious lately because I am trying to save money. I did get a bonus for my work and used most of it to buy gas and food, which is boring and not in the spirit of a gift for a 15-year work anniversary. So, I started looking around.

The question always comes along whenever you’re buying Apple devices, is now the right time? Are they going to come up with something new and amazing? Are they going to do something very different? I’m curious about major changes or if something monumental happens. But I never use an iPad for the camera, and when people talk about bezels, my brain just can’t handle it. I don’t care about bezels at all. Yeah, I know I came from the Windows world. We don’t have bezels in Windows.

When looking at the prices, I saw a few of the iPad Airs that were on sale. But I really wanted the iPad Pro primarily because it uses Face ID, which I know is a silly reason. Why? I don’t have fingerprints. I could commit almost any crime, and you couldn’t tell what I was doing. You are just lucky that I’m not a criminal because you would never find me. But Face ID was a game changer for me.

Having the M2 chip means that it’s future-proof and it’s going to last a long time. So, my heart was saying the iPad Pro, but my budget was saying an iPad Air. And when I looked at different prices, suddenly, at Costco, they put the iPad Pro 11″, which is exactly the size I want, on sale. I ran out, bought it, and now that’s what I have.

Magic Keyboard in White at an Angle
Magic Keyboard in White for iPad Pro

A few weeks ago, my best friend picked up an iPad Pro 12.9″. She walked into Best Buy and saw the Magic Keyboard for iPad and the iPad Pro. She says, “This is what I want!” and picks up the whole thing. She just loves it, and now I had my new iPad Pro. I am excited to do things.

My need for iPad (probably not much of a need) is that I want to build up the social media game that I’m doing for my podcast. One of the things that a lot of productivity and personal improvement podcasts do is create memes or tip sheets. I can’t read my own handwriting. I’m not very artistic.

My friend and I used to do these cute cartoons, though, in college. I thought, what if with her new iPad Pro and my new iPad Pro, we both have Apple Pencil 2 maybe we could start drawing these cartoons all over again and create our own artwork. We could put them on our social media. This could be a great idea.

In the last few weeks, we’ve been sitting there with YouTube and the Procreate app that comes on iPad and just learning how to use the software. We’ve created some fun images with it. So, there was my first big use case beyond just games and being able to watch things on planes. I want to learn how to draw!

Which Case to Pick?

Now I would be lying if I didn’t say that Allison used her strong persuasion to help me buy an iPad. I was a little bit on the border, but she pushed me over the edge. But she also made the point that I had to get the Magic Keyboard for iPad to go with it, or really any keyboard. And I replied that I don’t really type on my iPads. But she said that’s because you don’t have a great keyboard.

I had the Folio Keyboard for my old iPad Pro, and to be honest with you, I kept leaving it places just because I never typed on it. It was mostly used as a cover for my iPad. Like most of you, you probably wish that you could go without any sort of cover on your iPad because it just makes it heavier and clunkier. And aren’t those devices just better when they don’t have anything on them?

The old owner of my company used to make fun of me because I always had the most complicated and heavy cases for my iPhone and my iPad. He tried to tell me that the joy of owning an iPad is just walking around with it with no case at all. “It’s supposed to be light.” And then I thought, wow, he probably has the money to replace it. Suppose he were to drop it and shatter it into a million pieces. I really don’t, so I buy cases for my iPads.

I definitely wanted to get a case for the new iPad but not so sure about the keyboard. My friend had the Magic Keyboard for iPad, which she really likes. It’s great because it can sit on her lap. It has that floating appearance to it and puts the screen at the right angle. Even on her lap, she can type anywhere. She responds to emails, and she’s able to take notes, almost like it was a MacBook for her.

One of the reasons that she picked an iPad over a MacBook is because it has a touchscreen. She loves a touchscreen. But for me, I just really don’t type that often. If I have an email to write, I’m fine with the onboard keyboard with my iPhone or my iPad. So, I started doing some investigation and found a lot of different cases. I thought about just getting the Folio cover and a Bluetooth keyboard. I thought about just taking the Bluetooth keyboards along with me.

Logitech Combo Touch with Trackpad

Logitech Combo Touch Keyboard with Trackpad with 11 inch iPad Pro
Logitech Combo Touch Keyboard with Trackpad

With my research, I found the Logitech Combo Touch with Trackpad. It’s a brand-new model, and it changed quite a bit. I noticed that many of the complaints people had with the older version of the keyboard case in the past had been fixed.

What I liked about it is the keyboard detaches when I don’t need it like I’m just sitting around using it on my couch, or I’m drawing with it, and I don’t want a keyboard. I can use the kickstand behind it and use the device without having the extra weight. We’ll talk about measurements in just a moment.

From my friend’s point of view, the iPad Pro 12.9 and the Magic Keyboard case together are heavy and hard to carry around, and she pulls them out of the case when she’s just watching TV. She likes her case and that it’s very grippy, and her iPad is very safe in it. She also says it’s very well-made. She ended up getting just a Folio cover so that when she has it around the house to give it a little bit of protection.

