Smart peripherals for the iPad have appeared in 2011: Smart Cover (smart cover) for iPad 2 switch the device from active to inactive and Vice versa, six of the magnets in the Smart Cover leaves no chance of positioning it correctly – another “Apple” miracle impressed. In the fall of 2015 “smart thing” from Apple tried to take over the world. In the fall of 2015 Apple introduced a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard. But the keyboard was not the only “smart thing” represented that day, she wasn’t even the most significant of them.

The day debuted “smart connector”, Smart Connector. This new way of connecting peripherals, so far only for the iPad Pro, like the MagSafe magnetic connector that can not only power the device with energy, but also to communicate with peripherals. Smart Connector is the apotheosis of absolute control for peripherals: software closely monitors everything that happens at the point of contact between the device and the periphery, the sets of magnets on the side of the iPad, and the peripheral device, ensure accurate positioning of the elements relative to each other, the external force of sufficient force simply breaks the connection. And Smart Keyboard, useful and remarkable device in itself, was a demonstration of the new interface with the periphery. Those wishing to use a Smart Connector in their designs were invited (and still is) to cooperate.

In March 2015 Apple has released the MacBook. Infinitely thin, quiet and incredibly beautiful the laptop is not for everyone, on the case which only had two connectors. 3.5 mm audio output and USB-C (USB 3.1 Gen 1, with a speed of 5 GB/s), the latter connected any supported peripherals, including power supply. For the first time since 2006, this laptop had MagSafe. Accidentally hooking a wire connecting an expensive toy with the power supply she could cause serious damage, up to incompatible with life. Many didn’t like it – but the situation did not seem hopeless. In MacBook, of impractical reasons, uiato and reduced everything. Professional laptops will not go for it! Now we know what is gone. Two or four USB-C and output, and nothing more.

The emergence of the Smart Connector and the resignation of the MagSafe seems to have coincided is no accident. Apple was “insanely great” plan. The same “three points” was to appear not only on “Apple” products, peripherals for Smart Connector for different purposes in a year or two was to be the ecosystem, under the control of Apple. A fee for each device sold, a fee for licensing, honor and glory. And it all started to happen: the invitation to “everyone” was heard. To access technical and commercial details of the Smart Connector could a legal entity by registering in the program MFi (Made for iPhone + Made for iPad + Made for iPad). We know that the hardware never develops in the garage. Many signed up, studied conditions, and with very few exceptions have decided that they do not need it.

Smart Keyboard, from 2015 to the present day

Keyboard really was smart. About its convenience and usefulness have different opinions. Keyboard for 12.9-inch iPad Pro was offered for $ 169 dollars, the key travel was short, the backlight is absent, the possibility of connecting any device to control the cursor location was not (as the cursor in iOS), regulations of the keyboard relative to the tablet were two: one for print and for viewing videos. That is actually one – and not all found it comfortable. If the ratio of negative and positive feedback reflected the attitude of the public to the technical products, the release of the Smart Keyboard would stop after a couple of months. And he continued, sales remained high so far. Those who are more or less satisfied rarely write about it on the forums.

On a scale of maintainability iFixit have Smart Keyboard zero. To disassemble the keyboard without causing her fatal injuries impossible. Do not hurry to rejoice: according to engineers iFixit to disable the keyboard in real life is almost impossible. Key dome is glued to the thick layer of the conducting tissue (the secret material developed by Apple), and above them two elastic and durable protective layer. The keys are hidden from moisture and dust – they can be used even for those who have a keyboard of type “butterfly” clogged with mud in the first two or three days. The conductive fabric (the main functional element of the keyboard, except the keys themselves), according to Apple engineers, can bend and unbend an infinite number of times.

Smart Keyboard after reassembly

Every iPad Pro with other dimensions of the body had to create the Smart Keyboard of the appropriate size. Keyboard for the iPad Pro with a 9.7-inch screen sells for $ 149 for the 10.5-inch iPad Pro for 159 –to be honest, I don’t quite understand why smaller keyboards more low prices, they are produced from the same components, the material they consumed less, but obviously for 10-20 dollars. But most likely, I just don’t know. Since we’re talking about the components: all keyboard options are controlled by the microprocessor STM32F103VB from ST Microelectronics. This is a 32-bit Cortex-M3 clocked at 72 MHz. In 2011, the Smart Coverwas 6 magnets. 2 large and 4 small. In their Smart Keyboard 102.

Two of the protective layer is removed. Before us is a mysterious conductive fabric and dome switches.

The red highlighted STM32F103VB

Smart Keyboard Folio, from 2018 to the present day

For reasons unknown to me, Smart Connector plug in iPad Pro third generation (2018) has moved in with the “longer” side of the case on its back side, a few millimeters above the USB-C port. I’m Sure there were reasons, maybe soon we will hear about them. Make it for no reason would be a mistake – such mistakes Apple does for a long time. The release of the new iPad Pro has been designed Folio case Smart and the new version of smart keyboard, Smart Keyboard Folio (keyboard built into the cover Smart Folio).

Significant improvements in Smart Keyboard Folio compared to Smart Keyboard I saw. Surface Smart Keyboard Folio for the touch seems cheaper than the Smart Keyboard, it gets dirty easier. The keys are still protected from moisture, dust and dirt, so that the capacity of the keyboard is not affected. Smart Keyboard Folio less durable than the keyboard of 2015, at least there is the impression. My friends the naturalists to break her had failed – perhaps this is also irrelevant. But now the keyboard tilt can be changed – it has two fixed positions. “Table” and “knee”. Most users none of them seems perfect –I use the keyboard it’s not particularly a hindrance.

The keyboard is blamed for the shortcomings to which it is irrelevant. This in iOS has no cursor, no support devices governing its coordinates. In iPadOS the cursor is, such devices are supported, with access iPadOS in light of this problem will go away, and it will happen very soon. To type text using the Smart Keyboard Folio, getting used to its features (for me it took half an hour) better than screen. To edit the text difficult. iOS is not designed for this. In iPadOS fixed it. The keyboard is good enough and worth the money they ask for it ($179 for the modification for 11 inch iPad Pro and $ 199 for the 12.9-inch its variation).