On the heels of a report that most knowledge workers who use a tablet want to do so with a keyboard, Logitech has unveiled an Ultrathin Keyboard Folio for the iPad mini. The new keyboard, which includes a water-repellant covering of the entire mini, steps up the march toward higher productivity for this form factor.
On Monday, industry research firm Forrester Research released a study that found 62 percent of knowledge workers in North America and Europe wanted to use a keyboard with their tablet. This included 35 percent who prefer a convertible tablet/laptop and 27 percent who want a tablet with a wireless keyboard. The remainder of the respondents, except for 4 percent who weren't sure, were fine with a keyboard-less tablet, as long as they could use a regular computer when they needed to do a lot of typing.
The new Logitech Keyboard includes shortcut keys for copy, paste, undo and other common word processing actions, has Bluetooth for connectivity, and a USB-rechargeable battery that can go for three months on a single charge. The company also released a Folio Protective Case that uses a magnetic system for keeping the case closed.
The new Keyboard Folio, the lightest of its kind from the peripheral maker, weighs only 10 ounces and measures 0.75 inches thick. The Protective Case, which comes without the Keyboard, sells for $49.99, and the Keyboard for $89.99.
For those looking to help save their planet through their keyboard, Logitech is also offering a Solar Keyboard Folio for the iPad 2 and 3 that gets its power from ambient light.
The Forrester report pointed to what could become the most prevalent use pattern for tablets in businesses -- either as convertibles or with a keyboard peripheral. A tablet with a keyboard -- with cursor control via the touchscreen -- can go a long way toward providing the ability to use the tablet for serious productivity applications.
Yeats and Tablets
The current wave of keyboards for tablets, including Microsoft's keyboard-in-cover for its Surface tablets, could be expected to inspire additional waves of peripherals for tablets. This component-based computer has previously existed in many forms, but the tablet -- containing the computing power, connectivity, some storage and a high-resolution touchscreen -- has now become the centerpiece for such on-the-fly assemblages.
If keyboard-equipped tablets become even more commonplace, Microsoft to some extent might be vindicated for its early insistence, when Windows 8 first came out, that tablets would become more frequently used as productivity tools. The company would also have the touch-orientation of Windows 8 validated, at least for keyboarded tablets and convertible tablet-laptops.
In fact, that approach is central to Microsoft's new marketing campaign that compares the productivity of the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga convertible against the keyboard-less iPad. iPad-equipped students in a poetry lecture class are shown scrambling for their spiral notebooks when the professor asks them to make notes while following a Yeats' poem, but a Yoga-equipped student just flips up the keyboard and types.