2020 Magic Keyboard Case for 11-inch iPad Pro Review

What’s up TR Fans and welcome back for another review here on Technology Reviews! Today, we’re going to be looking at how accessible Apple’s new Magic Keyboard Case for the 11-inch iPad Pro is for disabled people, or anyone with limited movements.

But before I get into this review, I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has got my Phoebs Does Technology Reviews YouTube Channel to 25 subscribers, and for making my Story of My Life / 20th Anniversary of my Accident video the most watched video on my channel, with it now on 151 views. If you haven’t seen the video yet, you can find it at https://youtu.be/zO5AHsRAgYg, and if I get to 30 subscribers, I will put a video out on my Instagram announcing options for what type of blog and video I will make if we get to 50!

So the new Magic Keyboard Case for iPad by Apple came out last year, and can be used with the iPad Pro 11-inch 2nd Generation, as well as the 4th Generation iPad Air, and the 2019 iPad Pro. It features a similar keyboard that comes with the new MacBooks and on new Bluetooth keyboards, and is now joined with a trackpad and a USB-C port for passthrough charging, turning your iPad into a mini computer.

Coming with a floating, cantilever design, it allows you to attach your iPad magnetically, and to smoothly adjust its viewing angle, depending on what’s more comfortable for you.

Home Video on Box of the Magic Keyboard Case ©️ Phoebs Lyle, technologyreviews.co.uk

The box that the case comes in has a picture of the case on the cover, and at the back, some details and images on what all it’s compatible with.

And like everything else Apple related, it has the usual special plastic that comes with all other Apple Products, so for fans of the packaging, you’re still not losing out.

Once you open the box, the first thing you’ll see is the Smart Keyboard Case, and the paperwork on how to use it is in the middle of the case, which you can set aside until you’re ready.

11-inch iPad Pro Unboxing ©️ Phoebs Lyle

Some other features that this case comes with are full-size, backlit keys, how you can use the same Multi-Touch gestures that apply to MacBooks on the trackpad, and how it folds into a case that provides front and back protection. However, the keyboard case doesn’t cover the entire iPad as there is a bit at the side that is uncovered that other YouTubers have pointed out, so it’s best to just be aware of that in case you’re travelling, but it hasn’t personally impacted me just yet as I only got it near the start of this most recent Lockdown.

Type Testing ©️Phoebs Lyle, http://www.technologyreviews.co.uk

It’s been over two months since I bought this case, but I was so excited to get using it when I first got it that I got stuck in to testing how accessible it was straight away. Here’s a video of when I tried using the keyboard and trackpad on it for the first time, and how easy it was to get a hang of it.

But what do I think about the Apple Magic Keyboard Case overall, and would I advise other people to get one? Well, since I got the new Magic Keyboard Case, I’ve been using my iPad more than I’ve ever used it, and it brings a lot of the worries over not being able to reach something away, now that the trackpad has been added. I also like how I can plug my hard drive into the iPad while charging it at the same time, how your keyboard settings will be the same as they were if you’re swapping over from another keyboard case, and the keyboard is nice to type on, but I would like if you could change the colour of the backlight.

However, although there are good things about it, there are also some things that Apple could improve on.

Unfortunately, the same customisable trackpad settings you have on Mac aren’t available in the trackpad settings for iPad, most notably, the ability to right click with the left or right of the trackpad, which could make life easier for some physically disabled people. A lot of apps also don’t support scrolling with arrow keys, which might disadvantage people who can’t scroll using the trackpad or for whom clicking a button might be easier. The price _ at £279 _ also makes it expensive, although if you can afford it, it’s well worth the money, and lastly, more mac apps should bring out iPad and iPhone apps, but that might be closer than we think if the rumours regarding Pro apps coming to iPad are anything to go by.

But overall, I think the Magic Keyboard Case for iPad Pro 11-inch (2nd Generation) is accessible, but it could still improve in some ways.

Disability History Month Tech Talk 1: How Technology, Streaming Services and Video Chats Have Helped Disabled People with Shielding

What’s up TR Fans and welcome back for another blog! As Disability History Month runs from November 22nd – December 22nd, this is going to be a blog mixing the title with how I feel personally about Disability History Month, and I hope you enjoy all the different content I’m going to bring you over the next few weeks. As you heard in the last vlog _ which if you haven’t seen yet, you can find by searching for Phoebs Does Technology Reviews on YouTube _ I’m going to be doing these every few days from 22nd November – 22nd December, but now let’s get into it!

