On Adding (Real) Mouse Support on iPadOS

Photo by Harpal Singh on Unsplash

Jason Snell of MacWorld writing about adding real mouse support on iPadOS:

“While some will consider the mere possibility of adding a mouse or trackpad to an iPad to be sacrilege, I prefer to see it as an additional option that can improve the iPad’s flexibility in certain circumstances.”

Jason snell

Mouse support, really?

Mouse support could have made it to my 2020 wish list for Apple published a few days ago. When iPadOS 13 came out last year, mouse support is one of the first things that I tried for a few minutes. But since then, I never used it again. One of the reasons is because of the way the cursor is implemented visually. I understand the idea of depicting a finger, but to me, using a mouse to move a finger-size cursor on the screen makes no sense at all. That being said, I still think mouse support on the iPad is a potentially great idea.

“…improving pointing-device support could potentially open the door for an entirely new category of device in the iOS family. An iOS-based laptop would offer a rich app ecosystem, a familiar touchscreen interface, and presumably spectacular battery life. Some people prefer the shape of a laptop, but don’t need the features of a Mac or PC. For them, an iOS laptop could be a great product—and it would be even better if it included a trackpad in addition to a touchscreen.”

Jason snell

A swift strategy

Is Introducing (yet) another iOS product category with full mouse support be a great idea? First, adding input options to the iPad is a good idea as it expands use cases to address more personal preferences. I’m also not part of those who think it goes against the very first iPad intend. Second, think about it: adding mouse support on iPadOS is much easier than adding touch screen support for macOS from a user interface design perspective.

This brings me to the previous quote: could this be the only for Apple to introduce touch support for laptops? The more I think about it, the more I think it would be the fastest go to market strategy for Apple. Forget about macOS touch screen support. iPadOS with mouse support is part of the answer. What could be the other part? For this, I’ll refer you to my (long) piece: Apple’s Motivation for Marzipan (now called Catalyst).  

In conclusion, we should remember that Apple rarely thinks for the short term. Each year is a step towards Apple’s long term goals. Catalyst and iPadOS mouse support could be pieces of a much larger plot. We are witnessing a potentially new twist in Apple’s product plans, right in front of our eyes. It is fascinating. 

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