back to article KeyCase iPad Folio Deluxe

I was all set to praise this clever iPad case with a built in Bluetooth keyboard... and then I saw what the battery life is. KeyCase iPad Folio Deluxe KeyCase's iPad Folio Deluxe: easier typing on your tablet Not the length of time the keyboard will run on single charge of its battery, but how long the battery will go on …


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  1. Critical

    Sounds like a good match...

    ... for the hardware it's designed to work with. Why whinge about a quite-cheap device not having a user-replaceable battery when almost all of Apple's expensive hardware is in the same boat?

    1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Sounds like a good match...

      Because the iPad battery should last a good deal longer than three years. Then, take it in and buy a new iPad or new battery. Chances are buyers will want the former anyway.

      1. Robert Sneddon

        Batteries are batteries

        "Because the iPad battery should last a good deal longer than three years."

        The iPad has a regular Lithium-tech battery from the same el-cheapo produciton lines everybody else gets their cells from and they start to degrade pretty much the day they are made. The iPad's battery not going to last much longer than the folio battery will.

        "take it in and buy a new iPad or new battery. Chances are buyers will want the former anyway."

        The future iPad will not be backwards compatible with the old iPad so this folio/kbd unit will not work with it anyway.

        1. Anton Ivanov

          Incompatible Bluetooth keyboard... Hmm... Interesting idea...

          Quote: The future iPad will not be backwards compatible with the old iPad so this folio/kbd unit will not work with it anyway.

          It is a Bluetooth keyboard compliant with Apple KBD keycodes and keymap. I bet it works with any Mac starting from 2002 or so when Apple started putting Bluetooth as default.

          It will take a considerable effort to make this incompatible

          1. Robert Sneddon

            Well duh

            "It will take a considerable effort to make this incompatible"

            Yes that's true. Do you think Apple will not expend that effort?

        2. BingBong

          Apple guarantee their batteries ...

          To quote Apple ...

          "A properly maintained iPad battery is designed to retain up to 80% of its original capacity at 1000 full charge and discharge cycles. You may choose to replace your battery when it no longer holds sufficient charge to meet your needs."

          "Your one-year warranty includes replacement coverage for a defective battery. [snip] During the plan’s coverage period, Apple will replace the battery if it drops below 50% of its original capacity. If it is out of warranty, Apple offers a battery replacement for $99, plus $6.95 shipping, subject to local tax."

          After years of use of battery operated products I have found Apple's quoted times and battery quality to be extremely good .. better than most other vendors.

        3. BingBong

          Yeah right ... not

          @The future iPad will not be backwards compatible with the old iPad so this folio/kbd unit will not work with it anyway.

          Its a bluetooth keyboard and unless they change the bluetooth stack for some future non-backwards compatible protocol standard (which is highly unlikely) then it will work for years to come ... this has been the case with Macs ever since they included bluetooth keyboards as an option in 2003.

          Plus if you have any real inside information on future iPad's then you could make a lot of money out of that ... but I'm guessing that you're guessing and badly at that.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Life of Li-ion batteries?

        "Apple’s advanced chemistry and Adaptive Charging technology deliver up to 1,000 charge cycles without a significant decrease in battery capacity over a typical five year lifespan."

        3 years/500 cycles is far more typical and as much as you can expect really - most of the laptop batteries in the office are useless after 3-4 years. I can't help thinking a dock connector for the keyboard would have made more sense - why use BT for something that's physically attached anyway?

      3. Anton Ivanov

        I would not be so sure

        I would not be so sure.

        I have switched my netbook for a 2002 model Apple TiBook running Linux nowdays. The old Apple machine (with Linux) can still run circles around most modern laptops and especially the ones crippled by Intel video. However, looking at Wife's MacBook pro build quality I can clearly see that the 8 years of success have taken their toll. The quality has gone _WORSE_ over the years, not better.

        So the 3 years were definitely to be expected of what Apple used to make.

        I would not make any such bets regarding what it makes now including the Holy Slate.

      4. mafoo


        Surely we will have direct brain-computer interfaces in 3-4 years and the the keyboard will be obsolete anyway?

  2. Jim Coleman
    Gates Halo

    And so...

    ...the iPad is transformed back into a Laptop, and the circle is complete.

    1. david bates

      Not even that...

      The iPad is transformed into a Z88 (yes, I have one sat on my shelf...) right down to connectors incompatible with the rest of the world...


    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Too slow!