So what does Disability History Month mean to me? It means, as ugly as our history might be, looking into the days when we were mocked _ which you could argue, still happens when non-disabled actors are chosen to play us in films and tv shows _ to looking at the shame we brought centuries ago when for years we were isolated, to looking back at the early 1990s when disabled people protested for more rights and won us the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, to fighting to overcome the rise in Ableism we have today so we can achieve equality!

Yet the year we’ve had was unforeseen by everyone. 2020 was looked forward to as a year which would be everyone’s year, but the global pandemic changed everything. Disabled and vulnerable people were forced into shielding at the start of the year, and some have had to remain in shielding to this day.

But for many, the use of every day technology has brought around a glimpse of the outside world. Although shielding has been paused for a few months, I still haven’t been out too much (but as something that on a normal year I would do a lot of anyway), I’ve found it easier than others, in many way thanks to modern day technology.

How Technology and Video Chats have Helped Disabled People with Social Distancing

I’ll admit, when I was told to stay inside when the original lockdown first happened, it was hard. It was hard to fight the urge not to go for a walk around the pier on hot summer, or to meet up with friends, but despite the temptations, I knew I couldn’t. But there were other ways I got around it.

Video chats have come a long way since the early 2000s, when Skype was the only one you could choose, or since 2010, when it was challenged by Apple’s FaceTime. In 2020, however, there’s so many to choose from, so whether you choose to meet up with one friend over FaceTime, which I’ve done many times, or set up a group catch up for a quiz night _ something I’d like to do at some point if someone could give me counters on how to set it up – but other hobbies can be included _ then there’s something for everyone to meet up with your friends even if you’re not in the same place.

But if one of the many group video chats can take the crown for most talked about this year, then it’s Zoom.

Zoom has been used during the pandemic to go to meetings, to run webinars, for education in some countries and a lot more! Ranked number one in Customer Reviews, I think it’s well worth what it is whether you’re using the free membership _ which limits you to 40 minute calls _ or the paid subscriptions which give you unlimited call lengths.

I think moving conferences and webinars online have also helped in another way, though, and that is in the way that as a disabled person, I’ve been able to attend talks and conferences that I might not have been able to otherwise go to, for lack of wheelchair access.

As a lot of my Accessible Technology Podcast listeners will know, I have a slight obsession with anything that is to do with the Georgians. Last week, I was able to attend a webinar of the Regency on my iPad which I could mirror off my tv, and was able to go along with it that way. If _ Heaven forbid _ Covid did not happen _ I’m not sure I would have got this sort of access _ and this will be something I’ll be talking about more in next weekend’s content _ which will be on what technological-based solutions to the Covid Pandemic I think should stay in place in a post-Covid world.

But it isn’t just video chats that I feel have helped disabled people social distance, but with a rise in Adaptive Gaming, disabled people have also been able to remain in contact with their able-bodied and non-disabled friends over gaming subscriptions. No matter which platform you choose, most gaming platforms have subscriptions which let you communicate with your mates without being in the same room, which was cool with all young people before the pandemic, even more now that since the Xbox Adaptive Controller was launched, disabled people have had greater access to playing the games they like with their friends across all platforms.

How streaming services have helped disabled people with social distancing as well

But it isn’t all just the mainstream tech and video chats that have helped disabled people with Social Distancing. Our choice of Streaming Services has also doubled since the early 2010s. Even live tv now is caught mainly through streaming, but as for how much content across all the services helps with social distancing, it very much depends on what content appears on what one.

The big three this year have been Netflix vs Disney Plus and Amazon Prime Video, but it’s clear that Netflix and Disney Plus are the ones in front. What Disney Plus offer that Netflix doesn’t, is theatre productions being available on their service. Between July 3rd through 13th 2020, the live performance of Hamilton on DisneyPlus was viewed by 2.7million households _ according to nexttv _ exceeding the number of people who have seen it live on stage.

