I have used a Bluetooth mouse as a pointing device since iPadOS added compatibility through AssistiveTouch as part of the Accessibility features. I recently got the Magic Keyboard to complete the pairing for my desktop mode external pointing and typing input peripherals, and they both worked amazingly well. Using an adaptive accessory via AssistiveTouch to replicate touch was a taster to the possibilities of full mouse cursor support on iPadOS. iPad users like myself longed for full native cursor support and the interest kept growing over time. Apple took notice.
It’s my understanding the development of the iPadOS 13 AssistiveTouch pointer feature was “handed off” internally, from the Accessibility group to the broader iOS team for more expansive integration. This is good—if anything, it shows Apple has noticed the AssisitiveTouch pointer feature has gained traction for “mainstream” users. To wit, iPad aficionados saw that you can use a mouse with an iPad and they pounced on it.
Many have tried imagining the direction and approach of how Apple will implement full native cursor support on the iPad. Most imagined outcomes limited to borrowing cues from macOS, because it is the platform that uses a traditional pointer, and also based on the belief of the two platforms expected convergence.
Apple has done a tremendous job rethinking cursor support with new enhanced ways of interacting with navigational and other UI elements along with new rich visual feedbacks that respects the touch-first environment of iPadOS. The implementation befits the current paradigms of a touch interface, which helps maintain familiarity. These new behaviours have breathed new life and much-needed excitement on iPadOS.
The new extensive cursor support redesigned specifically for the iPad is one of the most consciously designed feature additions the iPad has ever seen.
Magic Trackpad 2
During my initial trial of the new cursor support using the Logitech mouse, Immediately I knew I needed a compatible peripheral built to more precisely accommodate the native functions without the need for AssistiveTouch. For that, there’s currently no better than the Magic Trackpad 2.
Using gestures on Magic Trackpad 2 to interact with elements on iPadOS brought me close to the touch interactions I’m familiar with when using the iPad without external peripherals. This alone makes the Magic Trackpad 2 the best companion for the iPad in maintaining the interactive familiarity with the OS when in desktop mode. Whether or not I’ll get the upcoming Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro will depend on my in-store trial when it is released. For now, I am a Magic Trackpad convert happily joining the many iPad users it is delighting.
The compatibility of external peripherals such as keyboards, mouse and trackpads extends the iPads flexibility and gives more options to use the iPad in full desktop mode. iPad Pro stand, Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2 is now my default desk setup going forward. And I love it.