Apple’s upcoming 2021 refresh of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro — which will feature an M1 processor and a new Mini LED display — will work with the 2020 model of the 12.9-inch Magic Keyboard case after all. But it’s not going to be a perfect fit.
According to a newly added note to an Apple support document (spotted by Chris Ball on Twitter) the first-generation Magic Keyboard (model number A1998) will be “functionally compatible” with the updated iPad Pro. But due to the slightly thicker dimensions of the new 12.9-inch model (which is 0.5mm thicker than the 2020 version), Apple warns that “it’s possible that the Magic Keyboard may not precisely fit when closed, especially when screen protectors are applied.”
Apple updated the document with clarification today (an earlier copy of the same document from last week does not contain the compatibility information). The Verge had reported earlier that the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro would not be compatible with the older case, but it appears Apple has decided it will narrowly work.
While the old Magic Keyboard will still work, it seems that Apple is trying to encourage customers toward buying the new case, which presumably has more room to accommodate the thicker tablet. But given that the Magic Keyboard accessory for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro costs $349, along with the relatively short time since its release, it’s easy to see why owners of the older model weren’t too excited about the prospect of having to shell out for a new accessory, especially when considering the $1,099 starting price of the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro model.
All of this confusion only applies to the larger, 12.9-inch iPad Pro hardware, however. The 11-inch model (which isn’t getting a new Mini LED display and features identical measurements to the 2020 model) is still fully compatible with the 2020 version of its Magic Keyboard accessory.