As someone who hasn’t seen it live yet (as I can’t travel just as easily and so, would prefer to see if it comes to the Republic of Ireland first if not Northern Ireland), seeing the live version on DisneyPlus starring the original cast, is something I’m happy to say is my way of seeing it.

DisneyPlus has also given us access to other Broadway performances and movie premiers, which is something that if you have a very severe disability with health conditions that don’t let you go out, you often wouldn’t have access to anyway.

But Netflix is still seeming to do better than Disney Plus in other ways, with them beating them on the day they released season 5a of Lucifer, as well some of their other shows performing better. But for me, it very much depends on what I’m in the mood for. And Prime Video isn’t too bad either, without also adding in some good BBC programmes on the iPlayer, and other ones across other services.

What I’ll say, so I don’t end up squaring them off against each other any more, is that now it’s getting colder, I’m glad there’s enough content out to stop me going out in the cold when there’s nothing much to go to.


But overall, I would have to say yes; technology, video chats and streaming services have helped disabled people social distance, and shield. I hope I’m not the only one who feels like technology has allowed me greater access to things than I would have, but I’ll be talking more about this next week.

There have been bad sides as well with a rise in online Disability Hate Crime _ which, according to the BBC, has went up 84% in Wales _ and the how do special educational needs kids get looked after in school when they’re meant to be shielding argument is another one to get into.

Please tell me if you agree with what I’ve said regarding technology, video chats and streaming services, and if you’d like to see more on how technology has helped disabled people with Social Distancing and Shielding. But otherwise, I’ll see you for another one of these next week.

Problems with Marvel Avengers Game: Accessible Game Review.1

Problems with Marvel Avengers: Accessible Game Review Part 1, now on YouTube. If you enjoy this video and would like to see more, please subscribe to Phoebs Does Technology Reviews!

I’ve been looking forward to the new Marvel Avengers game for a few months, ever since I began getting into the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies this Summer, and found I absolutely loved them. The game is available on Playstation and Xbox, and after my preorder of the game failed because I ran out of money ordering other things, I ordered an Xbox version of it shortly after it’s release date last week, along with the steelbook.

I didn’t get a chance to play it when it first arrived _ having had a lot of previous engagements _ but because I wanted to do some research for a blog that will be out on here tomorrow, I put it in and installed the game last night after work. I remained excited about it while it loaded _ having seen a few clips and photos of it in previous days _ and as is often the case when a game first loads _ found I was able to use the main controls. However, the problem then arose when I got to the laser tag bit, when I found that I was able to Aim in with Lt on my Xbox Adaptive Controller, but that I would have to hold it down while turning round, and then shoot with Rt.

I find it difficult to hold a button down for a long time while doing something else, which is why Toggle Options are so important to me. In most shooter games, new ones have included Accessibility Options like Toggle Aim _ meaning someone like myself could just hit Lt (or whatever button that game has for Aim) once to let us aim on an object, then move round, and to just shoot when we’re ready.

After discovering the problem, I paused the game, and started looking through Settings. Most of the settings the game had were for subtitles, volume, and ones that would help with colour blindness and regular blindness, but when I went over to controller, there was nothing other than showing the controller layout, but even when I went to Gameplay Options, there was nothing. Seeing this, I then decided to try and see what the Latchbox would be like with it, and set it up to work with Lt. When everything was set up, I placed the switch by my head, and hit it to see if it would work. Basically, the light to indicate it was toggled on came on, but hitting it did nothing.

The reason I include Accessible Game Review.1 in the title of this blog is because I still want to play this game, and I would hate to give it a bad rap overall, based only on accessibility options, cuz if the right Toggle Options were added as soon as possible, I could give the game the proper game review it deserves. Having options like subtitles, text size, and options for blindness and colour blindness is brill, but if you can’t invite everyone to play together with the options that are better for them, then do you really want your game to be widely played?

I truly hope Crystal Dynamics and SquareEnix _ the companies that developed Marvel Avengers _ can introduce Toggle Options to the game soon, because otherwise it shows ableism towards one part of the disabled community!

Experiments with Adaptive Gaming: How Much Easier Does a Manfrotto Arm Make it to Press More Than One Button at the One Time?

