The Smart Connector
Apple’s Smart Connector isn’t a new feature — the original iPad Pro had one when it debuted back in 2015 — but it’s generally been poorly supported by anything other than Apple’s own keyboards, for various reasons. Logitech attempted a couple of Smart Connector keyboards for the 2017-era iPad Pro, but since then it’s basically gone back to Bluetooth keyboards. It probably also doesn’t help that Apple changed the position of the connector on the 2018 iPad Pro, rendering older accessories incompatible, although last year’s iPad Air and 10.2-inch iPad still maintain the older Smart Connector placement.
Much of the magic of the Magic Keyboard is thanks to its use of the Smart Connector. The keyboard and trackpad are completely ready to go right out of the box, simply by attaching your iPad Pro. There’s no Bluetooth pairing procedure, no batteries to charge, nor even any lag time while you wait for the keyboard to connect. Features like the backlit keys are powered by the iPad Pro, and lighting up a few LEDs doesn’t make any noticeable dent in the iPad Pro’s battery life.
I’ve actually been a big fan of the Smart Connector since the beginning, since not only is it a much simpler way to use keyboards but it also offered a convenient way to charge the older iPad Pro and later the iPad Air and 10.2-inch iPad; I still have two Logi Base units around the home that my daughter uses with her iPad Air, although sadly they’re not compatible with my newer iPad Pro.