Apple’s (s aapl) own wireless Bluetooth keyboard, while not specifically designed for the iPad, still tops my list for the best-looking design of any keyboards that work with the tablet. But the Kickstarter-backed Levitatr may be a worthy challenger, should it meet its funding goal.
The Levitatr is an iPad Bluetooth keyboard with a magic trick up its sleeve: The actual keys emerge from a smooth surface at the press of a button, magically appearing when you’re ready to type. Activating the keys also activates backlighting, which will be a bright LED white in the final shipping version. Check out a prototype in action:
In black and aluminum, the Levitatr looks good either at rest or when its keys are out and ready to play, but that’s not the only advantage of its unique function. Levitatr designer James Stumpf explains that hiding keys away makes them less prone to getting gummed up with dirt and grime, and it prevents accidental keystrokes should it be jostled around in your bag, extending battery life.
Speaking of batteries, that might be the only real downside to the Levitatr: It requires four AAA batteries to run for an undisclosed amount of time. The absence of an internal battery may be annoying, but at least it will save you some charging time when you run low on power.
An integrated kickstand will support your iPad (or other Bluetooth-enabled mobile device), and five dedicated function keys are mapped to iPad-specific commands, like the Home button.
As a slim, low-profile Bluetooth keyboard with a very unique feature, the Levitatr stands a good chance of competing with the likes of Logitech’s impressive keyboard case(s logi) and Apple’s own offering, but it still has to meet its rather lofty funding target of $60,000. Offering Levitatr preorders for backers starting at the $79 level, which undercuts the Logitech offering by $20, just might help it reach that goal.