Apple’s new 12.9-inch iPad Pro won’t work with the original $349 Magic Keyboard

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Apple’s new 12.9-inch iPad Pro has a big catch: it turns out that the new 2021 model is incompatible with the old Magic Keyboard folio case for the 2018 and 2020 models.

The news, first reported by French site iGeneration and confirmed via sources familiar with the matter to The Verge, means that if you’re looking to upgrade from a 2018 or 2020 12.9-inch iPad Pro to the refreshed model (with its Mini LED display, faster M1 processor, and upgraded camera), you’ll also have to shell out an extra $349 for a new Magic Keyboard case, even if you already bought the prior version.

The 2021 12.9-inch iPad Pro is slightly thicker than the 2020 version: the new model measures in at 6.4mm thick, or 0.5mm thicker than the 5.9mm 2020 model, an increase that’s speculated to be due to the more complex Mini LED screen technology. The updated 11-inch iPad Pro, on the other hand, will still be compatible with the older Magic Keyboard case (it doesn’t have an upgraded screen and its dimensions haven’t changed).

The good news is that the new 2021 Magic Keyboard case is backwards compatible with the previous 2018 and 2020 iterations of the iPad Pro, so if you end up shelling out for the new model, you’ll be able to use it with older iPads.

But it’s certainly frustrating for anyone who already owns a 12.9-inch iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard to see that upgrading won’t just mean spending at least $1,099 to get the benefits of the new model — they’ll also have to spend the extra $349 for a new Magic Keyboard.

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