The Keyboard Dilemma
Okay, I'm back from the Costa Rica project and I'm ready to buy those accessories I was holding off on. So I read up on them a bit more, and the official Apple accessories are quite a mismatched lot, aren't they? So much for all their design and "it just works".
As I said elsewhere, my iPad was a gift, and the gift came with Apple's case. Although I would agree the case is a little flimsy when used as a stand, I actually like the case when it is used as a case. A nice book cover - even the air steward on the plane last week was asking where I got the case from! (he'd only bought an iPad on its own). I intend to try some screen protectors and have some on order. Finger prints are the big problem in that department, although protection from sand/etc scratches would be good.
So do I need a dock and/or a keyboard? I was thinking of the combined keyboard/dock but it only works in portrait mode and I mainly use my iPad in landscape (the Kindle app being the big exception). Also it doesn't work with the case(!), and it doesn't look the most practical design.
However the "dilemma" in the title is more of a philosophy dilemma. Why have a keyboard on an iPad? What is the iPad good for? It is great for consuming content and a handy very portable form factor (more practical than an iPhone but much smaller and with much better battery life than a laptop/netbook). Web and email stuff requires key entry. The popup touch keyboard was better than I expected but it is limited for lots of text entry (eg. all but the smallest emails). So a keyboard could be used for this kind of text entry, but this rather reduces the iPad's portability. If I am at home and need to write a long email, then I will use my laptop or my main dev PC (which I'm typing this on now). If I am travelling, then taking a keyboard with me could be very impractical - I might as well get myself a Netbook or take my laptop.
In other words the keyboard attempts to turn the iPad into something else (poorly) and at the same time loses many (most?) of its advantages in the process.
(as for keyboards, it would appear an Apple Bluetooth might be the better option but Apple never thought to list the physical sizes of their keyboards on their website - just things like "20% smaller than average"!)
My understanding is that the Bluetooth keyboard is the same width as the iPad in horizontal mode.
The small Apple Bluetooth keyboard is 11" by 5" by 1/2". It's a nice keyboard and works well with the iPad. It is light but would not fit in any of the spall form fit iPad cases I have seen. When I want to carry it with me, I carry the iPad in an 8 1/2 x 11 zippered portfolio and the keyboard slips in one of the side slots. Works well.
I ordered both the dock and the Bluetooth keyboard when I first ordered my iPad. I have yet to use the dock...as you said, it doesn't work with the apple case (which I also have), and I don't want to have to take it out every time I want to charge/dock it. I did try the keyboard once oe twice, and it works good, but I haven't really used it. I will probably use it in the future, but I'm getting pretty good at the onscreen keyboard.
It's really just a matter of what is comfortable and right for you. I bought the wireless keyboard and have used it once in a month. My daughter bought the keyboard dock and uses it daily!
I have a folding keyboard, I thought the Apple one was too wide and you couldn't fold it.
Cherhall: Sure, but there's a certain amount of guesswork as to how a new product like this will be used. Look at all the naysayers who can't see the point of an iPad, and yet we're all finding new uses for it (at the moment mine is streaming a Netflix film). I tend to prefer full size no-nonsense keyboards, but this would be signficantly bigger than an iPad and would be difficult to carry, destroying all those portability advantages.
Matth3w: Something [ame="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001Q2COXC/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lp o-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B0002OKCXE&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX 0DER&pf_rd_r=0XF305GJTXHE4JXQYNZR"]like this[/ame]?
Yeah I got the Freedom Pro though.
This [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Freedom-Pro-Bluetooth-Keyboard/dp/B0030IT6AO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1275326261&sr =8-1"]one[/ame] with the case?
I see Amazon list three "Freedom Pro Bluetooth" keyboards(!) and it isn't immediately obvious what the differences are.
Is it working okay, no problems? Negative comments concern possible flimsy construction and significant typing lag on some systems (2 seconds is mentioned for a Windows Mobile device - which would make it unusable imho)
Also I see comments in other areas of this forum that the iPad's Bluetooth is "locked down" for most devices. Will any Bluetooth keyboard work on an iPad without jailbreaking?
That's the one I got. I tested it out for a bit with zero issues. It's a folding keyboard that's smaller than the size of a paperback even when in the case. So anyone that orders it and writes a review on Amazon expecting it to be sturdy as a regular desktop keyboard is an idiot.
It's portable, I experienced no typing lag while I tried it out (I haven't used it much yet) in Safari, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, or IM+.
I am jailbroken though, so I can't say for sure how well it works or doesn't work on a non-JB device.