The Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad has sparked a debate in my mind about what the iPad is and why we are constantly trying to turn it into something that it’s not. The appeal of the iPad is obvious: sleek, sexy, lightweight—a real showpiece of technological achievement. So why do we feel compelled to ‘fix’ it by adding a plethora of cases and accessories to make it more like a netbook or MacBook Air (yet with none of the style and panache of the Air once all the bits are added) … and ultimately ruining what was once an obsessive compulsive minimalist like myself’s ultimate electronic device?
To me, Apple devices are like different stages of a person’s working life. The Mac Pro is your 55-60 year old seasoned professional with no nonsense, the iMac is the middle aged 45-55 year old professional worker that has a good amount of skill and experience, the MacBookPro is the highly competent and versatile younger entrepreneur that’s 35-45 year old, and the MacBook Air is the 20-35 year old young professional who’s hip, sexy and can do most things the older counterparts can but maybe just not as quickly or efficiently. The iPhone is your intellectually gifted 5-12 year old, who should be out playing with a Tonka Truck in the sandpit, but instead continually amazes you with their uncanny ability to do and achieve things that far surpasses your expectations despite their diminutive size.
And then we come to the iPad. The awkward 13-20 year old teenager of the group. It kind of has a big screen like a MacBook Air, but still has the insides of an iPhone. Like a teen that’s still a kid inside an adult’s body, you kind of expect it to do things better yet it still makes mistakes that you could only forgive an little iPhone for making. Its screen has grown faster than its brain and it hasn’t grown a keyboard yet—which can make it a bit self-conscious at times. I know it’s not a self-confident MacBook Air in its mid-twenties, but somehow I wish it would just grow up, get a haircut and get a job.
So rather than try and accept the iPad’s shortcomings and just love it for what it is, I find myself looking for ways to help shuffle the iPad along to it’s 21st birthday when it will magically become a fully fledged business tool, yet all I really end up with is more problems. Probably the best example of this is the profusion of cases, accessories, adaptors and keyboards that seem to tag along for the ride. The sleek and truly beautiful masterpiece of design that is the iPad seems to get lost with all the bulk and trauma of this traveling circus of cables and bits. It’s like buying a Mazda MX5 convertible that is basically the ultimate lightweight sports car. And then deciding I really want to carry more people and luggage, so I buy an extra four seats and some luggage racks and bolt them onto the body work where ever I can find a spot. The result is not practical nor pretty.
Even the weight of the thing is ruined by adding a bulky protective case that helps it to stand up and the addition of an Apple keyboard. For example, the 64Gb 3G iPad2 by itself is only 610 grams according to our commercial scales. Add the Targus case and it’s up to 920 grams; add the Apple keyboard into my work bag as well and it tips 1280 grams … 200 grams heavier than an eleven inch MacBook Air. The iPad is now just over double the weight than when I first clutched it out of its crisp white box.
So this brings me back to the ultrathin keyboard cover. My first instinct is to rush out and buy one and condemn the two or three other accessories I’ve got to the industrial bin. It seems like the perfect solution to my problem by giving me screen protection, a method of standing the iPad up for viewing, and the ability to type on a real keyboard—because lets face it, apart from typing a quick email here and there, the onscreen keyboard is a chore.
Will this high-tech cover really solve all my iPad accessory and case issues, or will the additional weight of the keyboard and the lack of corner and back protection for the iPad negate its usefulness? Or should I just give up on the iPad and buy the MacBook Air that I’m so desperately trying to get the iPad to become?
Until then, this is not an open and shut case …