Brydge is announcing a keyboard and trackpad accessory for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro (via 9to5Mac). Like the company’s previous accessories, the Brydge 12.9 Max Plus will let you take your iPad from being a tablet to a laptop, just by connecting it to the accessory. With Apple’s new M1-powered iPad Pro, some might already be thinking about using it to make a MacBook replacement, while others may just be excited for the way you can now neatly attach it via magnets.
The answer to whether this will help replace your MacBook with an iPad is more or less what it’s always been: it depends on whether you can do all your work with what’s available on iPadOS. The iPad Pro has been more powerful than a lot of MacBooks for years, but hardware is only part of the equation. While the 12.9-inch iPad Pro may now have a processor as fast as a MacBook’s and a better screen to boot, it’s still using an OS that, for some, won’t be able to fully take advantage of those features. If you’re fine with the limitations of iPadOS, then the Brydge 12.9 Max Plus could be a new solution for taking the iPad into laptop mode.
The iPad will attach to the new Max Plus magnetically, instead of using the clamp system used by previous Brydge keyboards. That system required you to wedge your expensive tablet between clamps that then held onto that breakable glass — a nerve-wracking and not terribly pleasant experience. This brings Brydge’s offering more in line with the Magic Keyboard, and users will likely appreciate increased ease in switching between laptop and tablet mode. Easy, magnetic attachment is something that’s generally been associated with Apple’s iPad keyboards instead of third-party ones.
While Brydge’s built-in trackpads have generally not compared favorably to Apple’s, the company is hoping to change that by adding native multitouch support. With the Max Plus, Brydge is also playing the size comparison game — its trackpad is the largest on an iPad keyboard, according to the company’s site. That may be a nice bonus if you’re the type of person who likes to use the mouse a lot.
The Brydge 12.9 Max Plus is available for preorder on Brydge’s site, and it’s expected to ship in June. It comes in three color options (space gray, silver, and white) and costs $249.99 — $100 cheaper than Apple’s Magic Keyboard for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.