Rumor mill: Apple's iPad has had keyboard support for years, but editing was a hassle as highlighting text and other functions still required touching the screen. Now there are rumors that Cupertino is readying a new iPad keyboard that has a built-in trackpad. Could Apple finally be transitioning the next tablet in the Pro line to be a true 2-in-1?
Apple reportedly has a keyboard in the works for the iPad that features a trackpad. According to insiders who spoke with The Information, the device is slated for a release later this year. It may even coincide with the launch of the next iPad Pro.
This will likely bring a significant change to iPadOS. Currently, the tablet’s operating system does have mouse support, but it is not what users might be used to. The function is found in the accessibility setting under AssistiveTouch. When enabled, it places a large circular cursor on the scene that can be controlled with a mouse for those that have a hard time tapping the screen.
Now that Apple seems to be making moves toward more laptop-like functionality with the iPad, it will likely incorporate a more traditional style cursor and mouse functionality that is not just meant for those who have trouble with taps.
A change to iPadOS seems to be supported by a comment made earlier this week during a shareholder meeting.
“If you like what you’ve seen us do with iPadOS, stay tuned, we’re going to keep working on it,” said Apple’s head of software Craig Federighi, seeming to indicate significant changes are imminent.
Apple has been working on making its iPad more multifunctional for years, promising multitasking as far back as 2010. However, it has always fallen short of being a truly functional productivity machine partly due to it sharing an operating system with the iPhone.
Apple finally split iOS into two separate versions last year so that it could focus on differentiating its tablet from its phone. The iPad has matured into a device powerful enough to rival some laptops, especially the Pro line. So it seems natural for Apple to transition it into a 2-in-1.
Nothing official has been announced regarding a keyboard/trackpad combo yet, so take the news with a grain of salt. However, if you have been waiting for a more laptop-like experience on your iPad, the future is looking pretty good.
Masthead credit: Mr.Whiskey via Shutterstock