When Apple quietly solved one of our long existing iPad frustrations — adding mouse support in iPadOS — I wondered how long it would take for the tablet to become closer to a traditional laptop. That day appears to be coming soon, thanks to an iPad Pro keyboard case that actually packs a touchpad.
Meet Libra, a keyboard case made for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2018) and the 11-inch iPad Pro (also from 2018) (as well as the older 9.7-inch and 10.5-inch iPad Pros) that offers a physical touchpad that also includes backlit keys, an internal 4,000 mAh battery and scissor switch keys. Starting at $109 (for early bird orders), Libra is currently mid-Kickstarter, at around 87% of its $10,000 goal. With 42 days left in the fund-raising, the Libra seems likely to reach that target.
Oh, and the Libra can also match your iPad Pro, as it's going to be made in space gray and silver. Libra's keyboard function keys also do a pretty good job of mirroring the keys in your keyboard, and then some, with the standard volume and brightness keys plus copy, paste, home, search and lock buttons.
Again, you'll need to update to iPadOS for this function to work, as this update modifies Apple's AssistiveTouch feature, adding support for third party mice and keyboards. The frustrating part of this new 'feature' is that it isn't really designed for most of us, as Apple added Bluetooth input device support for those with disabilities who can't interact with the touch screen in the same way. If the Libra lives up to its potential, I expect to add it to our best iPad Pro keyboard cases list.
The Libra attaches to that variety of iPad Pro models thanks to different covers and cases, which I look forward to seeing for myself once we get a review unit called into the Laptop Mag offices. Its screen can rotate up to 120 degrees, so expect a pretty decent set of angle options.
I look forward to testing out the Libra's scissor-switch keys, which are pretty much the standard for iPad keyboards, but a step above the highly controversial butterfly keyboard switches used by Apple's MacBooks.