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Next iPad to Include a Physical Keyboard

April 1, 2012 – by Per Christensson

Less than one month after releasing the new iPad, Apple has uncharacteristically revealed its plans for the next model. While several improvements were noted, the most dramatic was the addition of a physical keyboard.

According to an Apple representative, the company has recently been evaluating how to improve the ease-of-use of the iPad. The lack of a real keyboard has continually been the number one complaint. Therefore, Apple has confirmed the next iPad model will look similar to the current version, but will also include a fold-out keyboard.

One of Apple's lead designers said the keyboard will fold out on a hinge that connects the keyboard and the screen. "It's really a great design concept," he said. "You'll be able to just set the iPad on the top of your lap and easily type documents and email messages. When you aren't using the device, you can fold the keyboard against the screen and place the iPad in your backpack or a small carrying case."

Another engineer mentioned the new keyboard will include a small rectangular surface that acts as a mouse. This surface will reportedly allow users to move a cursor on the screen by dragging their fingers across it. He also stated the next iPad will include multiple USB ports on the sides. These ports will allow users to the iPad to connect common I/O devices, such as printers and digital cameras.

"We're really excited about these improvements," stated an Apple spokesperson. "We expect the new keyboard to be a hit with consumers, especially with people that actually want to do something productive with their iPads." She went on to say that a desktop version of the iPad was also in the works. The desktop model will have a much larger screen and will use a keyboard and mouse rather than a touchscreen interface. "We're thrilled with how much work people will be able to get done with this type of device," she said. Instead of iOS, the desktop iPad will run Mac OS X.

While the name of the next iPad has not been determined, a few of the names Apple is considering include "the next iPad," "the new new iPad," "the iPad Four," and "MacBook Pro."

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