Historically, one of the things preventing the iPad becoming the true “post PC” device touted by Apple, is the need for users turned off by touchscreen typing within productivity apps to carry a separate keyboard.
That could all be about to change during Apple’s launch event in California tomorrow, according to reports speculating that a new keyboard-packing Smart Cover will be unveiled alongside the new slates.
British-based tech blogger and former Apple staffer Jamie Ryan said he has spoken with former colleagues who informed him a thin-and-light keyboard cover has been prototyped for the full-size 9.7-inch iPad models.
Ryan said a few different designs had been built, but was unsure whether the process was “far enough along” for an introduction during tomorrow’s eagerly anticipated launch, where an iPad Air as well as an iPad mini 2 are likely to break cover.
According to Ryan’s best guesses, if the cases do make it into tomorrow’s presentation, they’ll be targeted at ‘pro’ users whose iPads are mainly deployed for work related tasks, rather than those using their devices for entertainment and consumption purposes.
If the keyboard case does arrive, it’ll likely to connect to the device
via Bluetooth 4.0, rather than docking at the foot of the device,
according to Ryan.
Obviously, however, this isn’t a new concept. Microsoft’s Touch Cover or Type Cover for its Surface tables offer a remarkably thin keyboard that doesn’t require extra space within the man-bag and still offers ample protection for the device’s touch-screen.
With Windows 8 and the Touch Cover, Microsoft is able to truly lay claim to the post-PC title that Apple and its iPad, at present, cannot. For pro-users, Microsoft’s device also has the advantage of being able to run desktop-style productivity apps like Photoshop, Office and more.
Will Apple take a little inspiration from Microsoft tomorrow, in order to improve the experience for those seeking to be more productive with their device? We have less than 24-hours until we find out.