If you’re at all into tech news, you will have heard about Microsoft’s new Surface tablet and accompanying keyboard accessories. The tablet itself seems like it’s got a respectable set of internals and will, in all likelihood, be a formidable piece of hardware.

Though, the attachable keyboard covers that Microsoft demoed with the Surface seem to be grabbing more headlines than the actual tablet.

Now, there are two variations – the Touch Cover and the Type Cover – but they can both basically be boiled down to Smart Covers with keyboards. Much like the Smart Cover, they attach to the Surface via a magnets, so it’s safe to assume that Apple’s already started lawsuit proceedings.

They don’t have the foldable sections that the Smart Cover does, and propping up the device is instead left to a nifty kickstand that flips right out from the back of the Surface.

The Touch Cover adds 3 mm to the thickness of the tablet and has a gridded keyboard layout that employs pressure-sensative tech that ”senses keystrokes as gestures.” According to Microsoft, touch-typing on the Touch Cover is three times faster than touch-typing on glass.

The Type Cover, on the other hand, is a little different. Instead of the touch-sensative keys, the Touch Cover is equipped with actual tactile keys that supposedly click when tapped. At 5 mm, it’s also slightly thicker than the Touch Cover. And while these features sound cool on paper, I seriously doubt Tim Cook is worried. Here’s why.

Everything I’ve read about these keyboard covers seems to claim they’re going to reinvent typing and solve a problem iPad users have been dealing with for years while simultaneously making the MacBook Air obsolete, but I simply cannot see how this could be.

The main problem with iPad keyboard accessories, or so I hear, is that they’re terrible to type on. And honestly, I can’t argue that. Every iPad keyboard I’ve ever tried has been terrible: keys are flimsy and the tactile feedback is weak because manufacturers make the accessories as thin as possible.

What I’m having trouble grasping is how Microsoft’s Touch Cover is any different. How can a 5 mm thin keyboard offer some sort of fabulous, tactile typing experience while maintaining that level of slim portability. I don’t buy it.

Personally I think the better of the two options is the Touch Cover, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. It seems like the thing this product is trying to solve is the issue of touch typing. Some people simply don’t like to type on a screen because there’s no feedback of any kind.

I can understand why touch typing on gadget like the Touch Cover would be more appealing simply because of the individual raised keys, but I can’t imagine it’s much better than typing on a screen for someone used to typing on a true keyboard.

To me, it doesn’t seem like either of these accessories will offer any great advantages at productivity or usability than the already available – and highly flawed – iPad keyboards out there. But there’s one fatal flaw staring everyone right in the face that I simply can’t look past, that makes me sure that Apple isn’t threatened by this “revolutionary” input method.

Even if these keyboards are amazing and revolutionize text input on tablets for years to come, they will never be anything more than tablet keyboard accessories. This is because these Microsoft Surface keyboards NEED A SURFACE. Like, an actual, physical, flat surface of some sort to rest upon.

There are reports that the Surface/Touch Cover combo is the death of the MacBook Air, but I’m currently typing this article on a MacBook Air sitting on a pillow on my lap. I think it’d be pretty difficult to balance the Surface’s kickstand and the flimsy Touch Cover on a pillow, on your lap in the audience of a product announcement, on a subway, or any other place without a table top. Or, in other words, any place the MacBook Air thrives in.

These keyboard accessories claim to make these tablets powerhouse productivity machines, but will never be able to elevate the Surface above a tablet with an attachable keyboard flap, and for that reason, Apple is not worried.

Apple hates keyboards. The iPad and iPhone don’t have keyboards for a reason, and millions of iOS users don’t seem to mind. If Microsoft wants to throw a keyboard on their tablet as a magnetic afterthought, I can’t see it messing too much with Apple’s market performance.

What do you guys think? Does the Surface and Touch Cover combo offer a serious threat to the MacBook Air and/or iPad, or do agree that Apple has nothing to fear? Let me know in the comments section below

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