Wingstand holding iPad mini and Apple Wireless Keyabord

Searching for an iPad mini keyboard, part 2: Wingstand

I’ve had an iPad 3 since it came out in March, but I quickly switched to the mini because of its portability and supreme pad-ness. Yeah yeah, no retina. Blah. I’ll buy the retina one, so will you.

Touch typing has sort of been a thing I like since shortly after the original iPad landed. Its netbook-width display in landscape made touch typing somewhat challenging, but not too difficult to master. It can also be pretty great to leave the house with what amounts to a satchel carrying nothing but a 1.5lb writing slab of greatness that lasts all day. After all, it’s the future; might as well try and keep up.

But the iPad mini (and I think any tablet less than around nine inches in Horizontal Mode) presents a challenge for typing because it’s just a little too thin in landscape. I’ve gotten ok at it, but I figured that maybe I could use a little help from a physical keyboard while I try to train my wrists to do what’s necessary to type on a 7-inch display.

My second attempt at an iPad mini keyboard setup was the Wingstand, as recommended by Matt Brian on Twitter. It’s a pretty handy setup—a compact, simple plastic stand that fits in your pocket, then splits into two pieces to unite Apple’s keyboard and basically any bluetooth-endowed iDevice in unholy matrimony. Since it’s made of two brackets you slide onto the Wireless Keyboard’s battery housing, you can space them apart for an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch in any orientation.

After kicking the tires on this setup for a while, two things disqualified it. The first is that I’m just not digging the process of sliding these little brackets on and off the keyboard every time I want to get setup. It’s a minor complaint, I know, but it became one of those things that just ate away at my patience each time I had to do it.

My bigger complaint is Apple’s keyboard itself. Wait, let me back up.

Apple’s Wireless Keyboard is my favorite keyboard ever. In fact, when you could only find these chicklet keyboards in the MacBook Pro PowerBook, I used to joke that I wish I had the cash to buy one, tear out the keyboard, and hook it up to the iMac and Mac Pro I owned over the years. But this keyboard is designed for Macs, not iPhones or iPads, and it handicaps too much of the iOS workflow. I kinda get why Apple doesn’t sell its iPad Keyboard Dock anymore, but couldn’t it just sell the iPad-specific keyboard? Yes, yes it probably could. But it doesn’t.

Matt really likes this setup but I am afraid to say I had to continue my search. Fortunately, I found an option that, so far, is working quite nicely. I’ll write it up soon.

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