Report: iPad Pro won't come with a keyboard or pen, they'll be optional

The trend of 2-in-1 devices that aren't really two without an included keyboard may be continuing. And Apple can make a killing on highly-profitable optional keyboards for its iPad Pro.
Written by Kevin Tofel, Contributor

Everyone is expecting Apple to debut the iPad Pro tablet at a product event on Wednesday. Don't expect that slate to come with a keyboard and digital stylus, unless you want to pay for it though.

While sharing anticipated specifications for the iPad Pro, 9to5 Mac reports that both iPad Pro accessories will be optional purchases and not included with the large tablet:

[W]e're told that Apple has decided not to bundle the iPad Pro with either the new Force Touch-integrated iPad stylus or keyboard. These accessories will be sold separately. We're told Apple has developed two versions of an iPad Pro keyboard attachment: one that doubles as a case and another that is more similar to the Apple Wireless Keyboard it has previously sold for Macs and iPads.

It's no surprise that Apple has created a keyboard case and pen of its own for the iPad Pro. The 12.9-inch tablet will be targeting enterprise and power users that could use the tablet to fully or mostly replace a laptop. And for an optimal experience in that scenario, a hardware keyboard is preferable for many.

It's also no surprise (to me) that Apple won't be bundling such an accessory. The company has already seen Microsoft take the same approach with the Surface and Surface Pro 2-in-1 devices.

More importantly though, by not including a Bluetooth keyboard, Apple won't be impacting profit margins on the large tablet.

Instead, it can actually add to them significantly by offering the keyboard separately. I'm willing to bet the company charges at least $100, if not up to $149, for the accessory and that 75 percent or more of that cost generates profit for the company.

Regardless, I'm disappointed in the trend of offering 2-in-1 devices that really aren't two out of the box.

Thankfully, some device makers are bucking the trend: Last week Lenovo introduced the Miix 700 -- a Surface-like Windows 10 device -- that includes the keyboard and starts at $649.

My disappointment doesn't matter though.

Any enterprises or power users that want the iPad Pro will surely entertain the addition of a Bluetooth keyboard and Apple will make a killing on them.

Of course, Apple can't price the keyboard too high: There are plenty of third-party keyboard makers out there with high quality products.

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