iPads become more laptop-like with the arrival of full mouse and trackpad support

Apple just dumped a bunch of hardware news online via press release. That’s just the world we live in right now. We’ll probably be seeing a whole lot of this in the coming weeks and months, as companies adjust to the new online reality. Along with a new MacBook Air and update to the Mac Mini, the company’s creative pro-focused iPad Pro got a couple of key new features.

A number of the additions, including the $299/$349 (depending on model) Magic Keyboard, are aimed at the company’s longtime desire to push the iPad beyond a tablet, into something more akin to a super-portable productivity device.

At the center of the latest push is the forthcoming iPadOS 13.4, which brings with it laptop-style cursor and mouse support. The update will be available on the new Pro, for use with the trackpad on the keyboard case. Some good news, too, for those not willing to shell out the money for new models: It’s also coming to most iPads released in the last few years.

But iPadOS, for better and worse, is not MacOS. As such, the company’s taken a different approach to the familiar desktop cursor model. Per the press release:

Rather than copying the experience from macOS, trackpad support has been completely reimagined for iPad. As users move their finger across the trackpad, the pointer elegantly transforms to highlight user interface elements. Multi-Touch gestures on the trackpad make it fast and easy to navigate the entire system without users ever lifting their hand.

Clearly these sorts of updates were a big motivator behind forking iOS and iPadOS, as the iPad increasingly seeks to blaze its own path in the nebulous territory between mobile and desktop. We may not yet have a touchscreen Mac, but for users who are considering turning to the tablet as a primary computing device, Apple’s certainly eases that transition.

The new iPro is available for purchase today, and the Magic Keyboard arrives in May; iPadOS is set to arrive sometime between the two, on March 24. The update will make the system compatible with the latest version of Apple’s Magic Mouse and trackpad, along with some third-party Bluetooth mice.