Thanks to everyone who’s been viewing and enjoying all my recent blogs, vlogs and podcasts, even the unexpected blog and vlog from last night. More will be following on all three platforms this weekend and next, then for a few weekends then I will be focusing on getting more out on the blog and podcasts, at least until I can get a few more reviews out there and so I can bring forward some other stuff.

But in this blog _ which is actually planned _ I’m bringing you the last of my Experiments with Adaptive Gaming blogs, for now. If there’s any other bits of equipment you think I should think about trying out, please reach out to me over social media. Someone told me last week how they don’t like seeing the social media places I have on the top of the blog, but if you’d like to follow them, they’re in a couple of my previous blogs, and I mention them in my YouTube videos and podcasts, so if you’d like to follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Soundcloud, or follow Technology Reviews on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and subscribe to the Phoebs Does Technology Reviews YouTube Channel, all the information will be there.

Like the other Experiments with Adaptive Gaming blogs I’ve done, the Manfrotto arm _ and most of the other equipment you use with it _ was loaned to me by Special Effect, a UK charity helping to get disabled people of all ages back into gaming. The Xbox Elite Controller, the Xbox Adaptive Controller, and the yellow switch are the only bits of equipment I actually own.

As the gaming world gets bigger, and the controls in games get even more compiled, it becomes a lot harder for people with disabilities to play games. Many games require you to hold two or more buttons down at the one time, and although Toggle Options have been introduced to help with holding Lt down to act as Accelerate in Racing games, or to help with Aim in Shooters, there are still many games when you need to press one button for jumping, while you move forward with either the left or right stick (depending on what stick you’ve customised the sticks on your controller to act as your main).

This can obviously be difficult for people who can’t jump around their controller quick enough to do, and so this is another option for people to use.

The Arm I’ve been loaned is the Manfrotto Variable Friction Mounting arm _ which costs £114 _ and as well as this, you will need a small triangular plate _ costing £20 _ and a Super Clamp with Stud _ which costs £31. There are cheaper Manfrotto arms to consider on Amazon, and this blog will be updated in future if I find out they do the same thing.

You can stick any bit of gaming equipment to the Manfrotto arm that suits you, with velcro working with lighter bits of equipment like switches, and Dual Lock working with controllers or joysticks. You can then place the arm near any part of your body that you want to use it with, but for me, I found it easier placing it by my head, and using my eyebrow to click any time I wanted to use the switch.

As usual, I just put the switch I wanted to use into the 3mm jacks at the back of the Xbox Adaptive Controller, so your equipments attached, depending on what it is you can figure out where it goes on the controller.

So that I could just play around with it without feeling bad for dying, I tried it out with Crash Bandicoot N’Sane Trilogy _ a game I only tried once when I first got it with the Xbox One S for Christmas 2018 _ and hadn’t tried it again. But with the Manfrotto Variable Friction Mounting arm, I was able to play a lot easier. The clip below shows this.

Playing Crash Bandicoot N’Sane Trilogy with Your Head and Mouth Using the Xbox Elite Series 2, XAC and Manfrotto Arm with Switches.

Overall, I would say the Manfrotto Variable Friction Mounting arm is good, but it’s price gives it a disadvantage regarding class, because what percentage of disabled people come from high-earning households? I would like to order one so I can play other games with it, like Assassin’s Creed, but yeah, the price makes it the most expensive of the equipment I’ve tried _ without adding in the add-ons.

Experiments with Adaptive Gaming: How Much Easier Do Latchboxes Make it to Play Racing Games (Xbox)?

Experiments with Adaptive Gaming: How Much Easier do Latchboxes Make it to Play Racing Games (Xbox) now on YouTube! If you like it, make sure to subscribe to Phoebs Does Technology Reviews on YouTube, where you’ll get tech reviews, game reviews, top 10s, opinion pieces and more uploaded a couple of times a month!

Hi guys and welcome back to Technology Reviews, where today, I am posting another of my Experiments with Adaptive Gaming blogs, on how much easier latchboxes make it to play racing games. But first of all a massive apology for not posting this in the last few weeks like I was supposed to. I’ve recently started volunteer work as a Lead Reporter for Leonard Cheshire Disability’s Change Makers programme _ who I will be with until next year _ and the training we were doing this week meant I just couldn’t find the time. But also thanks to everyone who has been checking out my YouTube videos. Let’s see if we can keep this growing!