      Dammit, beat me to it again...

      Should also be noted - this looks pretty cheap and nasty too. yuk.

    3. Arctic fox
      Thumb Up

      @Jim Coleman. Curses....!

      I was just about to post that!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    £60 for three years? It'll probably be cheaper to buy a new one than buy a replacement battery, anyway.

  4. uhuznaa


    Most of recent Apple products have either easily or at least half easily changable batteries now. The iPhone 4 requires 2 screws to be removed and you can slide the back off. The iPad is not that easy but entirely possible without ripping off glue or something like that. For something you should need to do only every four or five years at best (and this is a looong time in gadgets) I wouldn't waste a single thought about it.

    Anyway, I think a decent external BT keyboard (like the Apple one which is actually quite small and light) and a case for the lone iPad with a stand might be a better way to get at an iPad with a keyboard than this thing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Jobs Horns

      Not that easy to change batteries

      It's not that easy to change batteries in Apple products. For example to remove a battery in a MacBook requires a Tri-Wing screwdriver to remove it (that's after you've taken the bottom off the case), not that hard to come by but not common.

      The MacBook Pro is much worse, it has a non-standard 5 pointed Torx-like screw holding it in, as far as I know it's only available through Apple for an exorbitant price. Also not sure if it's available for purchase to the general public or only Authorised service agents. Once again that's after you've taken the bottom off the case.

      1. Anton Ivanov

        In 5 years it should be possible to by a scredriver for 3 quid for it

        The micro-3-wing originally introduced by Fuji was hard to come by at first. Once it appeared as an anti-consumer measure on mainstream equipment the screwdrivers for it dropped down to about 2$ in no time.

        Same with this - the 5 sided torx will be here shortly. In fact I think I have one on the last "specialist" kits I got. I would not be surprised if cheap far-eastern battery kits for the MacBook Pro will start come bundled with a couple of heads for a standard scredriver set to do the deed.

        Fighting consumer tinkering is a pointless excercise. Out of all, Apple should have learned that long ago. Even the super-anticonsumer designs like the old mac mini were being tampered with by nearly everyone who had one.

  5. Steve 13
    Thumb Up

    not quite complete

    The circle is nearly complete as Jim suggests, except that you've now got a netbook that isn't running a real operating system and can't do a lot of things you want it to do. Oh, and it cost you a lot more.

    I don't see the objection to the 3 year life span to be honest, for £60 I think you can expect it to fail in 3 years, what other electronic frippery at such a low price would still be working fine after three years? Even a £200 (subsidised) phone only has a two year life cycle before it's upgraded.

    1. J. Cook Bronze badge

      Cell phones and working life cycles...

      Or, if you are the company I work for, 10 to 18 months, depending on the type of corporate contract.

      I managed to make my old Sidekick II go for the better part of 4 years- and surprisingly, the battery held up pretty decently on it. Work decided to start paying for cell phones for my group, so this is the first time pretty much ever that I'm getting a new phone (Bberry curve to an HTC Incredible) before the contract is up.

      (insert standard joke about the iPad and it's lack of flash or 'real' OS)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Oh Really?

      "Even a £200 (subsidised) phone only has a two year life cycle before it's upgraded."

      Maybe it does in the world you live in, but my £20 phone is about five years old and still on the same battery it came with.

    3. Anton Ivanov

      2 years for you maybe

      Some of us use rolling upgrade. A phone is not thrown out in 2 years. It is relegated to less demanding duties like alarm telemetry, junior's handset, spare handset for abroad, etc. As the 2-3 year old one is relegated the phone that used to be doing these less demanding duties is chucked out with an average age of around 4-5 years before this happens.

      As a result you change them on a 5 year cycle with a 2.5 year rolling upgrade for the shift. If you do that it becomes cheaper to buy non-subsidised by a considerable margin. Last time I calculated it the savings were around 30%+

  6. thomas k.

    well, not quite ...

    ... since you can install pretty much any software you want on a Macbook laptop but only Apple-approved apps on your iPad.

    1. BingBong

      Write your own apps and install them...

      You can install any app you want ... if you write it that is (personally or within a business environment) .. no restrictions on that and no need to put them through the Apple app-approval process.

      1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Write your own apps and install them...

        It is possible to write your own apps for the iPhone and load them onto your own machine at will - there's no need to upload to iTunes and get Apple's approval.

        Any paid-up developer can transfer apps to a development device, and install them on non-development devices, though they will need to be provisioned with authorisation certificates which the developer can create with Apple's tools.