When I bought the Logitech Combo Touch, the first thing I saw was that it was woven material on it. I didn’t really know what it was made of, but in doing some research, they said that it was some form of plastic material. It’s fairly grippy, although it can be a little bit slippery at times. I wonder if it will start looking dirty over time because it feels more like a fabric. But if it’s plastic, maybe not.

I know that the iPad Magic Keyboard can be cleaned with water, and it will probably look good for a long time. Overall, the case feels very rugged. It gives a nice room around the screen of the iPad so that it passes that flour test. If you’ve ever heard of the flour test, it is when you turn an iPhone or an iPad case over with flour on a table, and you check to see if it picks up any of it. It has that little lip that prevents the screen from getting scratched if it does pass the flour test. If there was something on your table very small, that could potentially scratch it. That has been the most helpful thing over my years of owning Apple devices.

It has a kickstand in the back, and I know that kickstands are not everybody’s favorite method of holding up devices. It is going to be weird if you’re sitting on a couch and you have this on your lap, and you’re trying to type something. I tried it today, and it just flops over. It doesn’t stand upright unless you fiddle with it quite a bit. But if you’re sitting at a table, it works just fine.

The other thing people talk about is if you’re on a plane where the table is very small, this might have some trouble because those kickstands come out just a few inches behind it. This makes it not as useful on an airplane. But again, I don’t foresee myself typing on an airplane.

The kickstand goes into two different positions. One that’s great for watching TV or typing on the keyboard when it’s attached, or the other one folds over a lot more and makes a great writing angle. So, if you’re taking notes, or you’re doing some art with the pencil, it’s at that right angle for you to use your wrist.

Logitech in Low Mode
Logitech in Low Mode

In past versions of this keyboard, people complained that the keyboard itself. When you take it off, it didn’t have a place to go. It doesn’t flip over backward. But you can turn it around so that the magnets re-attach and go back into the bottom of the iPad so the keys are protected and don’t get messy. They heard that piece of advice and followed through, and now they have a way of protecting your keyboard and keeping it with the whole ensemble all the time. When the keyboard is stored on the back of the iPad, the kickstand can’t be used.

I tested the keys, and they have a nice feel. It also has a trackpad that works well too. I’m a touchscreen person, just like my friend, and I’m also very used to using touchscreens. Past versions of this case had batteries, and you charge the battery to power the keyboard itself. But this just runs power directly off the iPad, and that also gives it its responsiveness. But it also doesn’t need that spare battery you must keep charged.

There is no pass-through connector like the Magic Keyboard for iPad, which means when you have your iPad in the case there’s a charging socket in there, which leaves your USB C Thunderbolt port for other things. If you’re adding other types of devices, like a microphone, it’s free to do that. In this case, there’s no passthrough charging at all. Again, I don’t think for me that’s going to be a problem.

One of the nice things about the Logitech compared to the Magic Keyboard for iPad is it does have audio and visual controls at the top row of the keys. This means you can turn up the volume turn down the volume, turn up the brightness, and control the brightness of the lighted keyboard right from the keys themselves. The Magic Keyboard for iPad does not have those controls, which is interesting because if people had a complaint about this keyboard, that was it right there.

When the Combo Touch folds up, it has a little lip where the magnetic pencil can connect to the iPad like it always does. But it gives it a little bit of protection. It used to have a strap or a little pencil loop in the past. It no longer has that, which makes it nice for easy removal and putting back. But it also means that it’s not quite as protected as it used to be from falling out into your bag.

If you did shove it in your bag, I feel that this whole case around my iPad gives it a lot of protection and makes it very safe. And I feel that if I shove it in a bag, it’s not going to get scratched in any sort of way. I’ve already scratched my iPad Mini by having the Folio cover for it and putting it in a bag, and somehow the magnet didn’t stick to it very well.

Logitech Keyboard Cover Closed showing Pencil Attached to iPad
Logitech Keyboard Cover Closed showing Pencil Attached to iPad

Statistics of the Cases

Let’s talk a little bit about some of the statistics that we have for these cases. The iPad itself weighs 1.04 pounds, it’s 7 inches tall and 9.74 inches wide, and it is .23 inches thick. So right there, you already have a pound.

This makes it .6 inches thick to have the Combo Touch case on it, which isn’t too bad. I don’t feel that it’s too thick or too large to carry around. Then the Logitech Combo Touch is 10.31 inches total by 7.67 inches, and for a total width of .83 inches. It weighs 1.39 pounds, which is more than the iPad itself weighs. But if you take the cover off, that is point .65 pounds lighter, which means it reduces the weight of the entire device quite a bit.

But the dimensions of the Magic Keyboard for iPad are a bit smaller, and the weight is 1.1 pounds instead of 1.3 pounds, making it a little bit lighter. But then there’s no opportunity to remove the keyboard to make it even lighter yet. So, it’s just a matter of choosing which one you’d like to have.

So here you bought a new iPad, and maybe even went in for the Pencil 2.0, but your wallet is about to get a little bit lighter. Let’s compare the prices of the two devices.