But as usual, before we get into this blog, here’s where you can follow me, Phoebs Lyle, on social media, and where you can also follow all the links I have for Technology Reviews! So if you like what you see here and you would like to see more about assistive and accessible technologies, as well as accessible game reviews, subscription platform reviews, opinion pieces and more _ you can do so by following this blog, technologyreviews.co.uk, and subscribing to the YouTube Channel, Phoebs Does Technology Reviews _ both of which are being updated most Sundays in a month! If you’d like to follow my personal Twitter, it is @Phoebslyle, and if you’d like to follow Technology Reviews on Twitter, it is @TechReviewsuk_. I’m also on Instagram, where you can follow at: therealphoebslyle, and Technology Reviews is also on there at: technologyreviewsuk! Lastly, I am also trying to set up a Podcast for Technology Reviews _ the Technology Reviews Accessible Technology Podcast _ which you can find by searching for Phoebs Lyle on Soundcloud _ and you can also like the Facebook page, Technology Reviews, where I am starting to share videos, photos and all these blogs _ well, at least through Instagram to Facebook.

But now, let’s get into this blog!

The Latchbox I’m talking about in this blog was another bit of the equipment loaned to me by the UK charity _ Special Effect _ which is a charity getting disabled people back into gaming. Although I’m using it on my Xbox One S to play racing games and others like Red Dead Redemption 2, there are other systems which can use it _ I think Playstation and Nintendo both support it _ and this particular one is by a website called OneSwitch. It costs £35 and you will have to email to check availability, also paying for your shipping.

When I originally asked to try the Latchbox out, my main intentions were to try it out with racing games, and not to try it with others that don’t have Latching options built in, although I’ve since tried it with Red Dead Redemption. (If anyone reading this doesn’t know what Latching options are, they are basically the ability to hold down a button once to carry out a particular action, instead of having to hold it down for a long time, which many disabled people _ including myself _ might find difficult. Many new games come with these options already built in, but there’s even been some released in the last few years and older games that don’t have these options _ so a Latchbox is one of the bits of equipment you would order for those games that don’t). When playing racing games, I have to play with switches behind my head for excelerate and break, while moving the right analog stick to steer (I’ve tried other options but they’re just too uncomfortable).

But thinking primarily about a using a Latchbox as a way of overcoming the restriction of not being able to play racing games, I’d say it’s not the latchbox that is the actual problem, but instead it’s the way racing games are designed and how they need to look further into Accessibility as a whole _ and talk to more people _ so they can truly include other accessibility options that could make gaming truly inclusive. Something I would advise is if developers of racers could include an Accessibility option like: Lift Finger to Break, which for me would translate to lift head to break, and which would automatically go into the RT, R2 or Zr button on either Xbox, PlayStation or Nintendo. This is something I’m thinking of talking about on another blog which I’m going to try writing soon, regarding accessibility options that would truly make gaming open to everyone, because although developers at Playground games behind the Forza series have become brilliant with their accessibility options in recent years _ both Forza Horizon 4 and Forza Motorsport being great examples _ they _ and other developers out there _ could do more to make their options more accessible!

But since this blog is about the need for a Latchbox and not to go on a rant about racing games _ although my title doesn’t mention them _ I’ll look at some games a Latchbox could be useful for.

A game I’ve mentioned already but haven’t been able to give my thoughts on yet, is Red Dead Redemption 2. Despite a slow start _ which would be my only bit of criticism because the amount I can hold the sticks down is still my only problem _ knowing I’ll be able to play it using a Latchbox as my option for aiming leaves me wanting to keep trying it until I get to that bit.

So overall, I would say a Latchbox is a good bit of equipment to have, but it’s the people behind making games that need to make them more accessible. If you can’t include latching in your game, please make sure you’re game has other options to make them more accessible! For the past few months, I’ve felt like it’s easier to try Latching in shooter games instead of racing _ even though I’m a fan of both!

Latchboxes can plug into the USB port on the Xbox Adaptive Controller, with your chosen switch plugged into the In option.

Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2: How Accessible is It?

