On the Lap
I’ve tested at least two dozen iPad keyboard cases over the years, and one of the biggest challenges in designing a good keyboard for the iPad is building something that will work in the lap as well as on the desk. By their very nature, keyboard cases also need to include a way of propping the iPad up, and most of them simply take the easy way out and put a kickstand on the rear of the iPad, significantly increasing the footprint of the whole layout.
This can be fine on a desk, but doesn’t work so well on your lap, or for that matter on something like an airline tray table, where space it at a premium. With the Magic Keyboard, however, the entire footprint is the size of the iPad itself, and it lays entirely flat on whatever surface you put it on. Not only that, but due to the way that the iPad Pro hovers above the keyboard, even the “airspace” above doesn’t require any extra room — in other words, the iPad Pro doesn’t have to tilt back significantly, and the whole thing is also very well balanced
This actually allows the Magic Keyboard to be lighter than something like a Brydge keyboard, which uses strong hinges that clip onto the iPad, and requires enough front-end weight to keep the iPad Pro from tipping over backwards. In the case of the Magic Keyboard, the iPad Pro sits much closer to the center of gravity, making the whole setup much more stable no matter where you’re using it, including on your lap.