An iPad’s on screen keyboard is usually not suitable for people who wants always typing. So an external keyboard for iPad can give you a real keys without sacrificing the iPad’s portability and touchscreen features.
The iPad supports almost any Bluetooth keyboard, but there are so many keyboards on the market that are specifically made for use with the iPad. These tend to be designed for portability, and they usually include iOS-specific special-function keys for adjusting volume and screen brightness, controlling media playback, opening iOS’s Spotlight-search screen, going to the Home screen, and more. Some even offer dedicated cut, copy, and paste buttons. Most iPad keyboards are integrated into some sort of protective case, although a good number are stand-alone models. Regardless of the design, most include rechargeable batteries that last for weeks or months on a charge.
Things to consider when shopping
Always on or removable? If you frequently need a physical keyboard when using your iPad, you’ll appreciate the convenience of a keyboard built into a case, as the keyboard will always be with you. If, however, you use an external keyboard infrequently—or you just like to use the iPad unencumbered for non-typing tasks—you may find a bulky, folio-style keyboard case to be a hassle, as it can be difficult to remove. Keyboard shells, described below, are a nice compromise, and stand-alone keyboards offer the most flexibility.
Portability versus usability: With the exception of stand-alone models, iPad keyboards involve usability trade-offs. The thinner the keyboard, the thinner the case, but the worse the feel of the keys. The smaller the keyboard, the more portable it is, but the more crowded the keys are, or the more you’ll find keys that are the wrong size or in the wrong locations. Stand-alone keyboards, on the other hand, tend to be larger, and they aren’t as all-in-one convenient, but they generally offer standard key feel and size, a standard key layout, and a typing experience closer to that of a desktop keyboard. You’ll need to decide which trade-offs you’re willing to make in the name of portability—especially if you’re a touch typist—and check for these trade-offs when shopping. A literal hands-on test is immensely valuable if you can get one; otherwise, be sure the store or website you’re buying from offers a good return policy.