Talk about third-party iPad keyboards and Brydge will surely be a part of the conversation. The company started out with a Kickstarter project for the original iPad and has since created models for following Apple tablets. Next month the Brydge Pro debuts for the iPad Pro.
Brydge announced the keyboard on Tuesday, saying pre-orders begin on January 4 but interested buyers can register now for updates.
Unlike the Apple Smart Keyboard, which I've been using for a few weeks since moving to an iPad Pro full time, the Brydge Pro does have a dedicated row of iOS shortcut keys, supports multiple viewing angles and is backlit. It won't protect the back of the iPad Pro, however.
Brydge typically creates iPad keyboards with hinging clamps and the Brydge Pro is no exception. You simply slide an iPad Pro into the dual hinges and get to work.
Brydge says the keyboard will connect to the iPad using traditional Bluetooth and not the Apple Smart Connector. Why? My guess is because of the multi-angle viewing: With just a pair of hinges attached to the tablet's bottom corners, I don't see a way to support and stay connected to the metal pins.
I can live with that, though, having used plenty of Bluetooth keyboards with a range of mobile devices.
What I'm not yet sold on is the weight of the aluminum keyboard which is 1.54 pounds due to the size, thickness and integrated battery. That, in addition to the iPad Pro's weight is less than a MacBook Air the company says, but it's still far more than the fabric-constructed Apple Smart Keyboard and iPad Pro combination.
I won't know how much the weight affects me until I order one though, so it's too early to write it off. Brydge hasn't yet said how much the Brydge Pro will cost either. Given the Brydge keyboard for the iPad Air line is $169, I suspect we're looking at price north of that but I'm hoping to be proven wrong.