As I mentioned in our review, there are elements of Apple's iPad launch that seemed rushed. The lack of any spectacular apps from Apple itself, some performance/OS issues and even missing accessories at launch. 

One accessory that couldn't be found on day 1 is the iPad Keyboard Dock. This accessory has a dock port for your iPad, an external dock port for connecting to your computer/power brick and a 1/8" line out. The keyboard itself is Apple's condensed chiclet, which ranks up there with ThinkPad keyboards in my book. The dock and keyboard are both very well built.

You can use keyboard shortcuts (e.g. copy, paste, option+delete to delete the previous word, etc...) and there are even some hotkeys on the keyboard itself (.e.g lock, brightness control, home screen). You do lose things like auto punctuation in Pages (e.g. tapping space twice doesn't put a period at the end of the previous word) and you can't Cmd+Tab between apps (perhaps that's coming in OS4?).

It does improve the overall functionality of your iPad quite a bit. If you plan on using your iPad as a netbook alternative, I'd say the iPad Keyboard Dock is a necessity. Unfortunately, priced at $69 it contributes to the iPad's already high cost of ownership.

More pics in the Gallery, and more thoughts later!

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  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Saturday, April 10, 2010 - link

    Brian Klug had issues after the review went live, I believe only once. I haven't had any issues but it's been fairly mild in NC lately.

    One former editor did have problems with his unit in Texas due to heat.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Saturday, April 10, 2010 - link

    I did run into the overheating issue once. I was at a cafe on Thursday sitting outside in the sun (I live in Arizona) and got the overheating message while surfing online after about an hour: http://twitpic.com/1ebgqv

    I was using my iPad in the black apple soft case, which seems to really heat up fast outside because of its color. Interestingly enough, the iPad wasn't really that warm to touch at all, I wouldn't consider what I felt on the aluminum back hot enough to be called overheating. Granted, it could be much much hotter on the SoC/RAM/batteries inside, but I'm used to feeling much hotter temps before something overheats. Apple seems to have set the temperature threshold pretty low for whatever reason.

    Weirdly enough, it doesn't really shut down so much as you're thrown a lock-screen like display that you can't unlock. It'll come up whenever you press the power button, so the device is still technically on, but just in standby.

    The message caught me off guard since I had been walking around in the sun the day prior, trying to make it overheat.

    This might be related, but I encountered a WiFI disconnect and trouble connecting to any APs near me just a few seconds before the overheat message came up. Very strange.

    -Brian Klug
    Reply
  • deeceefar2 - Saturday, April 10, 2010 - link

    Wow this is awesome. It has a tilted dock connector that allows you to keep your screen at the exact angle that Apple decided everyone should . It has a keyboard attached to the dock so that the distance between the keyboard and the screen is in the Apple preordained position. It even forgoes bluetooth so you don't have to worry about losing your keyboard. I'm glad Apple decides this for everyone so that they aren't confused and stuff. It could be really confusing having to use a wireless keyboard; I mean seriously how does it connect, there are no wires? Only Apple could simplify a product so much, and still manage to make a profit. Kudos to them.

    /fallsoverdead
    Reply
  • immovableobject - Sunday, April 11, 2010 - link

    And Apple absolutely requires you to buy only their accessories rather than choosing any of a wide selection of compatible third-party bluetooth keyboards and docks!

    Oh wait, that's not true at all. I guess I'm a sarcastic jerk like the previous poster.
    Reply
  • solipsism - Saturday, April 10, 2010 - link

    Does this keyboard dock work with iPhone OS v4.0 on the iPhone? v4.0 does work with BT keyboards, but I haven't been able to test with this accessory. Reply
  • Some1ne - Saturday, April 10, 2010 - link

    Leave it to Apple to come up with a way to charge people extra for the privilege of using a keyboard with their computing device. I don't know what I find more upsetting, Apple's blatant contempt towards and extortion of its user-base, or the fact that the user-base willingly accepts such treatment, and will probably welcome the keyboard dock with cries of "It lets you use a keyboard with the iPad. Well worth the $69!". Reply
  • nikon133 - Sunday, April 11, 2010 - link

    Well, in all honesty, you can get much more expensive keyboards for PC... so I don't have problem with the price for this particular keyboard. Additionally, I'd expect cheaper alternatives to come out.

    At the end of the day, iPad does function without keyboard, it is designed to function without keyboard and for what it is designed, I don't see keyboard as absolute necessity.
    Reply
  • afkrotch - Sunday, April 11, 2010 - link

    The difference is there's a wide range of keyboards with varying prices. $69+ dollars, you're getting a keyboard with more bells and whistles than that iPad one. More than likely, the keyboard is going to be backlit, have some multimedia keys, maybe a volume control knob, can recognized more then 3-4 keys being pressed at once, and so on. That or just buy a cheap $5 keyboard.

    PC, you get options. Apple, you get screwed.
    Reply
  • Some1ne - Monday, April 12, 2010 - link

    But that kind of misses the point. I shouldn't need to buy a whole new keyboard, at any price, to use a keyboard with the iPad. I should be able to just plug one of my existing USB keyboards directly into the device. Reply
  • marc1000 - Saturday, April 10, 2010 - link

    Anand, can you use the ipad on your lap with this keyboard??? thanks, Reply

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