Apple, undoubtedly, is one of the best tablet manufacturers in the tech market, with efforts from Google and Samsung to have customers shun iPads for their own offerings, to little effect. However, iPads lie in quite an awkward position for traditional productivity–it is better than a phone because of its larger, better screen and worse than a laptop because of the unavailability of support for a proper mouse. Notwithstanding, that might soon change.
According to several sources, Apple is looking forward to adding USB mouse support to iOS 13, perhaps as soon as iOS 13‘s reveal at WWDC 2019 in June. These sources include Federico Viticci and developers Steve Troughton-Smith and Guilheme Rambo, each of them having a good track record when it comes to predicting features on iOS.
Despite having so much context as to what’s coming at WWDC, or perhaps because of it, this is the most excited I’ve been about a WWDC in a decade. There are so many hugely transformative things on the horizon — iOS apps on the Mac, iPad windowing & mouse support, iTunes breakup…
— Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith) April 25, 2019
The feature, however, is said to come as a part of an accessibility feature rather than being applicable to everyday users. While the iPad keyboard would not come with a trackpad, it could open up options for third-party accessory-makers.
I can confirm that mouse support is coming to iOS 13 as an accessibility feature. You should trust @stroughtonsmith ?
— Guilherme Rambo (@_inside) April 25, 2019
Apple has previously allowed users to add accessories like joysticks and trackballs through its accessibility portal, however, support for a USB mouse would mark a major change, according to MacRumors. From an accessibility perspective, it would be easier for users who already use a USB mouse to get started with the iPad. Although iPad’s touch-friendly design standards offer a great interactive experience, tapping all over the scree for over a period of time might prove to be cumbersome and less efficient than a mouse, especially when sitting at a desk.
Currently, we have very little idea about what this mouse support would look like, such as whether it’ll allow advanced gestures or offer more functionality than a tap on the screen would. Still, the implementation of the feature would allow iPads to get closer to replacing traditional laptops.