For the 11-inch iPad Pro, the Magic Keyboard for iPad comes in at $299 at the Apple Store. Other retailers can sometimes discount all the way down to $229. For the same iPad Pro 11-inch. If you want to get it in the 12.9, it’s a little bit more expensive, and if you want to buy it for the iPad Air, it gets a little cheaper.

For the Logitech Combo Touch. It comes in at around $169-$179, and it retails on their website for $199. There are occasional discounts there too. Again, if you’re going to buy the 12.9 a little bit more expensive. And if you’re going to buy the iPad Air, a little bit cheaper.

With the Magic Keyboard for iPad, there are two positions. It ranges from 85 degrees to 130 degrees, depending on how you want your viewing to look. And that’s great when you’re using it, almost like a laptop replacement. But when it comes to drawing on it, neither of those two positions works very well.

My friend is very happy with the Magic Keyboard for iPad. It allows her to take her iPad everywhere and then type on it. She loves to write notes. And for me, I think the Logitech Combo Touch is great for me too. I feel safe in it, and I feel I can pack it in a bag, particularly when I go on trips on planes. It’s going to be safe. The Pencil is always attached. When I’m just walking around the house, the keyboard comes off, and I have a nice place to stash that when I’m not using it.

My friend is happy, and I’m happy. And we both have iPads that we can use for whatever types of purposes we have. I’m looking forward to doing more with my iPad. Right now, I’m getting it all set up and going through those Procreate tutorials on YouTube. Hopefully, someday you’ll start seeing social media memes coming from my friend and me as we start to promote our podcasts.

I hope this review helped you in looking at a different type of case for your iPad and other considerations when looking for a case. We’re both happy and thrilled with our new iPads. Again, this is Jill from the Northwoods. You can find me on Allison’s Slack channel if you have any questions or comments. And you can also reach me at my website….

4 thoughts on “A Tale of Two iPads (and Two Keyboard Cases) by Jill from the Northwoods

  1. Denny Henke - April 8, 2023

    I always enjoy posts about the iPad as it’s my favorite Apple computer. I enjoy hearing about how other folks are using it. Procreate is a wonderful app for learning and exploring your creative potential. I enjoyed the thorough case reviews too. I started with the very same Logitech as it was the first one available when I upgraded to the M1 iPad Pro a couple years ago. I liked it a lot and still use it sometimes. Several months after I bought the Logitech the original Apple Magic Keyboard started popping up at $100 off (Apple made some slight changes to it so I guess the old stock was discounted). I bought it and have enjoyed it as well. As you’ve pointed out, they’re both great, but with different trade offs.

    The iPad is my primary computer used 8+ hours a day for work and non-work so I’m always tinkering with different configurations. This past fall I finally decided to try out a couple of new additions, the Moft Snap Case and Snap Float Stand.
    The case is compatible with the Magic Keyboard which means it gives it some of the protection that comes with the Logitech option. It’s not as thick so it’s less protective but it’s definitely better than no case at all on the edges. But, the great thing is that the Float Stand is super adjustable and gives it the whole kickstand feel for all sorts of angles. It attaches magnetically so it pops on and off very easily. Very stable so it works very well on a couch or in bed, especially when popped up on a pillow.

    The downside is that the pair costs around $80 and that’s on top of the cost of the Magic Keyboard which is already more expensive. Plus it’s adding additional weight so now also weights more than the Logitech option. That said, it does offer protection and infinite adjustability.

    I hope it’s okay to offer a link to my review:

  2. Allison Sheridan - April 9, 2023

    Thanks for the comments Denny, and for the link to your review of the Moft case. Great photos by the way to explain how it works.

    I’m confused by one thing about the Moft case, and it’s probably Apple’s fault. The small, standalone keyboard Apple sell is called the Magic Keyboard. The stand/case/keyboard I use on iPad is also called the Magic Keyboard. When you say the Moft case is compatible with the Magic Keyboard, I presume you mean the standalone one. I can’t picture how it attaches with the case to the iPad – does it somehow fold up inside it?

    Great review!

  3. Allison Sheridan - April 9, 2023

    Also, to others reading here, Denny is a great person to follow on Mastodon at ‪@[email protected]

  4. Denny Henke - April 23, 2023

    Thanks Allison! To clarify, the Snap Case works with Apple’s Magic Keyboard for iPad. The Snap Case is very thin and has the 3 point Smart Connector on the back. So the iPad in the Snap Case just attaches to the magnetic back of the Magic Keyboard as it would normally. It does add just a wee bit of thickness but I’ve not found that to be a problem.

    One reason I like this combination is it really allows for one to lean into the benefit of the iPad as a modular computer. I might go a day or two without attaching to Apple’s Keyboard for iPad just because I’ve also got a Logitech Bluetooth keyboard nearby. If the iPad is propped up on my pillow I’ll just as likely reach over for the Bluetooth keyboard when I need to type.

    Or I might just have the keyboard in front of me on the pillow and the iPad sitting off a wee bit to the side. I’ve often got a cat or a dog in my lap or sort of in my lap and I tend to work around their comfort so positioning my iPad changes a lot!

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