The recent addition of a Magic Keyboard to my 2020 iPad Pro 11” has transformed this as a workstation. With software such as Microsoft Remote Desktop, Jump Desktop, Panic Code Editor, Splashtop Business, GoToMeeting it is now possible to carry out small amounts of FileMaker development (FileMaker streamed, not running locally), manage all of our (17) Windows cloud servers, manage our AWS S3 storage, access all of our client’s LAN based servers and provide on demand remote support for any user and their computer from the 44 different FileMaker systems we’re responsible for. Along with Microsoft Outlook, OneNote, Office365, Skype, FileMaker Go I can reference my local information and collaborate with my colleagues (in East of England and Northern Ireland).

This has been tested during the pandemic, as trips to Spain and Greece this year have been substituted for weekends in a tent, in a field by a river - the iPhone has sometimes been linked to a carabina to the top of the tent to obtain 2 bars of 4g, tethered to the MacBook Air or iPad to do weekend server maintenance or provide support.

The Magic Keyboard replaced my much loved, but slightly difficult to type on, Microsoft folding bluetooth keyboard, Microsoft Surface Arc mouse and a cheap (£14) iPad case. All of which will still be used, particularly if traveling with both MacBook Air and iPad, leaving the Magic Keyboard in the office.

As frequent pre-pandemic travelers, weight vs functionality has always been an issue. For the first time, I have started to leave the 2019 MacBook Air (and its brick keyboard) behind and taking the iPad. A lot has been written about the 12” iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard being heavier than a MacBook Air, but I’ve not seen much about the 11” iPad Pro, so for anyone interested I’ve had the scales out today.

MacBook Air - 1235g
Power cable extension and power supply- 232g
Std power supply and plug - 131g

iPad Pro 11”
iPad - 473g
iPad with magnetic case - 703g
iPad with Magic Keyboard - 1072g
iPad power supply and cable - 104g
Microsoft folding bluetooth keyboard - 180g
Microsoft surface mouse - 85g
Folio case - 175g (weight from the Internet)

Some options:
MacBook, power supply and cable - 1467g with power extension cable and 1366g with std power supply (protective case or cable bag not included)

iPad, Magic Keyboard, power supply and cable - 1176g
iPad, magnetic case, bluetooth keyboard, arc mouse, power supply and cable - 1072g (additional weight not included is a USB C to micro USB to recharge the keyboard and a couple of AAA batteries as spares for the mouse).

Other combinations can be calculated from the above. Although it took a long time for me to justify the £299 for the Magic Keyboard, I wouldn’t have been able to justify £79 for the Folio case as it provides no additional functionality.

Interestingly, the lightest option we have is:
iPad Pro 10.5”
iPad - 473g
iPad with folio keyboard - 718g

The result of the 11” iPad Pro, Magic Keyboard combination is that, when I am meant to be taking time off, if I have the MacBook Air and the opportunity arises such as time on a plane, or train without Internet connection, I can carry out work on a local copy of FileMaker. Without this option on the iPad, unless I am needed for an emergency, I am forced to take some time away from work, which is a big plus.

The main increase in weight of the iPad, without the keyboard, is that most protective cases now protect both front and back using the magnets, whereas the folio is still the lightest option.

Up until now, the iPad has performed 2 main functions: as a second display to the MacBook when working/developing when away from the office and for note taking or reference when with clients, mainly using OneNote and the Apple Pencil. However, the Magic Keyboard has transformed my use and even now I find myself choosing to use the iPad to type this (perhaps due to the butterfly keyboard on the MacBook Air).

Hopefully fellow travelers will find some of the above of interest.