        But yes, you do have to cough up to become a registered developer.

        1. nickrw
          Thumb Down

          Re: Write your own apps and install them...

          "But yes, you do have to cough up to become a registered developer."

          Not forgetting that you also have to cough up for a mac as well.

  7. jai
    Jobs Halo

    only 50 quid

    at amazon, cos i ordered mine this morning.

    and 50quid for a zxspectrum style keyboard is a bargin, even if i get bored of it in a few months and get another case instead

    3 years will be remarkable if i'm still using it by then, i'll consider i'll have well and truely got my money's worth

  8. BingBong

    Too expensive for the limitations

    I bought a £3 iPad case (with built in stand) and £17 bluetoothcompact keyboard both on eBay (UK vendor) ... both are extremely well made and the keyboard runs on 2 AA batteries. The mini-keyboard includes a lovely mini-mouse joystick and is a chocbloc style complete with working multi-media keys and of course it easily pairs with my mac mini linked to the HDTV.

    I loved the Z88 .. wrote my PhD using one (in LaTeX) ... 8 lines of 80 characters .. excellent and the dead flesh keyboard was great but attracted the dust but was wipe clean! I even wrote a file upload/downloader to transfer data to/from a Sun 3 workstation ... ahh those were the days 8-)

  9. geekclick

    Folio...haven't i heard that name before?


  10. Lionel Baden

    Wait what hang on !!! did i miss something ????

    Begining :

    Im going to buy a table without the hinge bit dont worry about the keyboard etc etc ..

    2 weeks later :


    2 hours later :

    Hey look i made my tablet a laptop with 1 simple purchase !!!!

    Bystander :


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      that as another poster has already pointed out, it isn't a laptop because it has a poxy OS that restricts what you can do. And it's a pretty crappy spec compared to a laptop of the same price.

      Ooooh it's got a clever multi touch screen! Gosh! So what? If it were that brilliant people wouldn't be buying keyboards for them.

  11. Charlie Stross

    Buyer Beware!

    I got over-eager and bought one of these ... sent it back for a refund the same day.

    In a nutshell, the keyboard is like a dreadful hybrid of the worst aspects of the original Asus Eee 701 (too small, tiny, no right shift key) and the Cambridge Z88 (rubber! lots of rubber!)

    It was impossible to type accurately on the bloody thing. And it wasn't even very good as an iPad folio case -- there are plenty of much nicer, better designed ones that don't include a failed keyboard.

    Save your dosh and scour eBay for a second-hand iGo Stowaway bluetooth keyboard, say I.

  12. Ralph B
    Jobs Halo

    The Obvious Solution

    Surely the obvious solution would be to use a 2nd iPad with a full-screen touch keyboard displayed.

    No worries about battery then, eh?

    (You could also maybe use a 3rd iPad as a dedicated touchpad.)

  13. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Make one with a USB hub and SD slot in it

    it'll sell like hot cakes.

  14. stucs201

    Does whinging about the crappy feel make much sense?

    While I might prefer something based on cherry blues or buckling springs, any keys with any feedback has to be better than bashing a flat piece of glass.

  15. wjake

    LOL WUT?

    Why does a physical keyboard have a key that brings up the... wait for it... virtual keyboard?

  16. stucs201
    Jobs Horns

    I really should have gone to the patent office.

    I expected to see this produced sooner or later as soon as I saw the iPad. Really should have patented the idea (though I'd probably have suggested connecting via the dock connector and not having a separate battery at all...)

    As for (in)compatibility with future iPads I suspect it won't take much to make it incompatible. Sure the bluetooth connection is likely to work, but I'd be amazed if Apple don't make some change to dimensions or styling that break the more basic requirement of the case physically fitting.

  17. serviceWithASmile

    apples revenue plan becomes clear

    situation: lack of innovation, competitors better

    solution: drag the market down to our level, then charge extra for basic functionality

    step 1: buy 40 million asus 901s - remove keyboard and usb hub, hobble OS, add shiny screen, sand edges

    step 2: double price, halve cost per unit

    step 3: $$$

    step 4: sell leftover keyboards with bluetooth dongle taped on

    step 5: $$$$

    step 6: sell leftover USB hubs

    step 7: $$$$$$

  18. Bracken Dawson


    Looks like the drawing from one of the winners of that competition a few years back.

    PS. My T-shirt is way too big.

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