If you read my Magic Keyboard for iPad first impressions post you’d know that I’m pretty smitten with it. While I did mention a few shortcomings after my first day, I’ve gone on to use it extensively, every day since, and I’m in love with it now more than ever.
Over this short period of time, however, I’ve noticed, what I think, is one of the devices biggest failings. The material. The keyboard really is, much like its predecessor the Smart Folio, built in some rather horrendous material.
Matt Birchler, and Zac Hall, from 9to5Mac, touched upon this same point a couple of weeks ago, and provided some good examples of what I mean by this:
For real. This thing picks up everything. I love this thing, but man, I hope Apple figures out a different material for their iPad keyboards in the future. https://t.co/VchQuyDeHH pic.twitter.com/Po2C37yJrc— Matt Birchler (@mattbirchler) April 25, 2020
Matt’s not wrong, the Magic Keyboard really does pick up everything, and it’s actually affecting my enjoyment of the device. This is what mine looks like after a week or two of, admitedly heavy, use:
While this looks like the material (polyurethane) is scuffing, it’s not quite that bad. It actually appears to be collecting every tiny bit of dust, or finger grease sent it’s way. Now, for obvious reasons, I’m cleaning my hands a great deal right now, so I would assume (hope) my hands are as grease free as ever, and my desk / surfaces are regularly cleaned. I’ve also, again for equally obvious reasons, not been leaving the house with this iPad. Despite this relatively limted use-case, it’s still looking pretty well worn already, despite my best efforts to keep it in tip top shape. From an early age my older brother was always insistent I not touch his things (such as his precious Sega Megadrive) without having clean hands. While at the time, as an annoying little upstart, I found this attitude frustrating, I actually have to thank him for instilling an inherant respect and appreciation for my toys that I spend a lot of money on. This long running anal behviour has still not saved this device getting far mankier than I’m happy with.
With everything going on right now, the above is beyond first world problem. Trust me, I know, but that not withstanding, despite my best efforts, this device is essentially impossible to keep clean and spotless. Functionally the Magic Keyboard is fantastic, transformational, and a real joy to use, but feeling like I need to treat it with kid gloves when simply trying to work across different surfaces, in varying locations, around my house is a bit of a joy killer.
Before Apple finalise the designs on whatever comes next in the iPad Pro accessory space, the design team really need to step outside of Jony’s little white, sterile product demo room and try using the device in some of the locations they advertise in their marketing. If the Magic Keyboard can attract this much grim when I’m literally locked in a obsessively cleaned house, I hate to think of what it would look like if you actually tried using it in the real world examples Apple show in their promotional material, such as the, admittedly excellent, video below:
This issue isn’t, ultimately, going to take away my overall enjoyed of this device, it’s certainly tainting it. If anyone reading this has a safe, sensible way of keeping this terrible material clean, please do let me know!
Thank you @deriAlex on Twitter for pointing out that Apple does have a Support article about how to clean various products, including their polyurethane based peripherals. They suggest:
Use a soft, slightly damp, lint-free cloth. Wipe the front and the inside with a soft, lint-free cloth.
This hasn’t yet been updated for the Magic Keyboard, specifically, and the damp part obviously isn’t recommended for the exposed keyboard part.