Make sure to view this video and like, comment and subscribe to Phoebs Does Technology Reviews on YouTube.

Welcome back guys to Technology Reviews, and today I will be reviewing the Xbox Elite Controller Series 2! This is the latest update of xbox controllers in Xbox’s Elite range, working on Xbox One and other consoles, including the upcoming Series X, and which was voted the best of E3 2019 by Hardware/Peripheral when it was released late last year! Although I needed help getting it set up to work with co-pilot which took a few months because as always I can’t be bothered using my brain (I’m being sarcastic guys _ disabled people do have a sense of humour) I got it set up a few months ago, and have had an easy enough time with it since. I won’t be talking about the set up in this review though, but if you want, I could do a separate blog on it in the future.

But before I start this review here’s a reminder of where you can follow me on social media. You can follow me on Twitter at @Phoebslyle and you can follow this blog on Twitter at @TechReviewsUK_. You can also follow me on Instagram at: therealphoebslyle, where if you also want to follow Technology Reviews it is: technologyreviewsuk, and you can also follow me on Soundcloud at: Phoebs Lyle, where I’m trying to set up a podcast.

But now let’s get in to my review of the Xbox Elite Controller Series 2.

The first thing you see when you get the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 is the picture of the controller itself on the front, as well as the black handle on top of the box for opening it. As we head round the back, you see a couple more details, and at the back there’s two diagrams _ one for the limitless customisation you have on the front of the controller, and another diagram showing the durable components, along with more information, including some about the rechargeable long life battery that extends your gameplay. All this information is available on the xbox website, and in many different languages at the back.

When you open the box, the first thing you’ll see is the case _ which in itself is important because you can charge your controller in it _ then when you open that, you get your controller. (We’ll have a closer look at the controller later). Under the controller, you’ll see all the different thumbstick and d-pad options you have, and this is something I find very helpful because when I discovered I couldn’t use the circular d-pad already on your controller when it arrives, we were able to change it to the included magnetic original d-pad which I can use fine.

Different from the original Xbox Elite Controller, this one has 3 profiles you can use to customise your gameplay whatever way you like _ first introduced with the Xbox Adaptive Controller which is a controller hub for people with disabilities. Some other features you have are the rubberised grips going round the back and front, whereas before it was only around the back, an included key, which let’s you adjust the stiffness of the sticks, and most of all it has an internal battery and a long battery life. On the back, you still have your triggers and bumpers, and these triggers can be customised whether you want to be able to hold them down completely, hold them down half way, or just tap them. But as I game only using the front of the controller in co-pilot with the adaptive controller because I use my head and a chopstick in my mouth, I can’t really talk about the back controls in detail. Saying this, depending on if you can still use your hands and fingers and how much control you have, there is a chance you could still use this controller.

Also in the case _ as already hinted to _ is a charger brick… or clamp. If you set the charger clamp the right way and plug a usb into it before putting your controller on it, it charges like that, but you could also put the controller directly on the clamp, close the case and stretch a usb-c through the case to charge it. Alternatively if you want to still game while your controller is charging, you can plug it directly into your xbox console, or as I discovered a few weeks ago, if you’re sitting near a plug, still want to game and can’t move for any reason (say you’re a disabled gamer and it would be difficult to move), it still charges and works if you plug a USB into your controller and one into the nearest plug. Most days when I game at the minute I’m in one of the arm chairs at my house, so that’s easier for me.

Most of your customisations you do electronically in the Xbox Accessories app, e.g if you want to use the swap sticks function _ possible with the Elite Controller by swapping over your axis _ or if there’s any more button remapping you want to do. All your customisations will then show up in gameplay, which for me makes it easier because I play primarily using the right stick. The only bit of improvement I think Xbox could possibly add to their customisation options though is having an option for the stick clicks as that is something I find difficult.

So how accessible is the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2? For those with physical disabilities who are still able to press and hold, it might be accessible enough. Some of the buttons are slippery so they can be hard to hold on to, but like other accessories, it depends on what you can do. Although I can’t use the back buttons, I like how much you can edit them _ good for some people _ but my favourite features has to be how you can change your d-pad to whichever one’s easier, among others.

Selling for around £180, the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 can be bought at any Microsoft store, Amazon store, game store, or at other shops.